Hot 20 over the past 10 – Not even Kurt Busch could solve the problems at JTG-Daugherty from the driver’s seat

It has been since forever since Bobby Labonte had made this list. In fact, to include him, we would have to talk about the Hot 30, which would truly be a misnomer if I ever heard one. After blowing up on the opening lap at Sonoma, he even slipped a spot to sit one position and 21 points behind Danica Patrick over the past ten events. Labonte has been able to pick up just 15.2 points per race over the term. In short, his season sucks.

So, why am I a tad upset the 2000 champion gets parked this Saturday night? I mean, Bobby has not even finished ranked in the top ten since 2006. Since the 1996 Daytona 500 Labonte has answered the call, 704 consecutive races. That is just one short of Jeff Gordon, and third best all-time behind Ricky Rudd’s 788 consecutive string. That ends Saturday, and even that is not the reason I am upset.

The 49 year old, who won his 21st and final race back in 2003, he is being removed from the car in favor of A.J. Allmendinger. They want Allmendinger’s feedback on what they might be missing, how they might become more competitive. The winner of exactly zero Cup races is going to come up with a solution? A car that can not complete a single lap due to a blown engine needs another driver’s perspective on what the problems might be? Bobby Labonte has driven substandard cars since he left Joe Gibbs Racing in 2005, cars that seem to have gotten worse over time.
American Muscle

I strongly suspect the problems with the cars put forth by JTG-Daugherty Racing are the same experienced by James Finch, Mark Smith, Bob Keselowski, Joe Nemechek, Brandon Davis, Bob Jenkins, and Tommy Baldwin. They can not compete because, at present, they do not have the funding to do so. Labonte, Allmendinger, Kurt Busch, or the good Lord himself could not change that from the driver’s seat. Labonte’s streak comes to an end, and maybe mercifully so, because an owner can not accept where the problems truly reside. That is just this one man’s opinion.

The official standings show Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kyle Busch, and Brad Keselowski sitting in a Chase place, but that has nothing to do with how they have done lately. Junior remains 34 points to the good, while Kyle has a couple wins as a cushion, but neither are even warm right now. The defending champ is another story. He is ice cold at present, averaging less than 23 points per race over the past ten, is winless, and just nine points out of 11th.

Kurt Busch still sits 28 points out of the Chase, but after clawing back to finish fourth on Sunday he has climbed from 21st to 9th among our hot hands. He is gaining about five points per race on Keselowski, and with ten to go you never know.


Name Points POS. LW Rank W T5 T10
  Carl Edwards  355 1 4 (2) 0 3 6
  Kevin Harvick  349 2 3 (4) 2 4 7
  Clint Bowyer  349 3 2 (3) 0 3 6
  Jimmie Johnson  342 4 1 (1) 1 4 6
  Martin Truex, Jr.  327 5 9 (10) 1 4 6
  Matt Kenseth  309 6 5 (5) 2 2 5
  Tony Stewart  298 7 6 (15) 1 3 4
  Ryan Newman  284 8 14 (18) 0 1 4
  Kurt Busch  281 9 21 (17) 0 1 4
  Greg Biffle  280 10 10 (7) 1 3 4
  Aric Almirola  279 11 11 (16) 0 0 4
  Jeff Gordon  277 12 13 (13) 0 3 3
  Joey Logano  272 13 16 (14) 0 3 6
  Jeff Burton  272 14 8 (20) 0 1 2
  Juan Pablo Montoya  270 15 12 (23) 0 2 3
  Paul Menard  266 16 15 (11) 0 0 1
  Dale Earnhardt, Jr.  260 17 20 (6) 0 1 4
  Kyle Busch  258 18 7 (8)  1 3 5
  Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.  248 19 18 (19) 0 0 0
  Kasey Kahne  246 20 19 (12) 0 3 3
  Brad Keselowski  229 23 22 (9) 0 1 3

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


  1. Let’s face it. Bobby had to take a second tier (or third) ride years ago just to stay in cup. He only had one good ride (championship) but got fired from that. As much as I have and still do like Bobby, the youth movement got him, as it is still doing today. 2 time Daytona 500 winners got the same treatment, as well as truck champions. There aren’t enough rides to go around.

  2. “The good Lord himself could not change that.” I got news for you Jack, the LORD can change anything he pleases.

  3. Very well said. I feel badly for Bobby Labonte, maybe he just loves racing that much but I can’t think that the past few years have been any fun at all.

    When ESPN signs on for their Cup coverage, I’m sure that Big Mouth Brad will pontificate from the booth about how some teams are done, talk about who can’t get it done in a disparaging tone when his team hasn’t had a competitive car in ages. People who live in glass houses like Brad D does shouldn’t throw stone.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here