NASCAR Sprint Cup at Dover: Jimmie Johnson and 10 Top Contenders to Win

Melissa Bauer-Herzog@mbauerherzogCorrespondent ISeptember 29, 2011

NASCAR Sprint Cup at Dover: Jimmie Johnson and 10 Top Contenders to Win

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    As we get deeper into the Chase, we have seen some surprises.

    But this show isn't about the Chase, it's about this week's race at Dover.

    Just like every week, we try to predict who will win the race, and with the record of some of the 10 drivers on this show, it would be no surprise for any of them to be in victory lane.

    Let's take a look at some of the men who look to conquer Dover this weekend.

Jimmie Johnson

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    Jimmie Johnson may be struggling in the Chase, but he hasn't struggled at this track.

    Johnson's win record at this track looks like this: won September 2010, both races in 2009, September 2005, both races in 2002. Oh yeah, and he finished ninth in May.

    If history repeats itself, we may see the No. 48 dominate this weekend.

Matt Kenseth

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    The spring winner of this race, Matt Kenseth also has two third-place finishes, in May 2010 and September 2009.

    Kenseth's record may not be as impressive as Johnson's, but he is coming in here with the win advantage from May.

Kyle Busch

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    Is there a track that Rowdy hasn't won at?

    He comes into this track with two wins, in May 2010 and June 2008. He also has two top-six finishes in the last two races as well.

    Watch for the younger Busch brother to stir things up on Sunday with his No. 18.

Carl Edwards

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    Carl Edwards has faded into the background over the past few races, but he definitely knows what he's doing here. He won in 2007 and has three top-eights in the past three races.

    They may not be wins, but they sure look good on his record and convince me that he may be able to advance off of them on Sunday.

Kevin Harvick

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    Kevin Harvick may not have the fanciest record, with a 10th in May and a seventh in May 2010, but his Chase success thus far has me thinking he could do a lot on Sunday.

    A win is definitely a big possibility for this team.

Tony Stewart

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    Tony Stewart is currently on fire in the Chase, so the fact he hasn't won here since 2000 and has only two ninth-place finishes since September 2009 does not bother me.

    With how Stewart is driving right now, he may have the best chance of being in victory lane this weekend.

Ryan Newman

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    Newman had some troubles last week, but he has three wins here and three poles. In addition, he finished eighth in September 2010 and 10th in September 2009.

    He may not be super flashy in the Chase right now, but he is driving the same car as Tony Stewart, which has to be an advantage.

Brad Keselowski

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    Brad Keselowski may only have a 13th-place finish here as his best one, but he is on fire right now. Granted, his past performances don't indicate a win is in his immediate future here, but he has defied all logic and may even be able to win the Championship this season, so I'm not putting a Dover win past him.

Jeff Gordon

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    Jeff Gordon has four wins here, although the last one came in 2001. In more recent history, he won the pole in 2008, finished sixth in September 2009, and had a pair of 11ths in 2010.

    Gordon isn't performing like some of the other Chasers, but Hendrick has to be looking for a turnaround performance from its cars, and Gordon is one of the three it really wants a turnaround from.

Denny Hamlin

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    Hamlin isn't performing up to his standards this year, and Dover isn't his favorite track, if his two top-10 finishes in the last four races is any indication.

    But even with his under-performance in the Chase, Hamlin is my dark horse for this race, since it is Hamlin and he has said they are using the Chase to figure some things out for next year.

    If they find the right setup, his car should fly.