Five drivers in search of redemption

BY foxsports • July 10, 2009

The 2009 Sprint Cup season has reached halftime, but there's still plenty of time for struggling drivers to make a run at redemption.

For many of these racers, an intermediate track such as Chicagoland Speedway sets the perfect stage to showcase their talent. However, others — similar to the Windy City's beloved Cubs — will be repeating the mantra "wait until next year."

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Chicagoland is the fourth 1.5-miler on the schedule, so most teams have a well- established game plan for the track. But unlike some tracks, Goodyear has not changed the tire combination for Chicagoland from last year. Tire specialists also worked with this tire in 2008 at Homestead and both Texas races (the left-side Texas tire changed in 2009). So there is familiarity for teams, which can be good for those struggling to find their way this season.

Here are five drivers who could desperately use a bump at Chicagoland.

Kevin Harvick

Harvick kicked off the season with a victory in the exhibition Budweiser Shootout. No, it was not a point race but any win generally portends success. Harvick backed up that performance by finishing second in the Daytona 500 but hasn't had a top-five since finishing fourth at Atlanta in March. Harvick is 26th in the point standings — six positions lower than the team was before a crew chief swap following the Talladega race in April. Although the No. 29 team has competed in the Chase the last four years, that won't be the case in 2009.

Chicagoland tidbit — Harvick won the first two races at this track in 2001-02 and has scored two Nationwide Series victories as well. He leads the tour with an average finish of 7.4 in the 400 and has led 282 laps. Happy has five top-five and six top-10 finishes. Harvick will unveil a new car this weekend — Chassis No. 281.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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