(Jared C. Tilton/Icon SMI)
Halfway to the Chase, we can officially say Carl Edwards is in a slump. Edwards is winless and has only two top-5s in the No. 99 Ford this season.
He had six top-5s, including three victories and two runner-up finishes, at this point last year. Edwards was fourth in the standings and an obvious contender for the championship.
He led the series last year with nine victories and came within 69 points of catching Jimmie Johnson for the 2008 title.
And now? Even making the Chase is no guarantee. Edwards ranks 11th, only 46 points ahead of 13th-place David Reutimann.
Other than Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his slide, Edwards probably is the biggest disappointment of the season.
"It feels like years since we won a race," Edwards said before the Dover race. "But we're doing the best we can, just like everybody out here."
So what's the difference between this season and last year for Edwards?
"Right now, these cars are so competitive," he said. "All of a sudden, you've got guys like myself and other guys that haven't won in a little while and you think, 'Man, this is tough.' When the wins are coming easy, it seems so simple, and when they don't, it seems really tough."
Upon looking at the raw numbers, Edwards isn't running much worse than he did a year ago. His average finish last year after 13 races was 11.8. Now it's 15.7.
But last year, Edwards was in contention to win at most events. Not this year, but Dover was an improvement. Edwards led 12 laps before finishing seventh.
Edwards isn't alone in the winless column at Roush Fenway Racing. Matt Kenseth won the first two events, but RFR is winless in the past 11.
Even so, it's still early. The Roush cars went 12 consecutive races without a victory in the first 14 events of 2007 before finishing with six wins in the final 22 races, including three wins in the Chase.
RFR driver Greg Biffle was leading on the final restart Sunday before finishing third.
The series now heads to Pocono, where Edwards won this past August. One victory won't propel Edwards to the top of the standings, but it would show him that the 99 team is capable of making another championship run.
Nationwide Series: Keselowski puts series regular in Victory Lane again
Back-to-back victories by Nationwide regulars may qualify as the biggest surprise in NASCAR this season.
Full-time Sprint Cup drivers won the first 10 Nationwide races this season and the last nine races of 2008. Seventeen of those 19 events were won by drivers who made the Chase for the Sprint Cup last year.
It's good for the Nationwide Series to have victors who aren't Cup standouts. But the top two spots in the Nationwide standings this season remain in the hands of Cup stars Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards.
Jason Leffler is the top-ranked Nationwide regular in third, but he's 153 points behind Busch and 113 points behind Edwards.
Camping World Truck Series: Scott gets one for the young guns
Want to know where the real up-and-comers are in NASCAR? The Camping World Truck Series is the place to find them.
Many fans probably hadn't heard of Brian Scott before Saturday night at Dover, but you'll probably hear a lot more about the 21-year-old Idaho native in the future.
Scott earned his first Camping World Truck Series win, becoming the first of the peach-fuzz gang to drive into Victory Lane.
Colin Braun, 20, is another talented youngster in the series. He has two top-10s in the three races he has finished. Braun (pronounced "Brown") started second at Dover and led four laps during the race but blew a tire with 16 laps to go.
Scott's win ended a string of Cup stars' and old-timers' dominating things this season. Of the six winners before the Dover event, three were Cup drivers (Kyle Busch twice and Kevin Harvick once) and three others were of the over-40 contingent (Todd Bodine, Mike Skinner and Ron Hornaday Jr.).
Scott won at Dover by electing to stay out on old tires for the final 10 laps. But the Boise product has been running near the front a lot this season. He has posted top-10s in four of five Truck events, including a then season-best third-place showing at Kansas on April 27.
Scott's victory could signal an upward trend for some talented young drivers in the series.
Terry Blount covers motorsports for ESPN.com. His book, "The Blount Report: NASCAR's Most Overrated and Underrated Drivers, Cars, Teams, and Tracks," was published by Triumph Books and is available in bookstores. Click here to order a copy. Blount can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday's SportsNation chat
Ryan McGee has his finger on the pulse of NASCAR, and he stopped by to answer your questions. Don't agree with his Power Rankings? Have a burning question? McGee will be here every Monday to mix it up with SportsNation at 2 p.m. ET.
Racing Resources SaysSprint Cup Series
- Jimmie Johnson won the Autism Speaks 400 presented by Heluva Good! at Dover International Speedway.
- Johnson became the fourth repeat race winner in 13 races this season, joining Kyle Busch (three), Mark Martin (two) and Matt Kenseth (two). Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch and David Reutimann have one Cup win each this season. Johnson previously won at Martinsville this season.
- Johnson scored his 42nd career win in his 268th start. He started the race in the eighth position.
- Johnson scored his fourth victory in 15 races at Dover. His previous Dover win came in September 2005. Johnson has scored 10 top-10 finishes in 15 Dover races, including in each of the past three.
- Hendrick Motorsports earned its 11th victory at Dover on Sunday, the most by any car owner. Five drivers have won races for Hendrick Motorsports at Dover: Jeff Gordon (four), Jimmie Johnson (four), and Ricky Rudd, Ken Schrader and Geoffrey Bodine (one each). Hendrick Motorsports scored its 180th series victory.
- Johnson climbed from fourth to third in the standings and is 64 points behind first-place Tony Stewart. He has ranked among the top 12 in the past nine races.
- Johnson led nine times for 298 laps, including the final three laps. He led the most laps he has led in a race this season. It also was his largest total since Martinsville in October 2008, when he led 339, the most in a single race in his career. Sunday marked the fourth time Johnson has led more than 250 laps in his 268-race career.
- Johnson was just the second driver to lead the most laps and win in the past eight races at Dover. He has led in 11 of the 13 races this season, more than any other driver.
- Stewart (second) scored his ninth top-10 finish in 2009. Stewart has scored top-5 finishes in six of his past eight races. This was his third second-place finish in 13 races in 2009.
- Stewart overtook Jeff Gordon (26th) in the Cup standings. For the first time, Stewart-Haas Racing holds the points lead. The last time Stewart led the standings was after the Homestead race in 2005 -- his last championship season. In every season Stewart has led the standings, he has gone on to win the championship (2002 and 2005).
- Greg Biffle (third) tied his best finish of the season.
- Matt Kenseth (fourth) posted his third straight top-10 finish in as many weeks. He climbed from ninth to eighth in points.
- Kurt Busch (fifth) posted his seventh top-10 finish in 13 races.
- Joey Logano (15th) was the higher-finishing rookie of the two rookies in the race.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 12th with new crew chief Lance McGrew.
- Clint Bowyer (11th) scored his best finish in his past seven races.
- This was the sixth victory for Chevrolet in 2009. Toyota has four wins, Ford has two and Dodge has one.
- The top 10 consisted of five Chevrolets, three Fords and two Dodges. The highest-finishing Toyota was Logano (15th).
- Brad Keselowski won the Heluva Good! 200 at Dover International Speedway. This marked the 850th Nationwide Series race in NASCAR history (since 1982). Keselowski earned his first series win of the season. He is the ninth different winner this season.
- Keselowski scored his third Nationwide victory in his 81st race. He posted his first victory at Dover in his fifth race there. He has finished in the top 10 in all four of his Dover starts in the No. 88. Keselowski's last win came at Bristol this past August (20 races ago). All three of Keselowski's Nationwide wins have come on concrete.
- Keselowski extended a streak of nine consecutive top-15 finishes that began at Bristol. Keselowski finished 22nd, 27th and 27th in the first three races of the season before posting his first top-15 finish of the season at Bristol (12th).
- JR Motorsports scored its fifth series win and its first at Dover.
- Keselowski led only two laps, the fewest laps led by a Dover winner.
- Joe Gibbs Racing led 195 of the 200 laps.
- Keselowski won from a 12th-place starting position.
- Chevrolet posted its fourth win in 12 races in 2009. Toyota and Ford also have four wins.
- Kyle Busch, who entered the race 73 points ahead of Carl Edwards, finished 17th in his 150th series race. Edwards finished fifth. Busch now leads the points by 40 over Edwards.
- Busch has led the most laps in the past five Nationwide races. He has led 394 laps of the 523 laps raced in the past three races yet has failed to win. He has led 1,071 laps this season.
- Joey Logano (second) has scored 10 top-15 finishes in the 10 series races in which he has competed this season.
- Edwards has finished second, third, 10th and fifth in the past four series races.
- Jason Leffler (eighth) has scored 11 straight top-15 finishes, extending a streak that began at California in February. Leffler has finished in the top 10 in the past seven Nationwide races, extending a streak that began at Nashville. His is the longest current streak. This was his 200th series race. He started at the rear (41st) under penalty.
- Justin Allgaier (10th) was the highest-finishing rookie contender.
- The top 10 consisted of two Chevrolets, three Fords, four Toyotas and one Dodge.
- Brian Scott won the postponed AAA Insurance 200 at Dover International Speedway. It was Scott's first series victory in his 39th race, all with Xpress Motorsports.
- Scott became the 10th different series race winner in 10 races at Dover. He is the fourth first-time winner at Dover.
- Scott scored his first victory in 14 races with crew chief Jeff Hensley. This marked Hensley's ninth win as a Truck series crew chief. His eight previous wins came with Mike Skinner.
- Scott, who led one time for the final 14 laps, became the sixth different race winner in the seven series races in 2009. Kyle Busch is the only repeat winner this season (two wins).
- Points leader Ron Hornaday Jr. crashed on Lap 34 because of a cut tire while running second. Hornaday finished 26th and ended a six-race streak of top-10 finishes. He remained first in the standings by 27 points ahead of Mike Skinner, who finished eighth.
- The pole winner won the first two series races at Dover (2000 and 2001). The pole winner has not won at Dover in the past eight races. Pole winner Hornaday was the fastest in the first practice and second-fastest in the final practice.
- Five of the top 10 in points changed positions at Dover.
- Two drivers made their series debut: Tim Bainey Jr. (15th) and Dexter Bean (27th).
- Jason White (fourth) scored his career-best finish.
- Johnny Sauter (fifth) was the highest-finishing rookie contender of the six in the race.
- The last time the Nationwide Series and Truck Series raced on the same day was at California in February. Busch won both races, leading 238 of the 250 combined laps. He led 241 of the 400 raced today and finished 17th in the Nationwide race and ninth in the Trucks race.
- The top 10 consisted of five Toyotas, four Chevrolets and one Dodge. The highest-finishing Ford was Rick Crawford in 19th.