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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not

Who’s Hot / Not in NASCAR: New Hampshire-Off Week Edition

Who’s Hot / Not in NASCAR: New Hampshire-Off Week Edition

So, once again the Sprint Cup Series race came down to fuel mileage, Kyle Busch won the Nationwide Series race, and the Truck Series race was the best of the weekend? Yep. Seems like just another day at the office for NASCAR Nation. However, Busch would be too obvious of a choice for a “hot” driver, as would his fellow NASCAR winners this weekend, Ryan Newman and Matt Crafton. Congratulations to all three of them, but we’re going to take a look at some of the less obvious choices in this edition of Who's Hot/Who's Not. Read More »

Who’s Hot / Not in NASCAR: Kentucky-New Hampshire-Greg Biffle Edition

Who’s Hot / Not in NASCAR: Kentucky-New Hampshire-Greg Biffle Edition

What did we learn from this weekend’s events from Kentucky Speedway? Well, first of all, if you are planning on adding over 40,000 seats to your facility, you might want to add more staff, parking spaces, supplies, etc. Somehow this seemingly obvious bit of information was lost on the higher-ups of Kentucky Speedway, who saw thousands of race fans arrive late because of parking or were turned away entirely because there was simply no more room. Not to mention reports of the track running out of food and drinks in certain concession stands _before the green flag even flew!_ To say the situation was a “clustermug” (for lack of a better word) is an understatement. However, amidst all of the negativity that was flying around Kentucky on Saturday night, a race was still being run and points were still being earned. Whether or not you were awake for any of it, a few more dominoes fell at that 1.5-mile oval and we’re here to take a look at the drivers either on hot streaks or those who need a little help in their numbers column. Read More »

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In NASCAR: Daytona-Kentucky Edition

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In NASCAR: Daytona-Kentucky Edition

_Editor's Note: Summer Dreyer is on vacation this week. She'll be back next Tuesday._ The restrictor plate roulette wheel turned tragic Saturday for some of NASCAR's most successful superstars at Daytona. Between Dale Earnhardt, Jr. complaining over the sport's "pairs dancing" draft strategy, Carl Edwards poisoned by carbon monoxide and Ryan Newman involved in seemingly his 1,000th "Big One" accident, it was hard to find _anyone_ leaving the racetrack happy. But in any type of crapshoot race, someone has to come out on top and the David Ragan-Matt Kenseth duo led a list of drivers who have not only survived, but thrived as the summer Chase race starts heating up. Here's a look at some drivers to watch, both for the right _and_ wrong reasons as the Who's Hot / Who's Not In NASCAR crowd comes barreling into Kentucky this week... Read More »

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 »