Jimmie Johnson leads the pack (but don't tell Chad Norris)
1.âJimmie Johnson A Daytona crash is the only blemish on Johnsonâs stat sheet since mid-May. Indianapolis is typically the event that Johnson, Chad Knaus & crew use as a jumping off point for the Chase.
2.âDale Earnhardt Jr. According to Junior's buddy Mike Davis, Earnhardt has completed the first 5,488 laps this season, a record in NASCARâs Modern Era. He also has 20 consecutive lead lap finishes, dating back to 2011.
3.âMatt Kenseth No flashy stats for Kenseth, just a stream of steadiness for the points leader. His 13th at Loudon, along with a 13th at Sonoma, are his worst showings since a 16th way back in March.
4.âTony Stewart Stewart, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski are closing the gap on the Big Three of Johnson, Earnhardt and Keselowski, although Smokeâs Loudon performance was disappointing after winning there last year.
5.âDenny Hamlin âHit or Missâ Hamlin was a hit on Sunday, despite falling short in the end due to miscommunication with the crew chief. Hamlinâs last six races: Three top 5s, three finishes of 25th or worse.
6.âBrad Keselowski May deserve to be higher on the list, as BK and the boys appear to be gaining steam â which says something since theyâre already weekly contenders.
7.âKasey Kahne Was Sundayâs win what weâll look back on as his Chase-clinching run? Impossible to say, but suddenly, the heat is turned up on about five drivers clawing for a wild card slot in the Chase.
8.âGreg Biffle His ninth-place finish in New Hampshire led the Roush Fenway contingent â odd in that the âFenwayâ in the race teamâs name is the same associated with a certain New England sports franchise.