NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings: Stars That Will Shine in Final 10 Races

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistSeptember 9, 2012

RICHMOND, VA - SEPTEMBER 08:  Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Quaker State Chevrolet, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet, celebrate after qualfying for the Chase for the Sprint Cup after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 8, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jerry Markland/Getty Images

With NASCAR's Chase to the Sprint Cup beginning right now, the final 10 races of 2012 will determine which driver walks away with the championship and a lifetime full of glory.

There have been many drivers that have looked unbeatable at different points in the season, but with the final races on the docket starting next weekend, every team starts on the same level.

This is where the playoff format is an amazing idea.

Every driver will be racing for the win, but the three following drivers will build upon their stellar regular seasons and make a run at a Sprint Cup title by shining brightest during these last 10 races.

This is going to be a wild ride to glory!



Dale Earnhardt Jr.

While the No. 88 car and Dale Earnhardt Jr. get plenty of heat because many fans feel Earnhardt is overrated, a stellar 2012 season has put him in the perfect position heading into the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Earnhardt will have to win a race or two in the final 10 to secure a championship, but his consistent driving will allow him to stay towards the top of the standings, even without a win. Once he is firmly planted in the top three, he can unleash his power and win one of the final three races to steal the title.

As great as this year’s top 12 is, Earnhardt is starving for validation after going so long without a win. If Junior can win a race in the final 10 and secure the 2012 title, all the chatter of his being overrated will go right out the window.



Jimmie Johnson

After failing to win his sixth straight NASCAR Championship last year, the five-time champion is looking to get back to his winning ways by stealing the show once again and dominating the last 10 races.

Unlike the years in which he was so dominant, the field has caught up to Johnson and the gap between him and the rest of the field is now nonexistent. If J.J. wants to win, he will have to put forth more effort to than he did in the past to do so.

As tough as it will be, Johnson has been down this road before and knows all about the pressure and how to overcome it. If his team gives him the cars to win, Johnson will be hard to knock off the top perch.



Tony Stewart

The 2011 Sprint Cup champion was Tony Stewart, and he looks to shock the sport again by winning back-to-back titles for his team. With an attitude to steal the show, Smoke is in the driver’s seat for a second title in as many years.

While the tracks in the final 10 races will be the toughest of the year, Stewart proved in 2011 that his track record won’t depict how he finishes when everything is on the line.

Smoke is the definition of wildcard in NASCAR, and if he can stay out of trouble through the Chase for the Sprint Cup, there is little doubt that he could win a few races and steal the show.


For full standings, check the official NASCAR page.


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