"It's nice to get a strong start," Busch said. "You'd rather finish first both weeks than 43rd and get yourself up there and get a strong foundation built to where you can continue on down the road and maybe not have so much pressure on yourself to have to perform to catch up."
Johnson has improved significantly since the start of the Chase. He had finished 28th or worse in the last four races of the regular season -- Michigan, Bristol, Atlanta and Richmond. Johnson held a comfortable 75-point lead prior to Michigan. He was one point behind Edwards after Richmond. The Hendrick Motorsports driver entered the Chase as the second seed with 2,012 points.
"To open with (two top-five finishes) is great," Johnson said. "We're in a good spot. We haven't given up too many points, and we're going to one of my best racetracks this week in Dover."
Johnson has seven wins at Dover, which is more than any other active driver.
While Kenseth, Busch and Johnson are currently in the top three in Chase points, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joey Logano and Kasey Kahne have a lot of catching up to do.
Earnhardt finished 35th at Chicagoland after his engine expired late in the event. At New Hampshire, he was forced to pit for a second time during an early race caution due to a loose lug nut, but he rebounded nicely for a sixth-place run. Earnhardt is now 62 points behind. He has not won since June 2012 at Michigan (47 races ago).
"Glad we were able to get a decent finish out of it," Earnhardt said. "Just want to win one. I'm trying hard."
Logano, who's in the Chase for the first time, also had trouble with his motor at Chicagoland, as he finished 37th. His 14th-place run this past Sunday has him sitting 69 points behind Kenseth.
Kasey Kahne took the biggest hit in the Chase standings at New Hampshire. He finished 37th due to an accident that occurred in the late stages. He is now last in points (-71).