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The four-time champ has morphed into this year's version of Jeff Burton, a driver who's almost never a threat to take the win but nevertheless gets up for a solid points finish at the end. His 2009 racing form—he would begin races strongly, encounter midrace problems and then recover in time to claim another top 10—isn't a winning one for the Chase.
6. Denny Hamlin
Regular-season finish 4th
Wins 2 / Top 5s 9 / Top 10s 14
Best at Martinsville
Worst at Kansas
Hamlin got his second win of the year last Saturday in Richmond (his first multiple-victory season since he won twice in 2006 on the way to Rookie of the Year honors). That could signal a timely change of gears: Hamlin excels at racing for points—as shown by his overall fourth place finish in '08—but to contend for the Cup he'll need to gamble for some wins.
7. Kurt Busch
Regular-season finish 5th
Wins 1 / Top 5s 7 / Top 10s 14