NASCAR Sprint Cup at Richmond: Kyle Busch and 10 Drivers Likely to Be in the Mix

Melissa Bauer-Herzog@mbauerherzogCorrespondent IApril 28, 2011

NASCAR Sprint Cup at Richmond: Kyle Busch and 10 Drivers Likely to Be in the Mix

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    RICHMOND, VA - SEPTEMBER 11:  Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #33Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet, lead the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Air Guard 400 at Richmond International Raceway o
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Richmond International Raceway, a track with tons of fun racing that tests drivers skills while also giving them a fun return race after Easter weekend.

    This is the first of two races at the track this year and guarantees an interesting and entertaining night of racing.

    Come with me as I make my picks for this weekend's Cup race.

Kyle Busch

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    RICHMOND, VA - MAY 01:  Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Toyota, celebrates with the trophy in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Heath Calhoun 400 at Richmond International Raceway on May 1, 2010, 2010 in
    Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images

    Little Busch is pretty awesome at this track with a win and a second last year and a win in May of 2009.

    He's on fire in the Nationwide series this year so expect him to bring the momentum over to the Cup series this weekend.

Denny Hamlin

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    RICHMOND, VA - SEPTEMBER 11:  Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Air Guard 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 11, 2010 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo b
    Christa Thomas/Getty Images

    Hamlin has really been the only one to keep up with Kyle at this track the last few years with a win last year and a win in 2009, he also finished 11th in May last year.

    This is his home track and he loves to show up for his fans here.

    I expect him to be challenging Kyle at the end if he can catch the horse shoe that seems to have fallen out of Jimmie.

Jimmie Johnson

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    RICHMOND, VA - SEPTEMBER 07:  Jimmie Johnson driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 7, 2008 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images
    Jerry Markland/Getty Images

    The last person to win before Little Busch and Hamlin took over this track was Johnson.

    In fact, he won three out of four of the races here in '07 and '08.

    Last May he finished 10th here and third in September. Definitely can't leave him off this list.

Joey Logano

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    TALLADEGA, AL - APRIL 17:  Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Pretzel Toyota, talks with Joey Logano, driver of the #20 The Home Depot Toyota, on the grid prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 17, 2011 in T
    Jason Smith/Getty Images

    Logano actually did pretty good here last year with a third in September and a 16th in May.

    He's not really a huge name, but I think the third year driver can impress some people Saturday night.

Kevin Harvick

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    TALLADEGA, AL - APRIL 16:  Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Armour Vienna Sausage Chevrolet, stands on the grid prior to the start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 16, 2011 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo by Ch
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Back to back wins this year, a ninth in September, and a third in May here last year plus a win in 2006 at this track.

    Quite an impressive resume and one that gets him on my list.

Marcos Ambrose

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    TALLADEGA, AL - APRIL 16:  Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Dewalt Ford, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 16, 2011 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Ima
    Jason Smith/Getty Images

    You don't often see Ambrose on the lists in NASCAR unless it's a road race but he finished fifth and ninth here last year so I think he deserves a little respect.

    He only has two top 10s this season but I think he can add to that number under the lights.

Clint Bowyer

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    RICHMOND, VA - MAY 03:  Clint Bowyer, driver of the #07 BB&T Chevrolet, celebrates winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Dan Lowry 400 in victory lane at Richmond International Raceway on May 3, 2008 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo
    Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images

    Bowyer won the Spring 2008 race here and finished sixth and 12th here last year.

    He's sitting top 10 in points right now with four top 10s and should do pretty good here this weekend.

    I'm expecting he'll finish in the top five.

Tony Stewart

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    TALLADEGA, AL - APRIL 16:  Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, climbs out of his car after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 16, 2011 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo by K
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Smoke didn't do too great here last year with a 16th and 23rd but he is a three-time winner at this track (granted his last win came in 2002).

    He's sitting outside the Chase right now and that usually makes  Smoke mad so I expect to see him do something here this weekend.

Jeff Gordon

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    TALLADEGA, AL - APRIL 17:  Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger/AARP Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 17, 2011 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images f
    Jerry Markland/Getty Images

    Gordon hasn't won here since 2000 but does have two wins at this track and finished 12th and second last year here.

    He has won win this season and three top 10s so I think he deserves this spot.

Juan Montoya

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    TALLADEGA, AL - APRIL 15:  Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, stands in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 15, 2011 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Co
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Montoya loves these small tracks as is evident by his results at them.

    He doesn't have a win here but he had two top sevens last year with a sixth in May and seventh in September.

    He also has four top 10s this year and is pretty consistent when he gets a chance to be (barring accidents).

    We may not see him pull off a win but look for a solid top 10 from the Target car.

Carl Edwards

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    TALLADEGA, AL - APRIL 17:  Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, stands on the grid prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 17, 2011 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Im
    Jerry Markland/Getty Images

    Surprisingly (to me) Edwards has never won at this track even though he won the Pole in September (won by Hamlin) and finished 10th in that race.

    He also finished fifth in May and leads the points with six top 10s out of eight races and has one win this season as well.

    On paper he looks pretty good in this race but I'm wondering if the curse of no wins here will follow him or if he can use his momentum this season to win this race.

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