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Slamming the door on Hendrick Motorsports' 2010

Jay Busbee
From The Marbles

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We're almost done with 2010, so as we close out the year, we look back one last time at the big teams to see where they went right, where they went wrong, and what their prospects might be for 2011. And we start at the top ...

By the numbers: Six wins, 38 top 5s, 69 top 10s, five poles, two Chasers

The recap: A fifth straight championship, in the personage of Jimmie Johnson. Can't beat that, can ya? Well, here's the problem: Of the six wins Hendrick had in 2010, Johnson had, well, six of them. Jeff Gordon had what looked to be a promising year, but faded in the Chase. Mark Martin was all but invisible for most of the season, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. couldn't hide no matter how far back in the pack he ran.

The outlook: Want to know why Hendrick is still the class team of NASCAR? Because Rick Hendrick's not afraid to blow things up even when all is going well. Immediately after the season ended, he swapped everything about the three guys who aren't five-time winners. Early prognosis: Gordon comes out looking the best, Earnhardt is on his final excuse, and Martin is marking time until Kasey Kahne arrives. As for Johnson: Would you bet against him winning No. 6?

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