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The Free Pass writes:
"Analyzing the Sprint Cup Fields"
Posted by SoxFan24 on January 26, 2010
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As the Sprint Cup Season draws near, Sprint Cup teams start to form and teams are excited at the thought of a new season. This time of the year is the only time of the year as most Cup teams have a legitimate shot at race wins and a Sprint Cup. The reality is there are about 15-18 teams that have a shot only because they either have the right people in place, a quality driver and great equipment. Then there are about a half of dozen teams that could contend for a couple of race wins but a chase spot may be a little too much to ask for. For those teams that would be considered a success. Then there are about another half a dozen teams that you know will compete the whole schedule but for whatever reason the odds of them winning a race aren't that good. That leaves the rest of the field. Those teams will either just to fight to remain in the top 35 in owner points, make races and struggle to decide whether to run the whole race or just start and park and get a paycheck to buy you some tires for the next week. So based on the 2009 season and the changes made for 2010 here is my analysis for the Sprint Cup fields that will compete in 2010

The first 18 teams will be split up in two categories. The first 9 will definitely make the chase barring some type of collapse. The second 9 will compete for wins and chase spots. The first 9 are the players, the second 9 will be contenders

PLAYERS
Jimmie Johnson
Tony Stewart
Mark Martin
Jeff Gordon
Carl Edwards
Kyle Busch
Kurt Busch
Denny Hamlin
Matt Kenseth

CONTENDERS
Juan Pablo Montoya
Greg Biffle
Kasey Kahne
Ryan Newman
Brian Vickers
Kevin Harvick
Clint Bowyer
Joey Logano
Dale Earnhardt Jr (I can't see him struggle again in that equipment)

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
Jeff Burton
Marcos Ambrose
David Reutiamann
Martin Truex Jr
AJ Allmendinger
Jamie McMurray

???????
Brad Keselowski
Elliott Sadler
Sam Hornish Jr.
David Ragan
Paul Menard
Scott Speed

THE REST OF THE PACK
Regan Smith
Robby Gordon
Bobby Labonte (Equipment)
Casey Mears (Equipment)
Travis Kvapil
Kevin Conway
David Gilliland
Aric Almirola
Terry Cook
Erik Darnell
Mike Bliss
Dave Blaney
Joe Nemechek

PART TIMERS
Michael Waltrip
Robert Richardson Jr
Reed Sorenson
Max Papis
Bill Elliott

These drivers are either running the full schedule, rumored to run the whole schedule or will run the whole schedule barring sponsorship


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