The Sprint Cup hits its final superspeedway of the season at Talladega and it may be the final chance for the Chasers on the fringe to get back into the mix for the title. Four-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson has a six-point lead over Denny Hamlin. Kevin Harvick is 62 points back and then there's Kyle Busch at 172 back. Really, anyone after that needs a miracle to get back in it, and Busch needs a minor one. He needs to win at least twice to get back into the mix.
The unpredictability of a restrictor plate track and the close racing means the Chase leaders could get knocked out early and have a 30-plus finish. Or if one of them survives and wins, while the others do not, he could make a big gain.
At any rate, here's a look at my top five for this week:
Jimmie Johnson. He's still the leader and has a knack for missing the big wrecks.
Jeff Gordon. He's had some bad luck, but the Chevys are always strong in the superspeedways.
Tony Stewart. He's pretty much out of the Chase picture at 236 back, but he's become very good at restrictor plate tracks.
Kurt Busch. He's figured out the restrictor game in the last couple of years.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Probably a reach to pick him here, but if he's going to win one this year, this is the place.