Dover International Speedway might not have the coolest name anymore (it used to be called Dover Downs), but it certainly plays home to the coolest drivers. Now, with today's wretched verbal joke out of the way, we move on to the power rankings for said speedway. Behold, the kings of concrete!
Pole Position: Jimmie Johnson
JJ's stats are so superb at Dover that they need not bear mentioning. He'll be good. 'Nuff said.
Outside pole: Denny Hamlin
Through all of his variable ways and tendencies, Hamlin has emerged as one of the more stable contenders through the first third of the 2012 season. With two wins on the year, some strong runner-up finishes, and past Dover strength, he's looking sporty.
Position 3: Kyle Busch
Making a seismic jump up the totem pole this week is Shrub himself. Based on a solid month's worth of top-five finishes, KyBusch is finally turning up the wick, and the consistency, on the 2012 season.
Position 4: Matt Kenseth
With a couple of wins, a bucket-load of top-10's (17), and stats almost entirely top-five across the board at Dover (not to mention current 2012 strength), Kenseth absolutely must be watched.
Position 5: Kasey Kahne
Kahne is starting to pick up the top-10's and lay down the top-fives. And apparently, wins too. Like Kyle Busch, he's one of the hottest cats on the track right now, and for the first time in his career, he's getting hot in a Hendrick ride. Fear this.
Position 6: Greg Biffle
It's not quite fair to slot Biffle lower than the top three right now, and to be sure, it's not because he's lessening his pace. The fellows above him are simply a bit more prone to outright win of late. Beyond that factor, points leader Biffle isn't ever to be denied of late. Fear this too.
Position 7: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Junior is showing signs that top-five points strength is a lasting phenomenon for him this year. By the way, he leads the series in top-10's (nine, or 75 percent of the races this season). Look for him to chill on to another top-10 this weekend.
Position 8: Martin Truex Jr.
Truex continues to flirt wildly with a win, which bodes well for this weekend considering his only career win came at Dover. He's a gun waiting to go off in victory lane, and he hasn't yet shown signs of performance decline in 2012. Until further notice, Truex gets another high nod in these rankings.
Position 9: Tony Stewart
Stewart laid an egg at Charlotte last weekend, partly due to early-race handling issues and partly due to a spot of ill luck later on in the event. His wildly fluctuating finishing trends continue on in 2012, but included in that volatility are two wins and a couple of other near-misses. He could well get sporty again this weekend.
Position 10: Carl Edwards
He continues to be good, but not great. Cousin Carl hasn't yet shown any signs of superb speed, but he has shown excellent consistency around the top-10. He might not be very exciting right now, but he's a solid bet for a solid finish.
Position 11: Kevin Harvick
Like Edwards, Harvick has been cool and collected this season, without much flash on the surface but with some solid bang below the radar. He's not in winning form right now, but he's good enough to wrack up more top-10 stats.
Position 12: Jeff Gordon
The NASCAR gods smiled more favorably on Gordon this past weekend, allowing him to go 600 miles with nary a broken doohickey, blown whatchmacallit, or wrecked whatnot. That is to say, nothing really bad happened to the man. If he can survive yet again, he'll contend well at one of his better tracks.
Lucky dog: Clint Bowyer