It may well be made-for-TV drama, but NASCAR's Chase for the Cup is here, and with it a dozen hopeful drivers will hope to make a strong opening push toward a championship.
Leading the charge into Loudon are three Cup superstars that have combined to win 18 of the first 26 Cup races this season.
Outside the Chase field, though, are countless storylines that could play out on the Magic Mile. The few drivers who narrowly missed the Chase cutoff at Richmond will be looking to shake off disappointment and steal a win from the Chasers. The numerous drivers leaving for new rides in 2009 would love for nothing more than to give their respective teams' one final victory. And the race for the top 35 in owner points, and a guaranteed spot in the '09 Daytona 500, will begin to take on increased urgency as the season winds down.
The Chase is on, and the excitement at Loudon will be sky-high this weekend, for racers and fantasy owners alike. Let's take a look at the favorites, sleepers, and longshots who will take to the track this weekend.
Cami's picks were tremendously successful, with
"New Hampshire has always been a good track for us, and it has been a special place for me over the years. I got my first Cup win there in 2002, so I have always enjoyed the track. We had a decent Kodak Dodge there in June, but the rain kept us from the finish that we could have gotten. We got caught like a lot of other guys did so we ended up 15th. I'd like to think we can go back there this time and get that top 10. It's a fun race track. You really have to drive it into the corner and focus on rolling through the center. It's really important to focus on the exit of the corners. The toughest part is track position - if you get behind, it is hard to make it up, so we want to start by qualifying well."
From the Magic Mile to the Monster Mile, the Sprint Cup series and the Chase for the Cup move south from Loudon, New Hampshire, to the high banks of Dover.