The predictable and unpredictable of '09 (so far)

April, 13, 2009
Seven weeks into the 2009 Cup season, let's divide a few things up between the predictable and the unpredictable.

Unpredictable -- Tony Stewart, a driver/owner now at Stewart-Haas Racing, is ahead of his former Joe Gibbs Racing teammates in the standings.

Stewart ranks fifth in the No 14 Chevy, 25 points ahead of Denny Hamlin in sixth and 49 points ahead of JGR driver Kyle Busch in seventh.

Predictable -- Rookie Joey Logano, driving Stewart's former No. 20 Toyota at JGR, ranks 35th. Logano won the Nationwide race Saturday at Nashville, the series where he should be racing exclusively this season instead of Cup.

Unpredictable -- Clint Bowyer, racing a new car with a new crew at Richard Childress Racing, ranks fourth in the standings with four top-10s.

Predictable -- Casey Mears, with the crew Bowyer had at RCR when he made the Chase the previous two seasons, ranks 23rd in the standings with no top-10s in his first season at RCR.

Unpredictable -- David Ragan, who almost made the Chase last year and appeared on the verge of contender status, ranks 29th in the No. 6 UPS Ford. The season-opening Daytona 500 was the only time this season Ragan has finished on the lead lap.

Predictable -- Reed Sorenson, moving to Richard Petty Motorsports this season to drive the famed No. 43 Dodge, ranks 30th, finishing 25th or worse in each of the past five races.

Unpredictable -- Kurt Busch, after finishing 18th in the standings last year, ranks third this season and still is angry enough to argue with his boss (Roger Penske) and call him "Dude" during a race.

Predictable -- After seven events, only 40 cars still are committed to try to run full time, but five of those don't have primary sponsorship for the entire season.

Unpredictable -- AJ Allmendinger, in a thrown-together, limited-sponsored fourth car at Richard Petty Motorsports, ranks 20th in the standings with two top-10s and four finishes in the top 20.

The No. 44 Dodge now has sponsorship to race into September to try to make the Chase.

Predictable -- Rookie Scott Speed, who replaced Allmendinger at Red Bull Racing, ranks 38th and does not have a top-20 finish.

Unpredictable -- Cup star Carl Edwards is winless in the first six Nationwide races, but still leads the standings by 23 points over Kyle Busch.

Predictable -- Full-time Cup drivers are 6-0 after the first six Nationwide races.

Terry Blount

ESPN Staff Writer



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