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Y! Sports picks: Bank of America 500

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Track Facts

Venue: Charlotte Motor Speedway
Race length: 501 miles
No. of laps: 334
Qualifying: Thurs., 7 p.m. ET
Race: Sat., 7:46 p.m. ET (ABC)
Look for someone new: In the last eight races at Charlotte, there have been eight different winners.
Top 5
1. Kasey Kahne
2. Denny Hamlin
3. Kyle Busch
4. Greg Biffle
5. Brad Keselowski
2011: Matt Kenseth
2010: Jamie McMurray
2009: Jimmie Johnson
2008: Jeff Burton
2007: Jeff Gordon
2006: Kasey Kahne
2005: Jimmie Johnson
2004: Jimmie Johnson
2003: Tony Stewart
2002: Jamie McMurray
Nationwide Series
Dollar General 300, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Fri., 7:46 p.m.

NOTE: Jay Hart ended the regular season with 816 points, followed by Jay Busbee with 775 and Nick Bromberg with 755.
Hart:  2188 points (5 wins)
Busbee:  2162 points (3 wins)
Bromberg:  2150 points (1 win)
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Charlotte preview (PDF)

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway for Saturday night's Bank of America 500.

Matt Kenseth is the defending race winner.

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Who Will Win?

Kasey Kahne: Charlotte may be the house that Jimmie built, but he's long since moved out and Kahne has moved in. As long as he keeps the car on the track, he usually finishes somewhere in the top 5. Throw in the fact that he won there in May and, well, he's the pick. – Jay Hart

Jimmie Johnson: Enough screwing around. Jimmie Johnson has been close all Chase, and now it's time for him to drop the hammer. There are only a few legitimate challengers left for the Sprint Cup, and this weekend Johnson will continue to winnow that number with another dominant performance at a track that's historically been one of his best.– Jay Busbee

Denny Hamlin: Hamlin was second at Charlotte in the spring and will be first here in the fall. And while a win will allow him to gain some ground in the points standings, he's going to have Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski hot on his heels the entire race, and will remain in third place in the standings. – Nick Bromberg

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Top Storyline

What's going to be our cutoff point for contenders and pretenders? Leaving Charlotte after last year, Tony Stewart was 24 points behind – basically half a race. Thirty seems like a reasonable cutoff point this year, but the problem is that it could leave us only three drivers to fight it out for the title. After Charlotte last year, the top seven drivers were separated by 27 points. – Nick Bromberg

The margin now between finishing first and finishing 20th is as simple as a dropped lug nut. It's been thus for years now, of course, but here is where we see the devilish details come into play. A slow pit stop, a fuel tank not quite filled, a tony spotter's misjudgment – all these can have catastrophic consequences for an entire season. Johnson's crew has a way of spitting the bit in crucial moments; Keselowski's is untested. Which will be the first to crack? – Jay Busbee

Much of the talk will be about a guy who isn't in the race – Dale Earnhardt Jr. The fact that he suffered a concussion is a big deal; the fact that he drove his car around the track, with Jimmie Johnson hanging out of the window no less, is also a big deal. Everyone should pay attention to how NASCAR responds. – Jay Hart

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"When something happens to your body, I want to live a healthy life so I'm going to make sure that I'm doing the right thing, and that's all I felt like I was doing here. I think if I give myself time to get healed up, I can race for as long as I want to race, and that's my objective." – Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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