1. Mark Martin- 5 Wins, 17 Top Tens
Wouldn’t it be ironic if the guy who finally dethrones Jimmie Johnson is Mark Martin!! When you look at the schedule I think he may actually be able to get it done.
2. Jimmie Johnson- 4 Wins, 18 Top Tens
This team was way over cautious at Kansas with their pit strategy. The 48 had this problem in the Chase last year. At Talladega in 2008 this team was so over cautious they raced their way to a lap down all on their own.
3. Juan Pablo Montoya- 5 Top Fives, 15 Top Tens
Juan Pablo Montoya is the only non-Hendrick team (or affiliate) that is able to race with the big boys. If he would like another first name I think David would be appropriate because he’s the only driver who is even in position to slay the Goliath’s.
4. Kurt Busch- 1 Win, 16 Top Tens
Kansas was the first race in the Chase Kurt failed to finish in the top 10. Kurt’s now 91 points out of the lead but California is a good track for this team. Expect him to get back into his top ten ways there.
5. Tony Stewart- 4 Wins, 20 Top Tens
It looks like the 14 car finally snapped out of their long, long, long slump. In order for Stewart to remain in contention the next few races will crucial for the 14 team. I’m not convinced their on par with the 5 and the 48 on intermediate tracks.
6. Jeff Gordon- 1 Win, 20 Top Tens
All the previous tracks that I consider similar to California (Michigan, Chicago, Kansas & prior California race) Jeff Gordon has finished second every time. Another second place finish or a win would go a long way for this teams championship hopes.
7. Denny Hamlin- 2 Wins, 16 Top Tens
This team has scored the second most points over the last 6 races but yet Hamlin still sits 99 points out of the lead. At California Hamlin will need a much better finish then his 14th place average if he hopes to gain on the leader.
8. Greg Biffle- 9 Top Fives, 14 Top Tens
I’m surprised this team ran so good at Kansas. Perhaps Roush is starting to turn things around. It’s been a while since Roush Fords for the most part all ran strong.
9. Kasey Kahne- 2 Wins, 12 Top Tens
This would be a good team to pick for the win at California if they had the R6 engine. Unfortunately they won’t have it. If Hendrick was so insecure about themselves like RPM is Dale Jr would be in a Lumina by now.
10. Carl Edwards- 7 Top Fives, 12 Top Tens
Do you remember the last time Carl Edwards finished in the top 10 before Kansas? The answer is Michigan. California is very similar to Michigan so there is hope here.
11. Ryan Newman- 5 Top Fives, 14 Top Tens
Who could have seen this bad run coming? Anybody if they’ve been paying attention. This team simply doesn’t get it at intermediate tracks for whatever reason. If Newman struggles on the other tracks then he might just be battling Vickers for 12th.
12. Brian Vickers- 1 Win, 13 Top Tens
This team could make excuses for the first two races but their overall performance at Kansas was hideous. Every year in the Chase there is a team that battles really hard to get in only to crumble like a cookie. Will history repeat itself again?