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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not

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

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

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not is ready to pick up where it left off last season. Defending champion Jimmie Johnson is the driver to beat in 2014 after rediscovering his title touch last year. Johnson starts his championship defense at Daytona International Speedway, where he is also the defending winner of the biggest race in NASCAR. As Speedweeks picks up the pace, there are familiar faces that have already made an impact on the early days of the new season, ... Read More »

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: Talladega-Darlington Edition

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: Talladega-Darlington Edition

After rain shortened the running of the Nationwide race at Talladega Superspeedway Saturday afternoon, Mother Nature struck again once the Sprint Cup Series took the track Sunday. The Aaron’s 499 may have taken most of the day to complete after a 3.5 hour weather delay, but nothing could dampen the 2.66-mile track’s ability to produce unpredictable finishes. In the end, David Ragan crossed the finish line first after a daring set of moves left him ahead of the pack during the green-white-checker scenario brought about by the second massive crash of the afternoon. Read More »

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: Richmond-Talladega Edition

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: Richmond-Talladega Edition

Richmond International Raceway hosted the most unpredictable race of the season to date last weekend as the field was shuffled more than once before the checkered flag waved. Juan Pablo Montoya appeared to be ready to snap a multi-year winless streak before a late caution for Brian Vickers mixed up the leaders for a final time. In the end, Kevin Harvick was able to surpass Jeff Burton and others during the resulting green-white-checker sequence to claim his first victory of the season, and third ever at the 0.75-mile track. Read More »

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in NASCAR: Daytona/Phoenix Edition

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in NASCAR: Daytona/Phoenix Edition

Now that the checkered flag has flown over an eventful final weekend at the “World Center of Racing,” the Sprint Cup Series season is finally kicking into high gear. Jimmie Johnson finds himself in a familiar position atop the standings after Race 1 of 36, leading NASCAR’s premier drivers westward towards the desert oasis of Phoenix International Raceway. While defending champion Brad Keselowski managed to maintain the blistering pace, other perennial favorites must now pick up the pieces after faltering early. Here’s the rundown on where they presently stand in this post-Daytona 500 edition of Who’s Hot and Who’s Not. Read More »

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in NASCAR: Sprint Unlimited-Daytona 500 Edition

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in NASCAR: Sprint Unlimited-Daytona 500 Edition

While much of America only begins to recover from winter, NASCAR is already off to a blazing start under the sun of Daytona Beach. With the Sprint Unlimited and qualifying for the Great American Race already in the books, the action continues to heat up in preparation for the much anticipated Budweiser Duels. This Speedweeks edition of *Who's Hot and Who's Not* shows that many of the usual restrictor plate racing suspects have already emerged at the historic superspeedway leading up to Sunday’s main event, while other favorites have yet to thaw out. Here's who's on their way to a strong start for 2013... Read More »

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In NASCAR: 2013 Offseason Edition

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In NASCAR: 2013 Offseason Edition

This year’s rendition of the NASCAR offseason was action-packed, to say the least. A new car model has been vigorously tested since the checkered flag last waved at Homestead-Miami, all while several of stock car racing’s biggest names hopped onto the Silly Season carousel, landing with new organizations. Some drivers were left out in the cold, while others look to flourish aboard their newfound rides with high-profile car owners. All of them, inside the garage will be dealing with changes, from one less manufacturer afoot, to new qualifying procedures and the addition of a historic dirt track to the Camping World Truck Series circuit. All of these combine to make the 2013 schedule one of the more highly anticipated we've seen since NASCAR's peak in the mid-2000s. Read More »

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in NASCAR: Phoenix / Homestead-Miami Edition

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in NASCAR: Phoenix / Homestead-Miami Edition

Brad Keselowski couldn’t catch a break in the final 50 laps of the race at Texas, but he caught a big one at Phoenix. Jimmie Johnson’s right-front tire failure and subsequent crash put Keselowski in the catbird’s seat (20-point lead) heading to Homestead-Miami. Johnson must have left his golden horseshoe in Victory Lane at Texas, or maybe Kevin Harvick finally stole it. Either way, after Johnson caught all the lucky breaks at Texas, Keselowski caught them all at Phoenix. After Johnson’s wreck, the race wasn’t exactly a cakewalk for Keselowski, especially in the final laps. He had to avoid Jeff Gordon’s stupidity (more on that in Cold), then get to the finish while skating in oil and avoiding a massive accident on the frontstretch. It must’ve felt like Watkins Glen all over again, except the championship was on the line so it wasn’t as easy to laugh at. Read More »

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in NASCAR: Texas/Phoenix Edition

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in NASCAR: Texas/Phoenix Edition

Brad Keselowski had Jimmie Johnson beat when Sunday’s race restarted with 54 laps to go. Keselowski may have been behind, but he was going to make it on fuel and Johnson wasn’t. Keselowski had Johnson beat when the race restarted with 19 laps to go; the No. 2 had more speed with two fresh tires even though Johnson had four. He had Johnson beat again when they restarted side-by-side with eight laps to go, contact notwithstanding. Unfortunately for Keselowski, there was still one more restart. Read More »

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in NASCAR: Martinsville / Texas Edition

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in NASCAR: Martinsville / Texas Edition

Ordinarily when drivers are eliminated from championship contention, it happens one of two ways: a sudden crash or mechanical failure takes place, ending things in the blink of an eye; or a driver gradually loses points each week based on performance, meaning the team, driver and fans are able to brace themselves for falling short. What happened to Denny Hamlin on Sunday was like nothing I’d ever seen. It was, in a word, agonizing. A number of factors came together to make it this way. Hamlin was at his best track and knew it was an opportunity to get to Victory Lane, closing the gap on Keselowski and Johnson. Read More »

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in NASCAR: Kansas/Martinsville Edition

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in NASCAR: Kansas/Martinsville Edition

There are moments that define championship teams and Jimmie Johnson’s crew had one of them on Sunday at Kansas. Johnson seemingly drove himself out of Cup contention when he got loose trying to race his way through the pack and backed his No. 48 hard into the outside wall. The wreck mirrored what happened to Johnson at Charlotte in 2011 in many ways. The impact wasn’t as great this time around, but it was a similar situation where the five-time champion jumped on the gas too quickly while looking to the inside of another car. At the time, the repercussions seemed the same — he appeared to be eliminated from the hunt for the big trophy. Read More »