Johnson has regained his consistency since his annual summer swoon. He needs only to maintain his strong performance of the past six weeks to successfully defend his title.
2 of 12George Tiedemann/GT Images
Gordon has been NASCAR's best driver the entire season, but he lost some momentum as he pressed for wins down the stretch. He needs to shed the bad luck of the past four races to win his fifth Cup title.
3 of 12Simon Bruty/SI, George Tiedemann/GT Images
Stewart has seen the championship hunt from just about every angle possible. If he lets his experience guide him instead of his temper, he's got a good shot at winning his third title.
4 of 12Robert Beck/SI, George Tiedemann/GT Images
If you count Edwards' dominating performance in the Busch Series, nobody's had a better 2007. He can win his first Cup title if he avoids engine problems, which twice have kept him from finishing races.
5 of 12Simon Bruty/SI, George Tiedemann/GT Images
Since Pat Tryson joined Busch's team in July, the driver has been as good as anyone in NASCAR. Driving the only Dodge in the Chase, Busch can win his second Cup title if he keeps his cool and listens to his new crew chief.
6 of 12George Tiedemann/GT Images
Looking for his first title, the third-year driver has been amazingly consistent in 2007. To win the Chase he'll have to be more aggressive and avoid the simple mistakes of inexperience.
7 of 12Robert Beck/SI, George Tiedemann/GT Images
Martin Truex Jr.
To win his first title, Martin Truex Jr. will have handle the pressure of being the standard bearer for Dale Earnhardt Inc. Assuming the role of DEI's No. 1 driver will be more intense than the Chase playoffs, but handling both is a big load.
8 of 12George Tiedemann/GT Images
Under the radar but consistent, Kenseth is looking for his second Nextel Cup title. He's been too quiet this season considering the quality of his competition. His steadiness won't be enough, however, unless he wins a couple of races during the Chase.
9 of 12Robert Beck/SI, George Tiedemann/GT Images
Perhaps a bit young and raw to win his first Cup championship, Busch has to overcome his lame duck status at Hendrick Motorsports. He's moving to Gibbs Racing next year.
10 of 12George Tiedemann/GT Images
The key to Burton's success has been his consistency. However, he'll have to be more aggressive, yet avoid the crashes and DNFs that come with driving harder, to win against this strong Chase field.
11 of 12Robert Beck/SI, George Tiedemann/GT Images
Harvick peaked in the first week of the season when he won the Daytona 500. He has the right attitude and aggressive style to win in the Chase format, but has recently struggled and needs to be more consistent. It will be hard for him to keep a bad finish from snowballing.
12 of 12George Tiedemann/GT Images
Bowyer could win the Cup championship without winning a race, but don't count on it. It has never happened before under any points system. Bowyer needs to be more than consistent, picking up his intensity enough to contend for race victories.
You May Like
Sign Up for our Newsletter
Don't get stuck on the sidelines! Sign up to get exclusives, daily highlights, analysis and more—delivered right to your inbox!