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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: Lucky 7 Edition (Chicagoland, Too)

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: Lucky 7 Edition (Chicagoland, Too)

Before we begin this Hot/Not article, let’s bring you a word from our sponsor: The Number Seven. Seven races remain until the Chase, and seven drivers between 10th and 16th in the standings remain within 161 points of each other. More than likely, that means the final spots will be settled amongst these men: Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Mark Martin, David Reutimann, and Ryan Newman. That is, of course, unless Matt Kenseth goes a seventh straight week without a top-10 finish at Indy, making him vulnerable, too. But what’s to make of this playoff field filled with seven drivers who haven’t won a race yet? Read More »

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: Post-Daytona Edition

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: Post-Daytona Edition

Sometimes when stressed, the best medicine can be simply taking a few days to clear your head. That’s where I was at this past weekend, taking in the rays of a great beach vacation that has me rested and ready to rumble for the second half of the NASCAR season. If only Mr. A.J. Allmendinger could be so lucky, nearly in need of another career choice after jawing with the equivalent of NASCAR God. You can make fun of the Frances, take a swipe at the Earnhardts, but messing with The King? It’s a no-win situation that puts you in position to take a permanent vacation of your own. It was the lowlight of a nasty Daytona that had the NASCAR field turning into a bad _Jerry Springer_ episode for the second time in three weeks. Read More »

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: Daytona Edition

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: Daytona Edition

Don’t you just love summer vacations? For me, the countdown is on; I’m just 48 hours from sitting on a beach, turning off the cell phone, and forgetting about the world for a few. Sure, I’m sad to miss the 400-mile melee at Daytona Beach – my favorite track to visit on the circuit - but it’ll be nice to watch it on a beach of my own, for pleasure without having to take notes every two minutes. At least once a year, I think everyone needs a little time away to fall in love with what you do all over again. If only struggling athletes could stop their schedules and insert that same luxury. At this point in our season, there are plenty of NASCAR drivers looking for a little vacation of their own, in various states of disrepair during seasons that have spiraled out of control. Read More »

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: Infineon Edition

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: Infineon Edition

Is Infineon Raceway NASCAR’s new Bristol? It seems like an outrageous comparison on paper, a 1.99-mile road course typically more lamb than lion. But try telling that to a handful of crews on Monday, busy working overtime while drowning in a sea of broken pieces and red ink. Not only was just about every car torn up like they’d been running at a half-mile, but we’ve got more drivers stomping mad in one weekend than we’ve seen in some of the past few seasons in NASCAR _combined._ All we’re missing is Scott Speed having a public tiff with Old Kyle Busch on Twitter, and I think the entire Sprint Cup garage might be ready to film a _Real Housewives_ - type season of their own. Read More »

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: Michigan Edition

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: Michigan Edition

Pssst… pay attention! Don’t make me blow a vuvuzela in your ear. I know you’re still fast asleep, stuck on the couch after that Michigan snoozer. But guess what? Every race pays the same amount of points, no matter how exciting or boring it is. Plenty of teams ran the emotional gambit of happiness and hell during your nap, working their way up the typical list of Hot / Not categories. It's something we have to sit here and analyze just as much as the three-wide, heart-fluttering Truck Series finish at Michigan the day before. So stop groaning, saddle up, and look back before the official summer stretch begins in the beauty of wine country. Just don’t tell your boss you’re reading; he’s still looking for you after you didn’t show up for work today… Read More »

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: Post-Pocono Feud Edition

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: Post-Pocono Feud Edition

Much has been written about Denny Hamlin’s late-race charge to the front, but Pocono’s action-packed ending only had room for so many to make a comeback. For every Hamlin and Kyle Busch, there were two Kasey Kahnes who saw a top-5 finish blow up in the form of wrong cautions at the wrong time, not enough Sunoco, and an untimely trip through the air on the final lap. OK, so maybe that last one just happened to Kahne; but for several others, that vicious multi-car wreck left the Sprint Cup garage looking more like your local junkyard after the race. Whose season is heading towards the trash heap along with it? Let’s put on our own Who’s Hot / Who’s Not firesuit, not DeLana’s, and sort through the wreckage to find the diamonds and dust in the rough. Read More »

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: Coca-Cola 600 Edition

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: Coca-Cola 600 Edition

The Sunday of Memorial Day weekend is typically the busiest day of the year for auto racing in America. Memorial Day itself? It’s a time to relax and procrastinate (as well as honor our troops), which is why this column is getting penned while sitting on a couch shortly after midnight. But I’m not the only one needing a break; after a 600-mile NASCAR marathon, several superstars found themselves chewed up and spit out by the “Beast of the Southeast.” From Juan Pablo Montoya to Jimmie Johnson, no one was immune to the trickiness of the 1.5-mile oval. The track combined with a slippery spoiler and a heat wave that made a Mark Martin workout seem tame, eating up contenders the way Dover’s Monster Mile failed to do two weeks prior. Read More »

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In The Racing World: Charlotte / Indy Edition

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In The Racing World: Charlotte / Indy Edition

Technically, the NASCAR Sprint Cup circus didn’t take last week off. But after a 100-lap, four-segment exhibition where only the last 15 minutes seemed worth watching, it’s hard to add to those regular season trends which typically define this Hot / Not column. So just like everyone else is about to do this Memorial Day Weekend, let’s take a break and celebrate the start of BBQ season by going on vacation. Between Nationwide, Trucks, and IndyCar, there’s plenty of places looking for some summer lovin’, and we’ll do our best here on Who’s Hot / Who’s Not. Read More »

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: Dover Edition

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: Dover Edition

Typically, the Monster Mile is notorious for chewing up seasons and spitting them out into the crushing cement of its outside wall. But on a day marked by empty seats and single-file competition, the giant of one-mile ovals chose to go all 21st century on us instead, using the laser gun accuracy of pit road timing loops to destroy its closest competition. The biggest victim was its two-time defending winner, as Jimmie Johnson proved in defeat that sometimes, even a robot can malfunction in carrying a little too much speed out of the pits. The day’s half-human, half-hate victor, Kyle Busch used the win to throw another punch into Johnson’s seemingly infallible record. But as the Joe Gibbs Racing teams heat up, is the heart of Hendrick Motorsports really cooling off? We’ll take a brief look, then remind you there are other teams competing on the grid each weekend in the latest edition of Who’s Hot / Who’s Not. Read More »

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: Darlington Edition

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: Darlington Edition

_As the month of May pushes racing sharply into focus, who’s on top of the Sprint Cup world is more blurry than ever. You’ve got a point leader, Kevin Harvick, that’s leading by 110 but is driving for a team that has neither a 2011 sponsor nor a contract ready for him to sign. There’s the curious case of Jimmie Johnson, whose hot start with three wins in the first five races has been replaced by some startling inconsistency (two DNFs in the last six) and the percolating profanity of one Chad Knaus on the radio. Charging up behind them both are the Joe Gibbs Racing duo of Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, armed with four wins total in the last six races and hungrier than John Daly at a Hooters, but armed with more distractions and enough emotional volatility to leave Dr. Phil on standby._ _Add that all up, and it’s enough to make your calculator give you that dreaded “E” for an answer. The truth is, we just don't know who's a clear favorite, so with a Monster of a challenge looming, building the most momentum is the name of the game right now as everyone jostles for position on the Chase scale._ Read More »