NASCAR's Giant Killer: Who Will It Be in the Sprint Cup Series?

Sandra MacWattersCorrespondent IJuly 19, 2010

CONCORD, NC - OCTOBER 13:  Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet, races Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway on October 13, 2007 in Concord, North Carolina.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Metaphorically speaking, when a person totally dominates a particular segment of society, they are considered a giant in that specific category.

Jimmie Johnson, driver of the Lowe's No. 48 Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports, has amassed four consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup titles.

Johnson could easily be considered a giant in the sport of NASCAR.

Folklore is replete with stories of giants being taken down by encounters with those who wish to trick them into finding their demise.

There are two NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers who are maneuvering into position to become giant-killers.

Kevin Harvick has been perched atop the Sprint Cup points standings and still remains 103 points to the good ahead of Jeff Gordon.

Harvick, driver of the Shell/Pennzoil No. 29 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing, has two wins this year.

Heading to Indianapolis for the Brickyard 400, Harvick has one win, three top-five finishes, and six top-10 finishes at the famed track.

Seven out of the RCR driver's 13 career wins have been on intermediate tracks.

Harvick has found success this year in the three top tiers of NASCAR.

This past weekend, he claimed a win at Gateway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck series.

Currently, Harvick, who drives the No. 33 car for Kevin Harvick Inc., stands fifth in points in the NASCAR Nationwide series.

It appears to be advantageous to Harvick having gained considerable seat time on the tracks by running so many races.

Though the other series are very different from Sprint Cup, just the fact he is continuously honing his on-track skills may put him a step ahead of drivers that aren't.

Harvick has openly stated his team must work harder on not making mistakes, and he must be able to run flawlessly if a NASCAR Sprint Cup championship is in his future this year.

His standing in the points and 20 point advantage going into the Chase allows the team a bit of experimental time that may or may not pay off in the Chase.

Jeff Gordon is a four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion, but he has not been able to claim a fifth title since he brought Jimmie Johnson to Hendrick Motorsports.

Gordon wants nothing more than to capture that fifth title before Johnson.

Wins have eluded the driver of the No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet so far this year, but Gordon has been the bridesmaid more times than he cares to count.

Gordon must feel very confident heading to the upcoming Brickyard 400.  He has four wins, nine top-fives, and 13 top-10s at the historic track.

His ever-threatening teammate, Jimmie Johnson, has three wins at the Brickyard which came in 2006, 2008, and 2009.

With the Chase rapidly approaching, Johnson currently has a 50 point advantage at the start based on his five wins.  Each win gives a driver 10 points automatically when the points reset to 5000 in the Chase.

Harvick has just 20 points to his advantage going into the Chase based on his two wins this season.

Clearly Gordon must concentrate on wins in the races leading up to the Chase.  It is important he gets some of those bonus points.

This upcoming weekend Gordon may take his first steps as a giant-killer with hopes he can out-race Johnson, whether with a fast car or some trickery just like we saw in the fairy tales.

Of course, there may be other giant-killers lurking around the tracks. 

Just ask Denny Hamlin.