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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in NASCAR: Pocono/Watkins Glen Edition

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in NASCAR: Pocono/Watkins Glen Edition

It could be argued that Jeff Gordon deserved to be in Victory Lane several times in 2012, but Sunday wasn’t one of them. When Jimmie Johnson’s car broke loose because of a flat tire on a late restart and a wreck ensued, Gordon just happened to be the first car to make it through the smoke and was awarded the win when the skies opened up minutes later. It was a lot of luck for a driver who hadn’t had any luck at all before Sunday. From flat tires, to accidents, to blown engines, the first half of the season had it all for the No. 24 team. As Gordon said in Victory Lane, “I think this is the one that makes up for all the ones that have gotten away.” Read More »

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in NASCAR: Indianapolis/Pocono Edition

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in NASCAR: Indianapolis/Pocono Edition

Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson may have been the two latest Hendrick Motorsports drivers to visit Victory Lane, but make no mistake about it, the spotlight is going to be on Dale Earnhardt, Jr. this week. For the first time since September, 2004 Junior will head to the next event as the Sprint Cup points leader. And while media coverage and interviews are nothing new to Earnhardt Jr., both are going to be ramped up this week. Read More »

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in NASCAR: New Hampshire – Indy Edition

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in NASCAR: New Hampshire – Indy Edition

Kasey Kahne’s victory at New Hampshire sure shook up the wild card race. Kahne basically assured himself a spot in the playoffs, while he put other drivers who were looking good heading into the weekend on less solid ground. Ryan Newman, Joey Logano and Jeff Gordon are those drivers on thin ice. Newman and Logano have a very slim chance of winning another race before The Chase, and Gordon’s chances of winning twice also seem unlikely. Read More »

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in NASCAR: Daytona/New Hampshire Edition

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in NASCAR: Daytona/New Hampshire Edition

For drivers, superspeedways can be the ultimate momentum killers because often they can’t control their own destinies like they can at other tracks. Jimmie Johnson is the perfect example. Johnson had reeled off five straight finishes of sixth or better heading into Saturday’s race at Daytona and was one of the hottest drivers in the series. He was an afterthought by race end. Read More »

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

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

It hasn’t been touched on much by the media so far this season, but there is some serious drama developing between 11th and 20th in the battle for the wild card Chase spots. Current 10th-place driver Brad Keselowski extended his lead over 11th-place Carl Edwards to a comfortable 34 points after his win on Sunday, putting Edwards in a position where he most likely is going to have to win a race to get in. Despite having five weeks to forget, Kyle Busch (one win) holds the first Chase spot. It gets really interesting in the battle for the second spot in The Chase. Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman and Joey Logano (each with one win) are deadlocked at 463 points apiece. Read More »

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in NASCAR: Sonoma/Kentucky Edition

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in NASCAR: Sonoma/Kentucky Edition

Marcos Ambrose recorded his third top 10 (eighth) in the last four races at Sonoma. Ordinarily, that would grant him a spot in the Hot or Warm section of Who’s Hot and Who’s Not, but anyone who watched the race and knows how talented Ambrose is at the road courses, saw Sunday as a missed opportunity for the Richard Petty Motorsports driver. Ambrose currently sits in 16th in the standings and needs at least one win, along with some consistency the rest of the way to have a shot at the Chase. Unfortunately for Ambrose, he watched one of his two best chances to go to Victory Lane slip through his grasp on Sunday. After starting from the pole, he led laps early before fading and never reinserting himself as a factor. Ambrose wasn’t alone. Read More »

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

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

Forget about the seven second-place finishes since his last win, the race at Pocono was the first time in four years that Dale Earnhardt Jr. deserved to be in Victory Lane. The second-place results might look better on paper, but none of those were close calls. His eighth-place run at Pocono truly was the closest he had gotten to winning. It shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone that one week later he finally got it done at Michigan to end a 143-race winless drought. Now the talk will turn from, "When will he win?" to "Will he win the championship this year?" The pressure is always on the No. 88 team, but they are handling it well. No team has more momentum right now than Earnhardt Jr's. Read More »

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

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

The driver who lost the most momentum in the past week in the Sprint Cup Series wasn't at the track on Sunday at Pocono. Despite claiming at Darlington that he hated his job as a Sprint Cup Series driver, Kurt Busch apparently wasn't planning on changing vocations any time soon. According to Associated Press writer Jenna Fryer, Busch was in talks with Richard Childress Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing about 2013. If his latest suspension wasn't enough to knock him out of the running at Gibbs, though, Joey Logano's win on Sunday probably was. Logano, a free agent at the end of the season, had been feeling the pressure to perform this season and until two races ago, the results for the most part were underwhelming. His stellar runs in the Nationwide Series and breakthrough win in Sprint Cup on Sunday are silencing the doubters. He is also making it difficult for Joe Gibbs to show him the door, meaning Logano will most likely be in the No. 20 car for the foreseeable future, while if Busch continues in his current ways, he is more likely to be working at Home Depot than driving for Joe Gibbs. Read More »

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in NASCAR: Dover/Pocono Edition

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in NASCAR: Dover/Pocono Edition

While Hendrick Motorsports gets hotter by the week, there were several key momentum shifts in Sprint Cup after Sunday's race at the Monster Mile. The Joe Gibbs Racing duo of Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch were piling up top 5s until they encountered Dover. After a strong performance in practice, Denny Hamlin put up a dismal show (18th) in the race at arguably his worst track. Busch wasn't doing much better at a place he's got a pair of wins before pulling his car behind the wall on Sunday. Read More »

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

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

My prediction of a lightning rod hitting Jeff Gordon's car and the car then catching fire didn't become a reality at Charlotte. Actually, nothing interesting happened to Jeff Gordon on Sunday night. His steering wheel didn't fall off, his tires didn't deflate and his engine didn't break. Gordon led five laps and finished seventh. It must have felt like a victory for the No. 24 team, Gordon's first top 10 since Texas on April 14th, which is an interesting date because that is when Kasey Kahne scored his first top-10 finish and finally began to turn his season around. Five races later, Kahne was in Victory Lane riding a streak of six consecutive top 10s. Read More »