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NASCAR Chase Patrol: “Midterm Grades” for Top 12 Sprint Cup Contenders

We've reached the halfway point of the 2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship and it's shaping up to be a five driver fight for the title. While the battle began with 12 contenders, the Chase field has dwindled race after race with challengers falling by the wayside. Perennial stars have made their presence known so far, occupying the top spots while surprise faces have seen their magic fading away. Still, a lot is on the line for the top 12, ranging from points, money, and for some lucky drivers, the prestigious Sprint Cup championship trophy. While some fans and media outlets are already declaring the Chase as won by a particular three-time titlist named Jimmie Johnson, five races remain in which the unexpected may occur. Mart...

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