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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not

Who’s Hot / Not in NASCAR: Sonoma-Daytona Edition

Who’s Hot / Not in NASCAR: Sonoma-Daytona Edition

So after much deliberation and watching last weekend’s NASCAR races I have come to a stunning conclusion: the sport needs more road course events. I don’t know when road courses turned into the new short track, but following the Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series races at Road America and Infineon Raceway, respectively, more drivers were feuding following a single weekend than the entire rest of 2011 combined. Let’s recap. Following Road America, everyone and their mother was angry with Jacques Villeneuve, including these rather colorful tweets from Kevin Harvick: “That is why @27villeneuve should just quit driving NASCAR no sense..i hope @maxpapis punches his dumbass in the mouth..” and “No respect here in NASCAR for @27villeneuve same reason they kicked his dumbass out of f1..” Read More »

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in NASCAR: Michigan-Sonoma Edition

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in NASCAR: Michigan-Sonoma Edition

So we finally saw a finish that was not determined by fuel mileage, though it would have been had Dale Earnhardt, Jr. not smacked the wall with less than 10 laps to go. My question is, why was the caution called for Earnhardt’s brush with the wall when Kevin Harvick had done the same thing just a few laps earlier and the race stayed green? These inconsistent calls have been getting under the skin of fans for a while now, and specifically when it comes to Earnhardt. Now, I’m no conspiracy theorist, but even I have begun paying attention to what generates a call to the flagman to wave the yellow and what doesn’t. The bottom line seems to come down to the fact that the final call is NASCAR’s, and if they don’t see a need for a yellow, they won’t throw it. I’d just love to know what exactly that “need” is. Read More »

Who’s Hot/Not in NASCAR: Pocono-Michigan Edition

Who’s Hot/Not in NASCAR: Pocono-Michigan Edition

If controversy and drama are the keys to survival, NASCAR’s battery would be fully-charged. Even over the weekend, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series had a controversial finish of its own when NASCAR took the victory away from Johnny Sauter for changing lanes before the start/finish line on the final restart, awarding the win to Ron Hornaday, Jr. Then, following the Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono, it was announced that Kyle Busch’s No. 18 Toyota had failed inspection, with penalties announced almost immediately on Monday morning. And if controversy and drama are indeed the keys to survival, Busch will be around for a long time. Read More »

Who’s Hot / Not in NASCAR: Kansas-Pocono Edition

If I hear one more person say fuel mileage races aren’t “real racing” (as opposed to what, exactly?!), I’m going to blow my stack. Fuel mileage races are strategy races, which have been around for, ya know, _ever_! This year, 2011 has had an excess of fuel mileage races, which has given us some unexpected winners such as Regan Smith, Brad Keselowski, and Justin Allgaier. Or would you rather see the “regulars” in Victory Lane? You know, the drivers everyone starts whining about because they “win too much.” Wait! I know! Maybe those saying fuel mileage races aren’t “real” races would rather see one driver dominate an entire race and win by a 2-3 second margin, which would then provide further ammo for the “NASCAR is ruining their own sport!” crowd. Read More »

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in NASCAR: Charlotte-Kansas Edition

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in NASCAR: Charlotte-Kansas Edition

Sunday’s final results for the Coca-Cola 600 were so ass-backwards that I found it difficult putting this column together and deciding who was “hot or not.” None of the top 5 finishing drivers were on “hot” streaks, seeing as how four of the five posted their best result of the season and even race winner Kevin Harvick had suffered some inconsistency the last few weeks. Meanwhile, most of the major players in the event finished outside of the top 10 due to some gutsy yet unsuccessful fuel mileage gambles. Regardless, a few drivers did stand out regarding their recent numbers, even with the unpredictable finish to the 600. Speaking of which, what a great day for racing! Between the last lap screw-up by rookie J.R. Hildebrand in the Indianapolis 500 to the final restart chaos created by the aforementioned fuel mileage race in the 600, viewers were left breathless and on the edge of their seats as both races came to a close on what is one of the most exciting days in racing. Assuming that some casual or non-racing fans were tuning in to see what all the hype was about, this may have been a huge boost for American motorsports. Read More »

Who’s Hot / Not in NASCAR: All-Star Race / Charlotte Edition

Who’s Hot / Not in NASCAR: All-Star Race / Charlotte Edition

In honor of Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s win last weekend in Iowa—and in protest of a rather dull All-Star Race—I’ve decided to focus on the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series drivers in this week’s Hot/Not. Underdogs are always a better story anyway, right? So let’s take a look at the drivers making some noise in the lower tier series, those who are hiding in the shadows, and those who just might need to disappear. Read More »

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in NASCAR: Dover – Charlotte Edition

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in NASCAR: Dover – Charlotte Edition

Despite the multitude of events that happened over the weekend — from the huge crash at the end of the Nationwide Series race to Matt Kenseth’s tire strategy call to win his second race of 2011 — the one thing everyone is talking about most is NASCAR on FOX’s split-screen commercials towards the end of Sunday’s FedEx 400. It was definitely an interesting moment, but will it have any effect on the outcome of this season? Not a chance. Amazing how one off-track incident, one that may not even be repeated overshadowed everything else... At least this column will stay focused on what makes you tune in every weekend to begin with: the racing. After the latest NASCAR tripleheader, plenty of drivers had some strong (or sour) runs that could define the rest of their Spring, establishing momentum or seeing it all fizzle out in the face of the Monster Mile. So let’s take a look at which ones made their mark in the latest edition of Who's Hot / Who's Not: Read More »

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in NASCAR: Darlington-Dover Edition

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in NASCAR: Darlington-Dover Edition

It’s not every weekend you see an underdog head to Victory Lane — unless it’s 2011. While this season's NASCAR Nationwide Series continues to be the same ol’ same ol’, filled with Sprint Cup drivers dominating the headlines (and Darlington was no different), the Cup Series itself has seen winless streaks broken and underdogs finding their moment in the spotlight. Flaring tempers are also nothing new this year, though it’s taken a lot longer for the “Boys, have at it” mantra that began last season to rile drivers up. Friday night, we finally saw the fire lit as Nationwide Series championship contender Aric Almirola was none too happy with Cup regulars Clint Bowyer and Denny Hamlin, steaming after an incident involving the three of them ruined Almirola’s night. Read More »

Who’s Hot / Not in NASCAR: Richmond-Darlington Edition

Hot tempers, beating and banging, and language that could make a sailor blush … and that was just Kurt Busch! While Busch was using vulgar analogies to describe his racecar and Martin Truex Jr. was firing his pit crew, Kyle Busch was up front dominating and clinching the victory for the third straight spring race at Richmond International Raceway. Meanwhile, Ryan Newman was threatening Juan Pablo Montoya within an inch of … the NASCAR hauler, and Jeff Gordon was again reminding NASCAR which tracks need to install S.A.F.E.R barriers. Sounds like just another short track race to me. Read More »

Who’s Hot / Not in NASCAR: Talladega-Nashville Edition

Who’s Hot / Not in NASCAR: Talladega-Nashville Edition

So the Cup guys were off last weekend, which means significantly fewer Sprint Cup Series regulars appeared in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series races in Nashville, right? WRONG! Please. You didn’t really think the Cup guys would skip out on a weekend of racing and leave NASCAR fans and writers alike without something to bitch about, did you? Come on! The Sprint Cup regulars did dominate the weekend, with Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards winning the Truck and Nationwide Series races, respectively. Admittedly, it was sort of disappointing since I (incorrectly) assumed at least a few of them would take the weekend off. Actually, it seemed like there were more than ever! Read More »