NASCAR at Bristol: Jimmie Johnson and 9 Drivers Likely to Be in the Mix

Melissa Bauer-Herzog@mbauerherzogCorrespondent IMarch 10, 2011

NASCAR at Bristol: Jimmie Johnson and 9 Drivers Likely to Be in the Mix

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    BRISTOL, TN - AUGUST 21:  Fireworks explode during pre-race ceremonies prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2010 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
    Geoff Burke/Getty Images

    An off week so close to Bristol makes the excitement for the first short track on the schedule build to an unbearable level for drivers and fans alike.

    Bristol Motor Speedway is known for its action-packed racing and ability to make tempers flare—but which drivers can control their tempers enough to tame the track?

    Let's find out.

Jimmie Johnson

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    BRISTOL, TN - AUGUST 21:  Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, and Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, take the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2010 in
    Pool/Getty Images

    Jimmie is great at any track and he is willing to do almost anything for the win (as could be seen a few years ago against Denny Hamlin).

    Expect him to be motoring for the front and challenging for the lead at the end of the race.

Denny Hamlin

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    BRISTOL, TN - MARCH 23:  Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Chevrolet, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 23, 2007 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Image
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Denny is awesome at short tracks.

    He’s made some of his best runs at them and he can’t be counted out even if it means wrecking people to get to the front.

Carl Edwards

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    LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 06:  (***EDITOR'S NOTE*** COMPOSITE PHOTO ILLUSTRATION CREATED USING MULTIPLE IMAGES) Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Scotts/Kellogg's Ford, celebrates with a flip from his car after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Carl is looking for a chance to win the championship this year and he has already started the season off great.

    I expect that to continue at Bristol.

Tony Stewart

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    LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 06:  Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, walks on the grid prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 6, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by
    Jerry Markland/Getty Images

    It’s Smoke. We know he’s not the greatest at controlling his anger but we also know he’ll play dirty to win—and that’s something you sometimes need to do to win at short tracks.

Kurt Busch

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    LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 06:  Kurt Busch, driver of the #22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge, stands on the grid prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 6, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Ima
    Jerry Markland/Getty Images

    You can’t leave out the points co-leader (sharing the spot with Stewart).

    He’s had a few problems but he’s still been strong this year and he won’t give up the lead easily.

Kyle Busch

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    LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 04:  Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Snickers Peanut Butter Squared Toyota, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 4, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton
    Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

    The new Kyle still has the drive of the old one, just with manners.

    I fully expect him to be up front as long as he doesn’t have a problem, such as his car catching on fire or some other mechanical issue.

    We know he can drive a wrecked car—heck, he’s wrecked his car before on purpose to make it drive better. That’s perfect for the short-track racing.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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    LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 05:  Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard/Amp Energy Chevrolet, stands in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 5, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
    John Harrelson/Getty Images

    I can hear everyone thinking “what?” but Junior has turned his driving around this year.

    He’s hungry for a win. We may even see shades of his father if push comes to shove.

Mark Martin

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    LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 05:  Mark Martin, driver of the #32 Dollar General Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 5, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jerry Ma
    Jerry Markland/Getty Images

    Mark is in the same boat as Junior. He wants a Cup win.

    While he may be the outlier in this slideshow, he’s still capable of doing what needs to be done to get the results.

Kevin Harvick

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    LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 06:  Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Budweiser Chevrolet, stands on the grid prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 6, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty I
    Jerry Markland/Getty Images

    He’s on a downslide compared to last year but he’ll do almost anything to turn it around.

    Happy has turned well…happier in his old age, but he’ll still get dirty if needed.

Juan Montoya

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    LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 05:  Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #42 Clorox Chevrolet, walks in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 5, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by John Har
    John Harrelson/Getty Images

    Juan fits short tracks. I almost believe he was made for them.

    He’s a hard racer and he isn’t afraid to bump and grind to take a spot. That is perfect Bristol material.

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