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Press Picks Edwards to End Johnson Dynasty
The media have spoken, and it predicts Carl Edwards will end Jimmie Johnson’s championship stranglehold.

In a NASCARMedia.com poll asking members of the media to forecast 2009’s final top 12, Edwards received almost twice the first place votes as Johnson. Edwards finished with 70 first-place votes, compared to Johnson’s 37.

Despite his proven dominance in winning three consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series titles, Johnson could not muster a majority of the support from the 198 voters who cast a ballot.

“It is an unreal compliment for 70 [media members] to think that I will win it all,” Edwards said. “It's just great. What Jimmie has done is spectacular. For the media to say they think that I might be able to stop that is pretty neat.”

The voters believe the rest of the 2009 top 12 will look much like the final 2008 version – with one notable exception.

In their opinion, Mark Martin’s return to full-time competition with Hendrick Motorsports will shake up this season’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The media picked Martin to finish eighth. Clint Bowyer, who must adapt to his new No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet crew in 2009, is the only 2008 Chase participant who the voters feel will fail to make it in 2009.

Here are the media’s final top 12 predictions:
1. Carl Edwards
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Kyle Busch
4. Jeff Gordon
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
6. Greg Biffle
7. Kevin Harvick
8. Mark Martin
9. Jeff Burton
10. Matt Kenseth
11. Denny Hamlin
12. Tony Stewart

In Raybestos Rookie of the Year balloting, voters believe Joey Logano will live up to expectations. Logano, who takes over the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota from Tony Stewart, garnered 52% of the media vote. Scott Speed finished second with 44% and Max Papis finished third with 3%. A total of 185 votes were cast in the preseason Raybestos Rookie of the Year ballot.

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