The most exciting driver in NASCAR today chalked up his fourth win at Bristol in his last five races, not counting the five straight Nationwide and Craftsman truck wins to his credit in Thunder Valley. Kyle Busch was our biggest mover, jumping ten spots when you replace his ten point performance from last fall at Fontana with the 47 he pulled in last Sunday. On the downside, he needs to be in the top five the next two events to prevent rolling back.
[media-credit name=”Barry Albert” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]Jimmie Johnson, on the other hand, has won four of his last seven at Fontana, which is next on the dance card. In fact, over the past ten events held there his worst finish is 11th. Good thing, as he also needs Top Five finishes to maintain his pace. He might be in the midst of a 12 race winless streak, but ten of those were Top Tens and half in the Top Three.
Yet, the big story isn’t who is on the list this week, but rather who is not. Jeff Gordon comes in 14 points shy, Clint Bowyer is 20 off, while David Reutimann is 27 points on the outside. All are in better shape than Jeff Burton, who finds himself buried a whopping 62 off in the distance. At least here, some bad results can come off to be replaced, hopefully, with something better. When it comes to hot, that quartet are most certainly not.
As they head of to sunny California, if you don’t count this week, here is a look at the hot 20 over the past 10 Cup races.
1 (1) Jimmie Johnson – 366 pts – Hottest dude hasn’t won in twelve.
2 (5) Carl Edwards – 364 pts – Should have used the bumper horn
3 (3) Kevin Harvick – 350 pts – Screw engine gunk, give him a beer.
4 (2) Denny Hamlin – 339 pts – Got packaged early at Bristol.
5 (4) Mark Martin – 336 pts – Harvick is Happy, at least until Mark punted him.
6 (7) Matt Kenseth – 331 pts – Where did he come from?
7 (17) Kyle Busch – 293 pts – Okay, I get it. He likes Bristol.
8 (12) Paul Menard – 293 pts – Menard’s; more than a hardware chain.
9 (6) Tony Stewart – 292 pts – Needed less smoke and more fire.
10 (13) Kurt Busch – 289 pts – Kyle is his little brother, or is he a big bother?
11 (9) Ryan Newman – 285 pts – A top ten, yet loses two spots?
12 (8) Juan Pablo Montoya – 280 pts – Loose wheel, looser fenders
13 (10) Joey Logano – 277 pts – Forget Bristol, he’s now California dreaming.
14 (20) Greg Biffle – 276 pts – Now THAT is how you gas and go.
15 (14) Martin Truex Jr – 275 pts – Looked good for a while, but the while left.
16 (11) A.J. Allmendinger – 266 pts – Best Buy was the sponsor, bargain basement was the result.
17 (15) Kasey Kahne – 261 pts – Showed some Kahne-do spirit.
18 (23) David Ragan – 252 pts – They love logistics, but found Bristol just okay.
19 (19) Dale Earnhardt Jr – 250 pts – Not hot yet, but I feel it getting warmer.
20 (18) Jamie McMurray – 249 pts – Driver started with dimples, the car finished with some.