Dustin Off the Next Race: Air Guard 400 at Richmond International Raceway

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Dustin Off the Next Race: Air Guard 400 at Richmond International Raceway
Jerry Markland/Getty Images

And then there was one. This weekend settles the final two spots heading into the 2010 Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Some drivers appear to be locked in, while others are going to fight tooth and nail just to get close. The battles in the points are going to come down to the final lap, and nothing is certain until the checkered flag flies.

But, that's not all that is going on leading into Saturday night's race. This past Sunday, Tony Stewart ended his winless streak by taking the checkered flag in Atlanta. He heads into Richmond with a lot of momentum for he and his No. 14 team.

Meanwhile, guys you would expect to run well had struggles at some point. Denny Hamlin dominated the first part of the race, but an engine failure left him with a 43rd-place finish. At the same time, points leader Kevin Harvick was charging through the field, but a blown tire late in the race caused a lot of damage to his No. 29 car.

He was relegated to a 33rd-place run.

If either of these drivers want a chance to get momentum heading into the Chase, they need solid runs in order to keep their hopes alive.

The big thing every driver in the Chase is hoping for is that the struggles Jimmie Johnson has experienced this year are real. These last 10 races, Johnson and the entire No. 48 team usually turn up the heat, but this year, they enter the Chase way behind in momentum.

Johnson would start the Chase in second at this point, but he has not been running well. He needs a good run at Richmond to start these last 10 races on a high note.

So many stories, so many drivers. What can happen after 400 laps at RIR?

Anyone can win this race, so why waste any time and let me dust off...wait, no let us dust off the Air Guard 400 at Richmond.

Yes, this is a special edition of the "Dustin Off" article as fellow writer Kara Martin and I are both going to be at the track for Saturday's action. So, it is only fitting that she and I go head to head in deciding who are the drivers to watch out for, and some who could be lurking in the background.

Let the debate begin.

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