Driver Handicaps: Charlotte

Kasey Kahne and Denny Hamlin

Kasey Kahne won the Charlotte event in May and Denny Hamlin finished second. (Photo: Getty Images)

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MotorRacingNetwork.com’s Pete Pistone takes a look at some of the field for Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:

Who's HOT at Charlotte

Kyle Busch: The Joe Gibbs Racing driver comes to Charlotte off a third-place finish in Talladega. Busch has the best average finish of any driver over the last 10 CMS races at 6.6.

Kasey Kahne: The Coca-Cola 600 winner back in May, Kahne has been a perennial favorite at Charlotte during his Sprint Cup career and has a 9.8 average finish dating back to 2007.

Denny Hamlin: Has registered four straight top-10 finishes at Charlotte including a second-place performance behind Kahne in the Coca-Cola 600.

Brad Keselowski: Still on top the Chase standings heading to the halfway point on the schedule. Keselowski only has a 16.5 average Charlotte finish but did come home fifth back in May.

Kevin Harvick: Charlotte has been good for the Richard Childress Racing driver in recent outings with four straight top-10 finishes including a win back last season.

Who’s NOT

Jimmie Johnson: The track Johnson formerly called “his house” hasn’t been very welcoming in recent years. Johnson has a 17.5 average finish in his last 10 Charlotte starts and only two top five’s dating back to 2007.

Sam Hornish Jr.: Not much for the Penske Racing driver to brag about with a best performance of 13th and an average finish of 24.7.

Juan Pablo Montoya: The Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing driver is going to have to change a downward Charlotte trend that has added up to a 23.9 average finish over Montoya’s last 10 outings.

Martin Truex Jr.: His championship chances have all but evaporated and the Michael Waltrip Racing driver has one top-10 in his last 10 Charlotte starts.

Paul Menard: Had a burst of Charlotte success with Richard Petty Motorsports but has a single top-10 finish since 2007.

Keep an Eye On at Charlotte

Regan Smith:
Tabbed by Hendrick Motorsports to pinch-hit for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who will sit out at least two weeks after suffering a concussion in last week’s Talladega crash. Smith was supposed to start in the Phoenix Racing No. 51 Chevrolet.

AJ Allmendinger: Returns to NASCAR after his substance abuse policy suspension from earlier in the year. The former Penske Racing driver slides into the Phoenix Racing seat vacated by Smith.

Kurt Busch: Begins the next phase of his career with Furniture Row Racing. Busch started the year with James Finch and Phoenix Racing and will get a jump-start on 2013 in the No. 78 car.

Jamie McMurray: Has won the October Charlotte race twice in his career, the first coming in 2002 as a fill-in for the injured Sterling Marlin and again for Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing in 2010.

Carl Edwards: His disappointing season could end on a positive note with a win in Charlotte, where he has scored two straight top-10 finishes.

MotorRacingNetwork.com Staff Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Jeff Gordon

Pete Pistone: Kasey Kahne

John Singler: Jimmie Johnson

Ricky Hamber: Jamie McMurray

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