This Sunday, NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers make their second of two annual visits to the Monster Mile in Dover Delaware for round two of the ten-race 2007 Chase for the Nextel Cup Championship. The Dodge Dealers 400 is on tap at this fast, high-banked (24 degrees), concrete oval. The King Richard Petty won the first Cup series race at Dover International Speedway in 1969, and this track has been thrilling fans with exciting action-packed racing ever since.

As I see it, the following drivers have the best chance of pulling out a top finish this Sunday. I have compiled my ranking by analyzing drivers? success at this track over the last several years, then throwing ol? momentum into the mix by factoring in the last month of racing.

1) 5 Kyle Busch
2) 48 Jimmie Johnson
3) 07 Clint Bowyer
4) 01 Mark Martin
5) 1 Martin Truex Jr.
6) 99 Carl Edwards
7) 12 Ryan Newman
8) 31 Jeff Burton
9) 20 Tony Stewart
10) 16 Greg Biffle
11) 2 Kurt Busch
12) 24 Jeff Gordon
13) 17 Matt Kenseth
14) 11 Denny Hamlin
15) 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
16) 9 Kasey Kahne
17) 29 Kevin Harvick
18) 6 Davie Ragan
19) 43 Bobby Labonte
20) 26 Jamie McMurray

The youngest guns will definitely be ones to pay attention to this weekend. Clint Bowyer earned a perfect driver rating of 150 in his first career win last Sunday at New Hampshire, and catapulted eight spots in the Chase standings by doing so. Plus, Bowyer has two top tens in just three Cup starts at Dover. Throw in a Busch series victory one year ago, and you?ve got a definite threat. The other driver making his first appearance in the Chase is Martin Truex Jr. With his win at Dover in June, coupled with two Busch series victories in 2004 and 2005, yet another threat looms.

Jimmie Johnson, meanwhile, enters this weekend with three Dover victories to his credit. He and his Hendrick Motorsports teammates have shined in the Car of Tomorrow this year, so don?t be surprised if he puts his Chevy out front early and often. Johnson: “The corners are below the level of the straightaway so you’re launching off into the corner and then trying to get the car to slow down and turn and then driving back up onto the straightaway and it’s really an entertaining track, a fun track to drive on but you’re on the ragged edge and that’s why it’s such a dangerous track and have so many issues. And then the track is a self-cleaning track as I’ve heard mentioned and if you get in trouble and you lose it, you’re going to hit something. It’s one of my favorite tracks. I really, really enjoy running there.”

On the other end of the spectrum is Chase veteran Tony Stewart, who has struggled of late at Dover. Stewart has failed to crack the top 10 in his last five Dover races and has suffered two consecutive DNFs.
His driver rating at Dover since 2005 is 67.1, his lowest at any track on the series. Crew Chief Greg Zipadelli: ?It?s one of my favorite race tracks, we?ve run well there in the past. Tony likes it but it is one of those racetracks that sometimes can get on your nerves. I doesn?t have an abundance of grip, so your car?s always on a fine line, so your kind of always looking for grip and your looking for really good balance. You practice there on Saturday and the sun comes out on Sunday and it changes quite a bit. It?s a little bit different than a lot of the racetracks we go to.?

Keys To Victory
? Aerodynamics will be key due to the high banking and superspeedway-like tendencies at Dover.
? Dover?s concrete surface and high speeds chew up tires, so tire management is critical.
? Crew chiefs need to make the right call when to come into the pits during green flag runs. A wrong decision could cost a driver up to two laps under green.

Kyle Busch (No. 5 Kellogg?s/CARQUEST Chevrolet)
? Three top fives
? Average finish of 13.2
? Driver Rating of 101.3, eighth-best
? 97 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
? Third-fastest Green Flag Speed
? 1,295 Laps in the Top 15 (64.6%), eighth-most
? 102 Quality Passes, sixth-most

Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe?s Chevrolet)
? Three wins, four top fives, seven top 10s
? Average finish of 11.7
? Average Running Position of 12.3, eighth-best
? Driver Rating of 101.6, seventh-best
? 147 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
? Series-high 226 Green Flag Passes
? Sixth-fastest Green Flag Speed
? 1,453 Laps in the Top 15 (72.5%), sixth-most

Clint Bowyer (No. 07 Jack Daniel?s Chevrolet)
? Two top 10s
? Average finish of 11.0
? Average Running Position of 8.7, sixth-best
? Driver Rating of 98.8, eighth-best
? Eighth-fastest Green Flag Speed
? 1,072 Laps in the Top 15 (89.3), fourth-best percentage
? 97 Quality Passes for an average of 32.3 per race, best average of any driver

Martin Truex Jr. (No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet)
? One win, two top 10s
? Average finish of 9.7
? Average Running Position of 12.0, seventh-best
? Driver Rating of 102.0, fifth-best
? 120 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
? Seventh-fastest Green Flag Speed
? 787 Laps in the Top 15 (65.6%), ninth-best percentage

Carl Edwards (No. 99 Office Depot Ford)
? Two top fives, three top 10s
? Average finish of 10.5
? Third-best Closer ? 12 positions improved in last 10 percent of total laps
? Average Running Position of 12.7, 10th-best
? Driver Rating of 93.4, 11th-best
? 106 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
? 1,207 Laps in the Top 15 (60.2%), ninth-most

Greg Biffle (No. 16 Nintendo Wii Ford)
? One win, two top fives, five top 10s
? 14.0 average finish
? Average Running Position of 7.4, second-best
? Series-best Driver Rating of 112.9
? Series-best Closer ? 19 positions improved in the last 10 percent of races
? Series-high 178 Fastest Laps Run
? Fastest Green Flag Speed
? Series-high 1,851 Laps in the Top 15 (92.4%)
? Series-high 153 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the Top 15 while under green)

Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge)
? Two top fives, four top 10s
? Average finish of 20.0
? Average Running Position of 10.3, sixth-best
? Driver Rating of 97.9, 10th-best
? 80 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most
? Ninth-fastest Green Flag Speed
? 1,563 Laps in the Top 15 (78%), fifth-most
? 120 Quality Passes, third-most

Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet)
? Four wins, 13 top fives, 18 top 10s; three poles
? Average finish of 12.4
? 11th-fastest Green Flag Speed
? 1,202 Laps in the Top 15 (60%), 10th-most

Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Ford)
? One win, five top fives, 10 top 10s; one pole
? Average finish of 14.2
? Average Running Position of 7.7, third-best
? Driver Rating of 110.2, second-best
? 129 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
? Second-fastest Green Flag Speed
? 1,825 Laps in the Top 15 (91.1%), tied for second-most
? 151 Quality Passes, second-most

Other Dover International Speedway Highlights
? Dover Downs International Speedway opened in 1969. The track was renamed to Dover International Speedway in 2002.
? The track surface was changed to concrete in 1995.
? The first two races at Dover were 300 miles. The race length was changed to 500 miles in 1971 and then to 400 miles in 1997.
? Mark Martin, Ryan Newman and Ricky Rudd lead all active drivers, each with four poles.
? Bobby Allison and Richard Petty lead all drivers, each with seven victories.
? Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon lead all active drivers, each with four victories.
? Rick Hendrick has won 10 races, more than any other car owner.
? Forty-five races have been won from a top-five starting position while only 16 races, including three of the past four, have been won from a starting position outside the top 10.
? Ryan Newman won in June 2003 – the first victory for Dodge there since 1975.

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