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Earnhardt, Jr. spent most of the first half of the season among the top three in the Sprint Cup championship standings. Only six drivers in the entire Sprint Cup series scored more top five finishes. Most significantly, Earnhardt, Jr. won a race.
Johnson entered NASCAR’s highest level of competition in 2002 as Jeff Gordon’s protégé. In 2003, Newman again outshined Johnson, as Newman won eight races compared to Johnson’s three.
Heading into the inaugural Chase for the Championship, Hendrick Motorsports drivers Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon emerged as the favorites as they dominated the first 26 races, winning nine races combined.
Thirty years ago, no one involved in stock car racing imagined nor predicted the demise of Petty Enterprises. Lee Petty built the ship that has sailed ever since the beginning of NASCAR.
Initially, Jimmie Johnson has 4-1 odds to win the 2009 Sprint Cup championship. Nine-time race winner in 2008, Carl Edwards, has 9-2 odds to win his first Sprint Cup title. Kyle Busch, who tallied eight total victories in 2008.
Jeff Gordon enjoyed several solid races towards the end of the season, but overall, Earnhardt, Jr. won a race, and led more laps. In 2009, expect Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to improve upon the 2008 season and qualify for the Chase for the Championship.
Jeff Burton- Steadiness defined Burrton’s 2008 season. He scored a top ten finish in half of the 36 races, and won two races (Bristol and Charlotte).
Who will win the 2009 Sprint Cup championship? How will Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman perform with the newly-formed Stewart Haas Racing? It will come down to Joe Gibbs Racing’s teenage driver Joey Logano, and former Formula One driver Scott Speed.