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Nextel Cup Series

May 30, 2007

Casey Mears was the unexpected winner of the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday night, and he'll be looking to continue his hot streak this week at the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover.

Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson were the favorites to win the Coca-Cola 600 under the lights at Lowe's Motor Speedway on the weekend, but it was Mears who ended up crossing the finish line in first place. In fact, Johnson ended up in 10th spot in the event, while Gordon hit the wall and was forced out of the race (in 41st spot) after just 62 laps.

J.J. Yeley finished second at Lowe's, followed by Kyle Petty, Reed Sorenson, and Brian Vickers. Tony Stewart, Ricky Rudd, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin, and Johnson rounded out the Top 10. Mark Martin was 11th, Matt Kenseth was 12th, Carl Edwards was 15th, Jamie McMurray was 19th, Kevin Harvick was 21st, Jeff Burton was 24th, and Clint Bowyer was 29th. Kyle Busch (30th) and Kurt Busch (32nd) were well behind.

The poor finish at Lowe's cut into Gordon's lead atop the driver standings. Johnson is now just 132 points back of the leader in second place, after entering the race with a 231-point deficit. Johnson's Top-10 result on Sunday night was his ninth of the season.

Kenseth is now 207 points back of Gordon in third place in the standings, and he's followed by Hamlin and Burton. Stewart, Harvick, Edwards, Kurt Busch, and Clint Bowyer make up the rest of the current Top 10. Kyle Busch, McMurray, Earnhardt Jr., Martin, and Yeley take up spots 11-15. Mears is still well back of the pack in 29th place.

Burton and Kenseth won the two events at Dover International Speedway last season; Burton won the Dover 400 in September, and Kenseth picked up the victory in the Neighborhood Excellence 400 back in June. Both drivers started in the No. 19 position.

Martin is a four-time winner at Dover, with his last victory there coming in the MBNA 400 in June 2004. Martin also won at Dover in 1997, 1998, and 1999. Johnson won at Dover twice in 2002, and grabbed a victory there in September 2005 as well. Gordon and Ryan Newman are also three-time Dover champs, while Tony Stewart has won twice on the Delaware track. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Greg Biffle each have single Dover victories.

Sunday's Nextel Cup event at Dover will be a Car of Tomorrow race, and Hendrick Motorsports drivers have dominated with that car. So who is favored to get the victory?

Vegas Odds to Win Autism Speaks 400

Jimmie Johnson --- 6/1
Jeff Gordon --- 7/1
Denny Hamlin --- 7/1
Kyle Busch --- 8/1
Matt Kenseth --- 10/1
Tony Stewart --- 10/1
Jeff Burton --- 11/1
Dale Earnhardt Jr. --- 16/1
Kevin Harvick --- 17/1
Kurt Busch --- 18/1
Greg  Biffle --- 20/1
Carl Edwards --- 20/1
Mark Martin --- 20/1
Ryan Newman --- 20/1
Clint Bowyer --- 25/1
Martin Truex Jr. --- 30/1
Jamie McMurray --- 35/1
Kasey Kahne --- 40/1

And here are the current odds for each of the top drivers to secure the title this season:

Vegas Odds to Win Nextel Cup

Jeff Gordon --- 3/1
Jimmie Johnson --- 7/2
Tony Stewart --- 9/2
Matt Kenseth --- 9/1
Denny Hamlin --- 10/1
Dale Earnhardt Jr. --- 12/1
Jeff Burton --- 14/1
Kevin Harvick --- 15/1
Kurt Busch --- 18/1
Kyle Busch --- 20/1
Ryan Newman --- 28/1
Carl Edwards --- 30/1
Greg Biffle --- 50/1
Jamie McMurray --- 55/1

After racing at Dover the drivers of the Nextel Cup Series will head to Pocono Raceway for the Pocono 500 on June 10. The rest of June's Cup schedule then features the Citizens Bank 400 at Michigan, and the Toyota/Save Mart 350 out at Infineon Raceway.


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