Evanovich Laps Chase Tracker Field

It usually doesn't take this long for Janet Evanovich to reach No. 1.

The best-selling author captured the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Celebrity Chase Tracker title after finishing a disappointing third in last year's competition. Evanovich, author of 12 New York Times best sellers, earned 40 points after Sunday's season finale to lock up the championship by a record margin. World renowned chef Mario Batali finished second, but was 57 points behind Evanovich.

"NASCAR is my favorite sport and 'one' is my favorite number," Evanovich said of finishing first.

Evanovich considers Jimmie Johnson one of her favorite drivers (along with Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and counted on him for most of her points. She racked up 62 of her 167 points by predicting Johnson to lead the standings from Week 3 to Week 10 of the Chase and another 10 points for predicting Johnson's Martinsville and Phoenix victories.

Evanovich was one of six participants to predict Johnson would three-peat. Six contestants predicted Kyle Busch and four chose Carl Edwards as the 2008 champion.

Seventeen celebrities and sports personalities participated in the third NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase Tracker. Atlanta Braves pitcher Mike Hampton won the challenge each of the last two years. He defeated former Green Bay Packer Aaron Taylor by two points in 2006 and recording artist Big Boi by nine points last year.

Each contestant filled out the Chase Tracker grid with their Chase predictions prior to the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Each grid contains the predicted order of the Chase drivers after each race as well as a predicted race winner. Points were awarded for each correct pick following each event. One point was awarded for each correct pick in week one, two for each correct pick in week two and so on through the final race on Nov. 16. Each correct pick of the race winner earned the contestant five bonus points. Correctly predicting the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion was worth 20 points.

The following celebrities are participating in this year's challenge.

2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Celebrity Chase Tracker Participants

Mario Batali (World-Renowned Chef) - 2005 James Beard Foundation Outstanding Chef of the Year

Tobin Bell (Actor) - played main character 'Jigsaw Killer' in Saw franchise

Jeff Carter (Philadelphia Flyers Center) - 11th overall pick in 2003 NHL draft; led Canada with 10 goals to win 2005 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships

Dallas Clark (Indianapolis Colts Tight End) - Had 4 catches during 2006 Super Bowl win; tied Colts TE record with 11 TD's in 2007

Chris Cooley (Washington Redskins Tight End) - 2-time Pro Bowler; holds Redskins record for catches in a season by a TE

Gavin DeGraw (J Records Recording Artist) - Nominated for Billboard Music Awards Top Soundtrack Single of the Year (I Don't Want To Be)

DirtyHeads (EMG Recording Artists) - First single Stand Tall was featured in 2007 Sony's Pictures film Surf's Up

Janet Evanovich (Best-Selling Author) - 12 novels have been No. 1 on the New York Times Best Seller list

Derek Fisher (Los Angeles Lakers Guard) - 3-time NBA champion; has started 103 NBA playoff games

Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona Cardinals Wide Receiver) - 2-time NFL Pro Bowler; 2003 Walter Camp Player of the Year (best player in college football)

Steve Johnson (NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Racer) - 2-time NHRA U.S. Nationals winner

Patricia Kara (Model, Actress, TV Personality) - Currently model for case #9 on Deal or No Deal

Brandon Kinney (Country Music Recording Artist) - accomplished song writer has had songs recorded by Willie Nelson, Randy Travis and Lonestar

Khloe Kardashian - Co-star of reality show Keeping Up With The Kardashians on E!

Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers Goalie) - Has been finalist for Vezina Trophy (top NHL goalie) three straight years; led Sweden to gold medal in 2006 Olympics

Scot McCloughan (San Francisco 49ers General Manager) - was scout for three Super Bowl teams, including Green Bay championship team in 1996

Mickey Rivers (Former New York Yankees Centerfielder) - 2-time World Series champion, 1976 All-Star

Final Results
1 Janet Evanovich 167
2 Mario Batali 110
3 Dallas Clark 108
4 Khloe Kardashian 99
5 DirtyHeads 95
6 Steve Johnson 92
7 Mickey Rivers 89
8 Chris Cooley 88
9 Brandon Kinney 81
10 Patricia Kara 76
11 Jeff Carter 67
12 Gavin DeGraw 65
13 Derek Fisher 62
13 Tobin Bell 62
15 Larry Fitzgerald 61
16 Scot McCloughan 52
17 Henrik Lundqvist 39

-credit: nascar