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The Rundown: Dover driver grades

RELATED: Full race results | Series standings | Chase Grid 

Breaking down the full field for the Citizen Soldier 400 at Dover International Speedway:


1. Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing. Truex dominated the first round of the Chase with two wins and a total of 360 laps led. The 78 team is a serious threat for the championship if its performance (and lack of bad luck/mistakes) continues. Grade: A+


2. Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Busch earned his third top-10 finish in the Chase with a runner-up effort Sunday. Add in 102 laps led in Dover and the defending Sprint Cup Series champion is doing what's necessary to get back to Homestead. Grade: A


3. Chase Elliott, No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Elliott continues to knock on the door by putting in quiet but solid runs. In a format that has proven consistency can carry a driver through each round, Elliott certainly looks like he can be this year's beneficiary. Grade: A


4. Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Ford, Team Penske. Keselowski started on the pole and led seven laps, but was hardly a factor. Still, he was near the top of the leaderboard at the end, and the 2012 champion is still in Chase contention. Grade: A


5. Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Unlike last weekend when he finished second, Kenseth put in an unassuming day to grab his third consecutive top-nine finish. He'll move on in the Chase with a chance at that elusive second title. Grade: A-


6. Joey Logano, No. 22 Ford, Team Penske. Logano rounded out the Penske pair with a sixth-place finish after starting fifth. He'll move on to the Round of 12, which he dominated in the Chase last year with three straight victories. Grade: A –


7. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson found himself in contention for a victory for the second time in three Chase races before a mistake on pit road cost him -- again. This time it was by his crew. If Johnson is going to advance into the Round of 8 for the first time, the No. 48 team needs to get buttoned up. Grade: A-


8. Austin Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. Problems for Kyle Larson aided his cause, but Dillon rose to the occasion to advance in the Chase. The No. 3 solidly improved throughout the day and scored its first top 10 in the Chase. Grade: A


9. Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin has been only hot or cold at Dover -- with little in between -- and Sunday was just his eighth top-10 finish in 22 starts. Grade: A-


10. Jeff Gordon, No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. It took Gordon seven starts to earn a top 10 filling for Dale Earnhardt Jr this season. He also led seven laps during a cycle of green flag pit stops. Grade: A-


11. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. The good news? Stenhouse steadily climbed the leaderboard on Sunday. The bad news? He hasn't had a top-10 finish since Bristol in August. Grade: B+


12. Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Kahne was the worst of the Hendrick cars while finishing outside the top 10 for the first time in five races. Grade: B+


13. Tony Stewart, No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Stewart's late-season slide continued with his seventh consecutive finish outside the top 10 -- as well as his elimination from the Chase in his final season of full-time Sprint Cup driving. Grade: B


14. Carl Edwards, No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Edwards admittedly struggled in this first round of the Chase (with finishes of 15th, sixth and 14th) and has plenty of work to do if he's going to keep up with his Toyota teammates from here on out. Grade: B


15. Kurt Busch, No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. An unimpressive first round for Busch, who was the first car two laps down in Dover. Now it's time to improve upon just two top-10 finishes in the last five races. Grade: B


16. Aric Almirola, No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. Through 29 races (30 straight if you go back to last season), Almirola has still not scored a top-10 finish. Grade: B-


17. Ryan Newman, No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. After fighting for a spot in the Chase, Newman has been a non-story the last three weeks. He was up and down the leaderboard throughout the race, but wound up finishing around where he started (19th). Grade: B-


18. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. Green flag pit stops helped Biffle lead seven laps. He ended the day the first car four laps down. Grade: B-


19. AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing. Sunday was Allmendinger's first top-20 finish at Dover since the spring 2012 race. Grade: B-


20. Trevor Bayne, No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. Bayne stayed out of trouble and now has two top-20 finishes in four career Dover starts. Grade: B-


21. Brian Scott, No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. Scott earned a career-best Dover finish on Sunday in addition to picking up his first top-25 finish in six races. Grade: B-


22. Paul Menard, No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. Pairing with crew chief Danny Stockman still has not brought the consistency or improvement Menard and company are looking for. Grade: C


23Chris Buescher, No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. Buescher's best Chase finish wasn't enough to carry the him through to the next round as the Cinderella story came to an end in Dover. Grade: B-


24. Clint Bowyer, No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports. Bowyer was oh-so close, but his streak of consecutive 22nd-place finishes ended at four Sunday. Grade: C


25. Kyle Larson, No. 42, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Lightning did not strike twice for Larson at Dover (where he finished second in May), as his Chase came to an end following repeated miscues. A power problem led to a pit road penalty and Larson later hit the wall to end up six laps down. Grade: C


26. Casey Mears, No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing. Mears has little to add to his Dover notebook after duplicating his finish from May. Grade: C


27. Matt DiBenedetto, No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing. DiBenedetto earned his best Dover finish in four starts there. Grade: C


28. Danica Patrick, No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Patrick now has finished 25th or worse in four of her nine Dover starts. Grade: C-


29. Landon Cassill, No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. Cassill is now on a three-race streak of finishing 29th, nice. Grade: C-


30. David Ragan, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing. Ragan was eight laps back and remains 31st in points. Grade: C-


31. Regan Smith, No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing. Smith was the first car nine laps down. Grade: C-


32. Ty Dillon, No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing. Sunday was Dillon's worst finish in his 10 Sprint Cup starts this season. Grade: C-


33. Michael Annett, No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports. Annett has not finished in the top 30 in the last four races. Grade: D


34. Timmy Hill, No. 98 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Hill finished 14 laps off the pace. Grade: D


35. Reed Sorenson, No. 55 Toyota, Premium Motorsports. Sorenson finished where he ran (35.33) throughout the event on Sunday. Grade: D


36. Jeffrey Earnhardt, No. 32 Ford, Go Fas Racing. Earnhardt finished 16 laps off the pace in his second Dover start. Grade: D


37. Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Locked into the Round of 12 in the Chase after winning in New Hampshire, Harvick was unaffected by a broken track bar mount that led to him finishing 46 laps down. Grade: F


38. Ryan Blaney, No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing. Blaney hit the wall hard off Turn 2 when he blew a tire on Lap 106. Grade: F


39. Josh Wise, No. 30 Chevrolet, The Motorsports Group. Wise earned his sixth DNF of the season following a blown engine. Grade: F


40. Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. McMurray went from looking like he had a spot in the Round of 12 to missing the cut after his engine expired on Lap 194. Grade: F

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