Needing an early win, Denny Hamlin called his shot on Twitter and backed it up with a dominating win in Loudon. Hamlin may have won the battle, but Jimmie Johnson is winning the war with 2 straight 2nd place finishes to lead the chase after 2 races.
2012 NASCAR Chase Standings after Race 2 of 10
|1. Jimmie Johnson||2,096||With 7 Dover wins and 4 wins in the last 7 Dover races, JJ is the clear favorite this week.|
|2. Brad Keselowski||2,095 (-1)||The Blue Duce is looking to just stay out of trouble and inside the top 10 in Dover. Keselowski has an average finish of 17 in Dover and has never had a top 10.|
|3. Denny Hamlin||2,089 (-7)||Like Brad, Denny is just looking to survive in Dover. Stay safe and finish the race near the front is the goal.|
|4. Tony Stewart||2,086 (-10)||The Monster Mile ate up Smoke back in June, but we should look for a bounce back race.|
|5. Kasey Kahne||2,081 (-15)||Kahne has an average finish of 22 at Dover, but 5 top 10′s so he could contend for a good finish. I just don’t see it.|
|6. Clint Bowyer||2,081 (-15)||Outside of the leaders, Bowyer has been the most consistent driver in the Chase. With 8 top 10′s in the last 10 races, look for him to finish near the front.|
|7. Dale Earnhardt Jr.||2,070 (-26)||Jr. has a Dover win on his resume, but many other rough finishes. Look for him to struggle to finish in the top 15.|
|8. Kevin Harvick||2,065 (-31)||Harvick’s lack of wins will doom him in the Chase. He needs to get one quick. No chance at Dover.|
|9. Greg Biffle||2,063 (-33)||Biffle has some success on the concrete tracks and could be in line for a fine finish.|
|10. Martin Truex Jr.||2,062 (-34)||Looing for a dark house Chaser with a chance to win, don’t look past Truex.|
|11. Matt Kenseth||2,061 (-35)||Outside of JJ, Kenseth is the favorite in Dover. He has 3 straight top 5′s and a win last June.|
|12. Jeff Gordon||2,051 (-45)||Gordon has had success in Dover and I look for him to surprise this week.|
I want to make the easy choice and pick Johnson as the winner in Dover, but I just can’t do it. Something tells me that Gordon is in line for a win this weekend. He will need one if he wants to get back into Chase contention. Ryan Newman and Kyle Busch look like the non-Chasers with the best shots at a win this week, but Gordon will hold off Kenseth late.