The Frontstretch: Who's Hot / Who's Not in Sprint Cup: Coca-Cola 600 Edition by Mike Lovecchio -- Tuesday May 27, 2008

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Who's Hot / Who's Not in Sprint Cup: Coca-Cola 600 Edition

Mike Lovecchio · Tuesday May 27, 2008

 

In the past, the extra 100 miles that make the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR’s longest event has proved to add an extra dimension to an already grueling race. This year was no different, as it wasn’t how you started but how you finished that made the difference. It seemed that every driver who ran up front ran into problems — and in the end, Kasey Kahne survived for the victory only after Tony Stewart succumbed to tire problems three laps from the finish.

Kahne moves into the Top 12 in points this week with his first win in 52 starts, and appears to be picking up momentum after winning the All-Star race last week. But will his breakthrough win be enough to put him in this week’s “HOT” list? Check out the latest edition of Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in Sprint Cup below to find out.

HOT

Kyle Busch: Things are going so good for Kyle Busch that everything went wrong this weekend, and NASCAR’s villain still finished in the Top 3. Busch was one of the stronger cars again Sunday night, but fell to the back after having battery problems during the second half of the race. Still, as expected Busch sliced his way back through the field, eventually climbing back to finish third by the checkered flag. He now has six consecutive Top 10s and four consecutive Top 3s in the Cup Series.

Jeff Burton: Burton doesn’t get the same media attention as other “HOT” drivers like Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kyle Busch, and Carl Edwards have gotten, but he has been the most consistent frontrunning car this year nonetheless. Burton still has yet to finish worse than 13th, and has been in the top two in points for seven straight races, the sole wheelman capable of keeping pace with Busch in the points. How’d Burton fare this week? Another quiet sixth place finish at Lowe’s.

WARM

Kasey Kahne: You may ask why Kahne’s not on the “HOT” list after winning last week’s All-Star race and this week’s Coca-Cola 600; but the truth is, it’s still not been the best of years for the Gillett Evernham driver. This week’s win did snap a 52-race winless streak and was Kahne’s first Top 5 of the year, moving him into Chase contention despite being 14th in points after Darlington. But while Kahne started the year off strong — with four Top 10 finishes in his first five races — he’s had just one Top 10 in his last five starts prior to Lowe’s.

Jeff Gordon: Gordon hasn’t met expectations through the first third of the season, and is just now starting to have more consistent solid finishes. After dropping to 14th in points following a 19th place finish at Talladega, Gordon has since recorded three straight Top 10s and two straight Top 5s to work his way back up the ladder. His fourth place run this weekend has now moved him to tenth in points.

Matt Kenseth: After a stretch of three races between Phoenix and Richmond when Kenseth’s best finish was 38th, the 2003 Cup Series champ dropped to a stunning 22nd in points. In his last two races, however, Kenseth has turned things around with a sixth at Darlington and a seventh at Charlotte, and is now 16th, 190 points out of 12th.

David Reutimann: It’s been another tough season for Michael Waltrip Racing, but Reutimann has easily been the most successful MWR driver since replacing Dale Jarrett in the No. 44 UPS Toyota. It may not sound like much, but Reutimann’s worst finish in his last five races is a respectable 22nd. This week, Reutimann recorded his first Top 10 of the season with a tenth at Charlotte.

J.J. Yeley’s season went from bad to worse after slamming into the back of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Sunday night. He finished 38th.

COLD

Michael McDowell: The man who replaced Reutimann in the No. 00 MWR Toyota has struggled in his transition to the Cup series. McDowell’s best run in his first seven starts is 26th, and he has finished on the lead lap just once.

J.J. Yeley: Yeley is one of the drivers on the outside of the Top 35 bubble, and it doesn’t appear as if he’s going to break back in. 154 points out of the bubble slot with the No. 96 car, Yeley has yet to finish better than 25th this season — and has only finished on the lead lap once.

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Douglas
05/27/2008 08:26 AM
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ICE COLD”!!

JR.!!!!!

Larry
05/27/2008 10:18 AM
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Doug do you stay awake at night with visions of Jr tormenting you? Jr is still the best out there; that should fire you up…LOL JR JR JR !!!!!

Johanna
05/27/2008 03:50 PM
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Gee Larry, LMAO at you!! Do you know how dumb you look saying something so stupid! The best out there???? Oh Please! Who are you kidding!! Lets see here. He is in the best equptment out there, and NA$CAR does everything in it’s power to help him win by doing whatever it can to help him! They gives him free passes of penalties, ignore speeding, let him slip thru inspection by closing their eyes to his cheating cars, and whever else they can do for him, yet he still can’t win!! That is NOT the best ever, that is a below average driver, who can’t win no matter what NA$CAR does to help him! GOOO Tony! Now HE is the best out there not below average baby Jr!!

Connie
05/27/2008 05:23 PM
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Johanna – LMAO at you.
You don’t have a clue.
Both pitting when pit road is closed and speeding on pit lane have the same penalty. The driver has to go to the tail end of the longest line and that is what Jr. had to do. Many drivers have done the same thing since the penalty is the same – They can’t get any further back then they are already being sent. For Nascar to do anything else would require a rule change and come up with something for double penalties that happen at the same time and won’t ever happen.

As far as the best equipment out there wouldn’t that be your buddy Tony’s team mate Kyle? He seems to run good every week (unlike Tony) What’s Tony excuse that he isn’t running like Kyle or even Hamlin????

I haven’t heard of Jr being let slip through inspection – sounds like your grasping for straws now.

Jr right now isn’t the best out there Kyle and Jeff are – BUT he is still the most popular like it or not green eyed cry baby.

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