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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not

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

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

It has been a tough season for Hendrick Motorsports. It all started in Speedweeks when Hendrick's four drivers combined to wreck 243 cars (just an estimate) before the Daytona 500 even started. The Great American Race didn't go much better. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finished second, but Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson were each involved in wrecks while Jeff Gordon blew an engine. Three of Hendrick's four teams started the season in a hole. Johnson dug himself out of it fast, but Victory Lane had eluded the five-time champion until Saturday night. Kasey Kahne was mired in 32nd in the standings after five races, although five straight top 10s have him back in Chase contention (Jeff Gordon is going to need some time). Read More »

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not: Talladega-Darlington Edition

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not: Talladega-Darlington Edition

The storyline for the last two weeks has been top level drivers having sub-par seasons finally breaking through and making statements. Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski haven't spent a whole lot of time on the hot or not side of this column because they have each had relatively quiet years, that is before Richmond. With finishes of first and second in the last two races, Busch has sprung himself into the top 10 and Keselowski is only three points out of 10th, but with two wins is almost assured a spot in The Chase either way. Both drivers have had their share of inconsistency in 2012, but they are as good as anyone when they are on. These wins may have been just what they needed to make a run in the middle part of the season. Read More »

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in NASCAR: Richmond/Talladega Edition

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in NASCAR: Richmond/Talladega Edition

Kyle Busch hasn't had a season worth remembering so far in 2012. He has flown under the radar and off our TV screens for much of the year. On Saturday, he reminded everyone that he is still one of the best drivers in the series and a guy that can catch fire at any point in time. While Busch was finally building some momentum, Who's Hot/Not favorites Greg Biffle and Martin Truex Jr. proved their race cars and teams are far from perfect. Parity has been a big story in 2012, and the standings prove it, with the top eight drivers separated by 31 points. Here is who's hot and who's not after Richmond. Read More »

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

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

Did anyone pick Denny Hamlin to win at Kansas? How about Martin Truex Jr. to lead the most laps? The 2012 season has been full of momentum shifts and surprises and Kansas was no exception. Hamlin was 20th at Las Vegas and 12th at Texas in the first two events at 1.5-mile tracks. Clearly, he was in line for a win at Kansas (sense the sarcasm). The unpredictability has been refreshing and it also has shuffled the order in Who's Hot/Who's Not. Here are the drivers and teams who are trending up and trending down after Kansas. Read More »

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

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

_Saturday night's race at Texas resulted in big shifts in momentum in the Sprint Cup Series. Drivers that had it coming in such as Stewart-Haas drivers Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman slowly watched it slip away in what had to be a long night for both men. Newman finished 21st and Stewart was 24th, two laps off the pace in what's typically a strong track for the organization._ _On the opposing side, Hendrick Motorsports drivers Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne finally both had much-needed strong showings. Gordon placed fourth and Kahne was seventh, part of a four-car "sweep" for Hendrick inside the top 10. That means Gordon and Kahne are out of the cold in this week's edition of Who's Hot/Who's Not._ Read More »

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

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

If the infamous green-white-checkered accident didn't happen on Sunday, Who's Hot / Who's Not would have looked completely different this week, but much to the dismay of most NASCAR fans, the wreck did happen. The big loser in it all was Hendrick Motorsports, who not only missed out on scoring a 200th win, but also could have had two of the hottest drivers in the garage, right now. Instead, they own two of the coldest. How fragile momentum is in NASCAR racing. Read More »

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in NASCAR: Auto Club/Martinsville Edition

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in NASCAR: Auto Club/Martinsville Edition

I don't know if it was for you, but the 129 laps run on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway was plenty for me. I'm glad I spent only 1 hour, 36 minutes watching that race. The big winner when the race was called was Tony Stewart of course, but the guy in 14th must have felt like he won too. The race went by so quickly, Kasey Kahne didn't even have time to wreck his car (sorry Kahne fans). And for not doing so for the first time this season, Kahne moved himself out the cold area of Who's Hot/Who's Not. Luckily, there were a number of viable candidates willing to take his place in this week's edition. Read More »

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In NASCAR: Bristol / Fontana Edition

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In NASCAR: Bristol / Fontana Edition

Brad Keselowski's win at Bristol not only marked the fourth different winner in four races, but it marked the fourth different organization to visit Victory Lane. In all these events, all four manufacturers have scored wins. There are six different teams represented in the top 10 in points, while Hendrick Motorsports — winners of 10 of the last 17 Sprint Cup titles — has three of its cars currently sitting outside the top 15 in the standings. Nothing in the NASCAR garage is hotter than parity. Read More »

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not: Las Vegas/Bristol Edition

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not: Las Vegas/Bristol Edition

It didn't take Tony Stewart long to respond to the win at Phoenix by Denny Hamlin and his old crew chief Darian Grubb. A week ago, Stewart was being questioned for letting go of a guy who helped him to five wins in the last 10 races of 2011 and the Sprint Cup title. Now, after picking up his first victory in the third race of the season — Smoke traditionally turns up the wick much later in the year — he looks like a genius for bringing Steve Addington over as his head wrench. A week ago, he hadn't had a top-5 finish. Now, he has a victory and finds himself in seventh in the standings. Read More »

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not: Phoenix-Vegas Edition

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not: Phoenix-Vegas Edition

It took last year's champion crew chief only two races to take a different driver to Victory Lane in 2012. Darian Grubb is showing why he was such a hot commodity in the off-season. Grubb didn't get the credit he deserved for leading Tony Stewart to the title in 2011, but if Denny Hamlin continues running like he has in the first two races of 2012, the former SHR head wrench may finally get that much deserved credit. Read More »