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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In NASCAR : Homestead-2011 Edition

_Sad But true: the 2010 racing season, for all intents and purposes, is over. Sure, we'll see ten drivers polish off their skills in public speaking, reading off a script this December before trying to gamble millions' worth of salary away in Las Vegas. But for all intents and purposes, the NASCAR circus has ended its Ringling Brothers Tour, a three-month hiatus hopefully building towards the excitement of a new-age, newly-repaved Daytona 500 in February._ _Certainly, the hottest drivers concluding the season are easy to figure out: Carl Edwards (two straight wins), Jimmie Johnson (five straight titles), and other series champs Brad Keselowski (Nationwide) and Todd Bodine (Trucks). But before we close the book on the season, it's time to recognize several others who have made an under-the-radar impact, one they hope can carry over into the limelight of center stage come 2011. It's the runs you might not have noticed - buried underneath "points as of now" - that now have my attention for a moment before a long winter's hibernation. Oh, and we'll talk about some pink slips too, an ugly necessity for a column always titled Who's Hot ... and Who's Not._

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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In NASCAR: Everyone BUT The Big Three

_Thanksgiving may be next up on the Holiday Hit List, but don’t be fooled; I just heard Christmas music on the radio today for the first time (God help us all). That scary pop Holiday cover did get me to thinking, though … with you poor millions of fans about to be bombarded with 5,000,000 columns on the Big Three and who’s got the edge heading to Homestead, me included, it’s high time you got an early holiday present of one column in which the *”Oh My God! Best Chase in history ever let’s all bow down to the magic of the championship unfolding before us season finale!”* wasn’t mentioned at all. So guess what? Here’s my Hot / Not gift from me to you, a guided tour away from all things Chase, Fed Ex, Lowe’s and Pennzoil into the world of other drivers whose seasons – and coverage – in the minds of many ended weeks ago. So sit back, enjoy, and take in some long overdue updates in the latest edition of Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in NASCAR._

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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In NASCAR: Texas – Phoenix Edition

_Three drivers. Two races. One championship. However, they're far from the only major storylines as the Sprint Cup season heads to a whirlwind close over the next two weeks. Let's not waste any time after an action-packed Texas; instead, it's time to figure out who's in the best position to capitalize on their late-season success -- or run from their failures -- with Who's Hot / Who's Not in NASCAR._ *GUARDEDLY OPTIMISTIC* *Denny Hamlin* - Here we are, 13 days before the end of the Sprint Cup season and Jimmie Johnson’s ironclad grip on the Sprint Cup title has finally been hospitalized in critical condition. That’s courtesy one priority overnight Fed Ex knockout punch, Denny Hamlin packing a Texas tornado in the form of a season sweep that left Johnson 33 points behind and suddenly the underdog in a Chase that was on the verge of being named in his honor.

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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in NASCAR: Talladega-Texas Edition

_Good morning race fans, and happy Tuesday to all of you! Hopefully, everyone enjoyed another wild one at Talladega as we gear up for a crucial race at Texas Motor Speedway. It has now become an official three-man competition for the championship. After his second-place finish on Sunday, Kevin Harvick moved to 38 points out of the lead – meaning he controls his own destiny with just three races left. For Harvick, Denny Hamlin, and Jimmie Johnson, winning out gives them the Sprint Cup title in a battle that's bound to go down to the wire. For every other driver, the rest of the season is all about ending on a high note, as for some it is even an audition for a ride for next year. Let’s look at who is turning up the wick and who is not in this week’s edition of Hot/Not._

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

_Good morning, race fans and happy Tuesday! We are that much closer to the next race! After Sunday's thriller at Martinsville, I am sure that it has left everyone excited/nervous about Talladega this weekend. Obviously, we have Jimmie Johnson doing his usual thing in the Chase, and while many expected Denny Hamlin to give Johnson a run for his money this year, I don't think anyone actually thought he would be six points out of the lead this late in the game. Then, we have guys such as Tony Stewart, Jeff Burton, and Kurt Busch who are all but out of the championship hunt. Will we see them start preparing for next year, or will they go all out in the final four races, influencing the championship outcome while they do it? The last short track event has left many fuming, but let’s see who’s really on fire in this week’s edition of Who's Hot / Who's Not._

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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In NASCAR: New Hampshire-Dover Edition

_One down, nine to go. For better or for worse, NASCAR’s ten-race playoff began with a better-than-expected start, bumper cars and backfiring pit strategies leaving fans entertained after Clint Bowyer nearly made a mockery of it all early in the going. And as expected, the start of the Chase meant the return of Cinderella, granting slippers to not only the winner but several drivers in the 43-car field that need a little magic themselves to get their act together for 2011._ _Who’s sitting pretty for their postseason push, and who’s ready to choose start-and-parking over having to run the rest of the year? My friends, that’s why we have this little table we’ve titled Who’s Hot / Who’s Not. Let’s get started…_

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Who’s Hot / Who’s Not In NASCAR: Richmond-New Hampshire Edition

_In the words of Jim Mora: “Playoffs! You want to talk about playoffs? You kidding me?”_ _That’s the reaction of the majority of the NASCAR fan base nowadays, but like it or not, the seventh edition of the postseason format is finally upon us. Has it really been that long since Matt Kenseth lulled us to sleep in 2003, a one-win season causing sheer panic in the offices of Daytona Beach that led us to the current contraption we have now? Once a shiny new Mercedes, the Chase seems sold to us by that shady used car place where they didn’t tell you it had been through an accident, has a faulty transmission, and “new” tires with 50,000 miles already on them._

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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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