I read on NASCAR.com that there have not been many different winners in Martinsville recently, with Jimmy Johnson and Denny Hamlin winning the last 9 Sprint Cup events at the location.  (http://www.nascar.com/news/110402/jjohnson-dhamlin-martinsville-dominant/index.html)  Everyone seems to be putting money on Jimmy and Denny to win the race.  I believe differently though.  To me, this is the year of change…at least I keep hoping for the year of change.  This has to be the year that someone removed Jimmy from the top and Martinsville is a good start.  I know that Kyle Busch is hungry for wins and just as hungry for a title, not to mention that he is just a flat out good driver and stands a chance to take it.  I also think that Tony Stewart is on the verge of a breakout season.  I know that Denny made a push last year to take out Jimmy and came just short of doing that.  I wouldn’t mind seeing Denny or Tony win a championship, but Kyle is the one that I think has the raw material to do it.  I have  not held back in any of my writing that I am not a fan of Kyle’s, but I do like Joe Gibbs racing…didn’t like him as a football coach for the Redskins (he won too much, but that is a different article), but I like his racing team.

I am not counting Jeff Gordon out of the race yet either.  He has a lot of experience and, with a little luck, he could very well be a top contender.  I keep seeing glimmers of hope in Jamie McMurray; this week Jamie won the pole position for Martinsville.  Now we have to see if he can keep his luck up throughout the race.  I would really like to see Jamie as a contender in the chase this year.  He continually seems to be just below the line in contention.  I will spare mentioning Jr. since he is starting in the back half of the pack.  I just hope he makes a better showing of the race than his starting position.

In another article (http://www.nascar.com/news/110402/martinsville-tire-issues/index.html), I was reading about the tire wear and the lack of rubber on the track.  Several drivers are voicing concerns over this.  With the new tires, I am not sure how this is going to affect the race, but I thought it was an important article to note prior to the race being run today.

I am going to make a bold prediction today and list the top three as: Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, and Jeff Gordon.  (I just cannot bring myself to put Kyle’s name in there).  What do you think?