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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: Atlanta-Richmond Edition

_For some, reading this article comes in between fits of crying, temper tantrums, pencil-throwing, or downright hysteria. That’s right, kids; it’s back to school time! (And you shouldn’t be playing hooky by reading right now. Although we’re happy you are). Best of luck in the upcoming year, and if you’re a teacher – particularly a middle school one - best of luck simply surviving between now and the end of your first day managing a bunch of hormone-filled, energy-injected, playing-with-my-smartphone-instead-of-listening-to-you teenage terrors._ _But while summer winds down for millions of Americans, the real heart of the NASCAR schedule is apparently just heating up – or so we’ve been told. The sport’s Brian France version of the playoffs looms just around the corner, the race to the Chase so good someone forgot to tell the drivers 13th on back in the standings to make it interesting._

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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In NASCAR: Off Week Edition

_Oo la la! Ce qu'une race à Montréal le Dimanche, le type où les fans a donné une ovation debout plus de temps que certains sont restés dans les stands à Chicagoland cette année. Que le français baiser de frais l'énergie est tout le monde bourdonnants environ une seconde-tier division dont les notations ont tranquillement augmenté 6 p. 100 pendant une année où NASCAR le ciel est en baisse._ _Le problème, bien sûr, est la même pilotes brille à l'intérieur aussi bien dans tout le pays et le Camping Monde Camions sont certains des mêmes hommes conduire les roues au large de la Coupe voitures le jour suivant. Où sont l'avenir les diamants bruts? Avec un seul final off semaine à capturer notre souffle, voyons si nous pouvons creuser dur pour trouver ces joyaux cachés peinant dans ces deuxième et troisième niveaux divisions, en espérant contre l'espoir leurs rêves ne meurent contre les riches, les fameux, et de manger ces vraiment mauvais français crêpes. Vous voir sur l'autre extrémité Rue Sainte-Catherine's! Ou dans environ 1,500 mots..._

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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In NASCAR Sprint Cup: Bristol Edition

Kyle Busch- Whether you like the guy or not, there is no denying the amount of talent Busch has. Winning the truck race Wednesday night after starting in last place (at Bristol, of all places) is an unbelievable accomplishment in itself. But, sweeping the weekend heated Kyle's season to the boiling point. Perhaps most impressive is that he did it in three entirely different vehicles with three different crew chiefs.

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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: Michigan-Bristol Edition

_The Dog Days of summer are in full force in the Sprint Cup Series. Temperatures are expected near 90 degrees in Bristol, TN this week, part of the hottest year on record down South leading up to Saturday night’s heated 500-lap showdown under the lights. But these ugly temperatures aren’t the only problem turning some NASCAR teams sick of the summer. For the Chasers who have all but clinched a spot - and this year, that means all but one of them - it’s like keeping elementary kids from turning the classroom upside down during the last month of school. For the most part, the tests don’t matter anymore, meaning it’s just three weeks of having to sit in class bored, going through the motions while growing impatient for when the real summer fun starts in just a few short weeks._

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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In NASCAR Sprint Cup: Watkins Glen-Michigan Edition

_With the checkered flag at Watkins Glen, NASCAR’s two-race road course experiment has been shelved for another season. If only Marcos Ambrose had four more ahead of him, we might see the No. 47 in Victory Lane, after all. Instead, he and Montoya must adjust to the daunting prospect of all left turns at Michigan and beyond, a tougher sell than expected that’s turned their seasons into a long list of wreck-related DNFs. That’s why they’re nowhere near the playoffs, just like there’s not a third road course for the Chase…_ _But enough about NASCAR’s two foreign-born, right-turn stars. They’ve gotten plenty of coverage in the 48 Hours post-Watkins Glen. Let’s not forget about the 40 others who finished behind them, trying to position themselves for the jobs, the playoffs, the garage, or five seconds of TV time that remain this season. Here's who stood out in the latest edition of Who’s Hot / Who’s Not:_

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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In NASCAR Sprint Cup: Pocono-Watkins Glen Edition

_We’re heading full steam toward the Dog Days of Summer, but there’s several Sprint Cup regulars barking up the wrong tree. As the Race for the Chase turns sharply into focus, there are just seventeen drivers left with a realistic shot at the playoffs. That leaves a number of superstars, from Juan Pablo Montoya to David Reutimann, licking their wounds, watching the season finale of _The Bachelorette_ in mourning while looking back at lost opportunities. Turning toward 2011 three months too soon, their bids long ago wilted in the summer heat through a series of ugly DNFs and CNCs – could not compete. But they’re not alone in holding multiple test sessions; men like Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, and even Denny Hamlin can pull some wild experiments along with them, their Chase bids all but assured while pursuing a “win ‘em, wreck ‘em, or ride around and smell the coffee” philosophy all the way until the points really count come September._

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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In NASCAR Sprint Cup: Indy-Pocono Edition

Here’s the final stat line for Juan Pablo Montoya’s last two years at Indy: 202 laps led out of a possible 320 (63 percent), two front row starting spots, zero wins, zero top-10 finishes, one pit road speeding penalty, one faulty debris caution, one bad pit road call. If you guessed those numbers knocked Montoya off the Hot list this week, congratulations! Let me hand you a first grade diploma right now. But simple math also adds up to one big fat “I.O.U.” from Indianapolis Motor Speedway to Mr. Montoya. If nothing else, 2011 will at least hold that type of semi-dramatic buildup for this race, with the man aiming to be the first ever Indy 500-Brickyard 400 winner, building a resume that could one day resemble Dale Earnhardt’s lost love affair with the Daytona 500 he (almost) never won.

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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not Around The World of NASCAR

The big boys took this weekend off to prepare for the second half of the summer, but for a handful of drivers looking to fill their shoes someday, downtime is simply not an option. They're all fighting to hold a job in this shrinking market, with one bad move sending them to the sidelines: just ask Jacques Villeneuve, fighting to make a Sprint Cup comeback this week, who was canned in Cup after just one race. But hidden amongst the intense competition - and the Cup interlopers taking 80 percent of their spots - are a few immensely talented drivers showing their worth. Let's take a moment to honor their accomplishments, plotting out their future strategy in the latest edition of Who's Hot / Who's Not...

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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: Lucky 7 Edition (Chicagoland, Too)

Before we begin this Hot/Not article, let’s bring you a word from our sponsor: The Number Seven. Seven races remain until the Chase, and seven drivers between 10th and 16th in the standings remain within 161 points of each other. More than likely, that means the final spots will be settled amongst these men: Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Mark Martin, David Reutimann, and Ryan Newman. That is, of course, unless Matt Kenseth goes a seventh straight week without a top-10 finish at Indy, making him vulnerable, too. But what’s to make of this playoff field filled with seven drivers who haven’t won a race yet?

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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: Post-Daytona Edition

Sometimes when stressed, the best medicine can be simply taking a few days to clear your head. That’s where I was at this past weekend, taking in the rays of a great beach vacation that has me rested and ready to rumble for the second half of the NASCAR season. If only Mr. A.J. Allmendinger could be so lucky, nearly in need of another career choice after jawing with the equivalent of NASCAR God. You can make fun of the Frances, take a swipe at the Earnhardts, but messing with The King? It’s a no-win situation that puts you in position to take a permanent vacation of your own. It was the lowlight of a nasty Daytona that had the NASCAR field turning into a bad _Jerry Springer_ episode for the second time in three weeks.

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