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Four races left before the 2012 Chase for the Sprint Cup is set to begin on the NASCAR circuit. This means that time is running out for those sitting outside looking to make a push to be eligible for NASCAR’s version of a playoff system.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has found himself in quite a slump lately. He has dropped from the points leader spot down to fourth after a few weeks of not-so-good days on the track.
That has made way for Jimmie Johnson, arguably the hottest driver this year with four Sprint Cup wins, to overtake that top spot. And Johnson had a good day in qualifying for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 as he qualified in the third spot behind Carl Edwards and pole-winner Mark Martin. However, he has been forced to start in the back of the field after an engine change before the first practice.
Edwards definitely needed a good starting spot as he currently is 12th in the points standings, trying to maintain a spot in the Chase. Rounding out the top five in qualifying are Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne. Kahne is just ahead of Edwards in the 11th spot so this bodes well for him also.
Earnhardt Jr. qualified 22nd and will look to make a move since falling to fourth. He does have a win this year which was his first since 2008, which that 2008 win ironically was at Michigan International Speedway. But he too will start from the back after wrecking his No. 88 Chevrolet in the final practice Saturday.
Bovada Sportsbook has fielded their Odds To Win The Pure Michigan 400 and Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth have been tagged the betting favorites with odds set at 13/2. Johnson comes in at 7/1, Kyle Busch 8/1 while Edwards and Jeff Gordon are at 9/1.
Visit Bovada for a complete list of all the drivers and their odds. The Pure Michigan 400 can be seen live on ESPN at 1:00 pm ET.