We've narrowed it down to 12 drivers who still have a chance to take home NASCAR's prestigious Sprint Cup. Over the next 10 races, they'll attempt to distinguish themselves from one another by posting stronger, more consistent finishes than their rivals, with the title fight likely going down to the wire at Homestead in November.
Of course, some drivers a have better chance to win than others. Thanks to TheSpread.com, we have a list of odds for all 12 remaining Chase drivers winning the championship, as well as a couple of notes about their chances. We'll start with the championship favorite and work our way through the list.
It should be no shock that Johnson is the favorite, given his five Chase titles and career Chase winning percentage of 25 percent (20 wins in 80 races). Now that he's got the extra motivating factor that comes with not having a title to defend, Jimmie Johnson may be in store for a Chase just as dominant Tony Stewart's was last year.
2010 is a distant memory in the eyes of the Chase's top seed, who's equipped with the defending champion crew chief in Darian Grubb and a ton of confidence in his equipment. As Joe Gibbs Racing's only representative in the Chase, an entire organization's hopes rest on Denny Hamlin's ability to make up for the disappointment of two years ago and take JGR's first title since 2005.
This is the best chance since the inaugural Chase for the sport's most popular driver to win his first Cup championship. One of the most consistent drivers in the series this year, and as strong as he's ever been since joining Hendrick Motorsports, it's a safe bet that this would be the most significant championship in years if it were to happen.
Roger Penske's new lead driver has performed with poise and skill beyond his years since inheriting the Blue Deuce. He finished fifth in last year's Chase and earned the fourth seed in this year's. There's no doubt that Bad Brad Keselowski will win a Sprint Cup one of these years—the only question is if this will be the year.
Jeff Gordon drove with the fury of a younger version of himself when he tore through the field at Richmond to sneak into the Chase with the final berth. Now that he's made his way in, we get to see if he can build on his recent momentum and take home the fifth championship of his career.
Kasey Kahne rebounded spectacularly after a dismal start to the year, taking two victories to cement the first of two wild card spots in this year's Chase. He may not have the bonus points that come from making it into the top 10, but as one of the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers to make it, he's part of the strongest team out there.
Last year's champion took home his third Cup title after winning five of the final 10 races of the season—an impressive streak unmatched thus far in Chase history. But if Tony Stewart wants to bring home a second title, chances are it's not going to come so easily—not with the target on his back and everybody gunning for him.
Greg Biffle led all drivers in points in the regular season, taking two race wins in the process after missing last year's Chase entirely. He's clearly fired up to make up for last year's disappointment, but the question is, can he channel that into race wins over simple consistency?
Matt Kenseth's odds are likely affected negatively by his decision to change teams at the end of this year. Transitional phases late in the season are tough for even the best drivers, and it'll be interesting to see if the 2003 champion can avoid the lame-duck blues.
If you want to make an interesting title pick, at these odds, here's your guy. A winner of two races for Michael Waltrip Racing, Clint Bowyer has shown the ability to produce results while flying under the radar.
Truex's odds of winning the title are likely higher because he hasn't won a race yet this season. But he's come close at Kansas, which hosts a Chase race, and Atlanta, which resembles both Charlotte and Texas, meaning there's a good shot he breaks through.
Remember, like Truex, Kevin Harvick's odds are negatively affected by his winless record thus far this year. But pairing him up with longtime crew chief, Gil Martin, for the past two races has already helped Harvick regain some of his lost mojo behind the wheel. So don't expect Harvick to be winless for long.