With 19 of the 36 Sprint Cup points races in the books and the series headed to Indianapolis Motor Speedway after a rare weekend off, it's time to check out which organizations are moving in the right direction, which may need just a little more time to come around—and which might as well start focusing on next season soon.
It has been pretty obvious that Hendrick Motorsports and Team Penske have been the class of the field so far, having combined to have their drivers and cars win a total of 11 races between them. And even though Team Penske has been formidable especially of late, Jay Pennell of FoxSports.com accurately summed it up recently by noting, "We are living in the age of Hendrick Motorsports."
They have the defending champion who is seeking a record-tying seventh title in Jimmie Johnson, a resurgent Dale Earnhardt Jr. and a four-time champ having a great season in Jeff Gordon. Everyone else is chasing them at the moment.
But which other organizations might just have a chance to perhaps steal the championship under the new Chase for the Sprint Cup elimination format that commences after the first 26 regular-season races? Who's on their game at the shop and in the pits, as well as having drivers who are getting it done behind the wheel?
Read on to find out who's hot, who's not and who's somewhere in between.