He may be third in points, but the reigning four-time champ knows how to play this game. His four DNFs are the worst in four years, but two of them came at plate tracks that double as three-hour Russian Roulette wheels: Daytona and Talladega. Tied for the series lead with five wins, Johnson has two victories at ovals featured in the Chase this fall. The frustration he's caused his rivals is to the point they're willing to bump the No. 48 out of the way - and even that doesn't work.
Consider this: In four of
Hamlin earns kudos for ACL surgery-turned-success, but Harvick as the point leader may be the year's most shocking story. Some thought he wouldn't even be driving the No. 29 at this point, seemingly closing the book on his tenure at Childress after suffering through last season 19th in points. But a strong start led to a contract extension this May, and 13 top-10 finishes combine with two victories to leave him a strong title contender. Can he pull off an unlikely title run? Maybe. Let's see him win on an unrestricted track - which he hasn't done since Phoenix in November, 2006 - and sign a 2011 sponsor before it becomes an off-track distraction.
This time last year, everyone left McMurray for dead after
Montoya is a longshot, once again, to even make the Chase after a feast-or-famine season personified by six DNFs. The series' most aggressive driver, he's regained that nasty habit of pushing too hard which haunted him in earlier years. Irking everyone from Jeff Gordon, to
Conway's season personifies how you would feel if you saw sponsor Extenze on your friend's kitchen counter. You'd be part curious, part just plain disgusted, right? That's about what one top-15 finish in 18 races gets you.
At least Conway's opened the door to this promotion: now you can drive your very own Sprint Cup car in 2011! All you need is some marketing savvy, millions in sponsorship, and a dream...
Silly Season has been rather sedate (let's put it this way:
What do Jeff Gordon, Harvick, and
These two longtime rivals went at it again at Martinsville, beating and banging in
Joey Logano claims Mark Martin as his mentor, but his post-race tirade against Harvick was more like teammate Kyle Busch.