Who’s Hot / Who’s Not

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Brickyard 400 Edition

With Doug Turnbull off this week, it's time for the editing 1-2 punch of our own Tom Bowles and Mike Lovecchio to give you the latest trends in the Cup Series after the Brickyard. We might not have Doug's usual commentary, but what we do know is which drivers are speeding back to Pocono on the fuel of a red-hot July ... and which ones have invited winter into their lives about five months too soon. Read on to see who's in position to nab a playoff spot or a pink slip heading towards the Dog Days of August in our latest edition of Who's Hot and Who's Not in Sprint Cup. *HOT* *Jimmie Johnson:* Uh oh…it’s that time of year again! Jimmie Johnson may have come from seemingly out of nowhere to claim his second consecutive Brickyard 400, but the 3-time defending has been RED HOT as of late.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Lifelock.com 400 at Chicagoland Edition

The twosome of NASCAR races at Chicagoland Speedway this weekend seemed to be shaping up in the same, slow way that we have come to grow used to at Joliet, Illinois' cookie-cutter track. On Friday, the Nationwide Series race was nothing more than a parade of small floats attempting to give chase to the behemoth balloon that is the Joe Gibbs Racing's Toyota-powered team. Saturday’s Cup race wasn't much better, as the nose of Mark Martin’s Kellogg’s Chevy inhaled clean air and simply dominated, surrendering the point only to Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson at times. Then, all of a sudden, came those last 50 laps…

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Daytona Summer Speedweeks Edition

The July 4th bash at Daytona International Speedway literally ended with a bang, as Kyle Busch’s attempt at blocking Tony Stewart from taking the race win sent him bouncing off the frontstretch wall. While the finish stole the headlines, the plights of Chase-contending drivers permeated other post-race storylines. Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya, Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, David Reutimann, Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer, and Brian Vickers now sit in spots 11th thru 17th in points, and _all_ of them were involved at least somewhat in wrecks or spins Saturday night. At the same time, the race atop the point standings opened up, as Tony Stewart took the checkered flag and Jeff Gordon got caught in the first “Big One” early in the race. The ability of drivers in this wreck-filled race to bounce back into contention is a major factor in determining this week’s *HOT*, *WARM*, and *COLD* drivers.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at Loudon Edition

Now, we move on to this week’s matters… Joey Logano stole some history at New Hampshire on Sunday, becoming the youngest driver to win a Sprint Cup race by not pitting his No. 20 Home Depot Toyota during the last round of pit stops, taking a gamble and hoping for rain at his home track. Crew chief Greg Zipadelli’s decision quickly made up for Logano’s run-in with Ryan Newman, as well as the resulting flat tire and spin that resulted from it midway through the race. But while Logano's upset victory continues to be the big story, there were a few other upstart runs, as well, considering that rained-out qualifying placed the top points contenders in the top starting positions. And while few relinquished their top spots Sunday, there were some that broke through and in hopes of reversing their unlucky trends so far this season. Here are the *HOT*, *WARM*, and *COLD* drivers for this week… the first of the ten races that precede the advent of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Edition

The Cup Series’ trip to wine country in Sonoma, Ca. sure seemed to be worth the extra gas bill. The inevitable fuel strategy gambles and unpredictable mishaps that Infineon Raceway commonly produces shuffled up the running order many times during Sunday’s race. The racing action through the pack was tight and fender-banging, especially in the closing laps, helping to cure the spacious, snooze-worthy action of the past couple of weeks in Michigan and Pocono. Despite the race boiling down to fuel strategy, the best driver and car combination won the event. Kasey Kahne survived several restarts and held off an almost equal car and superior driver in Tony Stewart. Not every team was as lucky, as some Chase hopefuls took hits in the points and others that have struggled all year continued that trend. Here are this week’s *HOT*, *WARM*, and *COLD* drivers.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Lifelock 400 at Michigan Edition

“Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire,” may very well have been the lyrics Jimmie Johnson was banging his head to as his dominant No. 48 Chevy sputtered to the finish of Sunday’s LifeLock 400. The three-time champ absolutely dominated at Michigan, only surrendering the lead after the final pit sequence to Greg Biffle. Ironically enough, though, both Johnson and Biffle were a little too conservative on how much fuel they conserved at the end of the race, using too much gas racing each other in the closing laps and each falling short of fuel at the finish. Biffle managed to coast to 5th place, while Johnson ran out of fuel just past the pit road entrance. That meant he had to nurse his No. 48 for almost a full lap under power, relegating him to a 22nd place result. Despite the long, boring green flag runs Sunday, seeing some teams that needed good finishes actually had them injecting a bit of excitement into what was otherwise a yawner of a race. Here are some of those programs that are *HOT*, *WARM*, and *COLD* as the Cup Series motors away from Motor City.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Pocono 500 Edition

Sunday was a long day in Long Pond, PA, as only a few teams really had their cars hooked up to handle the tricky triangle that is Pocono Raceway. While positive storylines like the implementation of double-file restarts and Tony Stewart’s march from the back of the pack to win his first race as an owner permeated the day, the same old song of single-file racing at the front of the pack was set to loop. The only chance for some teams to find success at Pocono was by gambling on fuel mileage, which garnered top 10 finishes for Marcos Ambrose and Juan Pablo Montoya. Unfortunately, teams high in the points that are not worried about falling out of Chase contention, like Tony Stewart’s, Carl Edwards’, and Jeff Gordon’s also tried the same strategy and came out on top. Here are the *HOT*, *WARM*, and *COLD* teams after the conclusion of the Pocono 500.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Autism Speaks 400 at Dover Edition

Race number 13 in the 2009 season was an unlucky one for Goodyear, as periodic rains in Dover washed the track of rubber after both the Friday race sessions and the Saturday races. With entries in both the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series having right front tire issues, Sprint Cup teams knew that tire conservation during Sunday’s race would be the only way to increase the chance of avoiding the damning blown tire punctures. Despite a competition caution and other precautions, several teams suffered tire failures and many others’ days were ruined by a caution that came out during a green flag pit sequence that John Andretti’s blown right front and subsequent brushing with the wall brought out. These factors combined with a barn-burner finish, determined this week’s *HOT*, *WARM*, and *COLD* drivers for the week.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not In Sprint Cup Heading To Dover After the 2009 Coca-Cola 600

The conclusion of the Anti-Climatic 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Monday leaves the NASCAR fan base wondering exactly which driver should have won the race. Since the race began in the middle of the day on Monday instead of early in the evening on Sunday, drivers did not have to encounter as many changes in track conditions as expected. As the race wore on, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, and Brian Vickers proved to have the fastest cars, but would all three of these drivers have remained the ones to beat had the race gone the distance? Since the rainy conditions and subsequent pit strategies shuffled up the entire running order and many teams mid-pack were likely biding their time before making a run for the front, this week is yet another tough time to determine the current *HOT*, *WARM*, and *COLD* drivers. Nevertheless, here they are.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 All-Star Race Edition

Tony Stewart took Lowe’s Motor Speedway by storm Saturday night, as the driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevy smelled victory and found it in the 25th annual All-Star Race. Stewart’s first win as a driver/owner and first All-Star win came in a race that saw tepid-at-best racing in the first three segments turn into a barn-burning, fender-banging mix of talent and anarchy in the final 10-lap showdown. Stewart’s triumph, combined with the string of recent success at Stewart-Haas Racing, makes him the *HOTTEST* driver on the circuit. Richard Childress Racing’s poor showing at Lowe’s and, it seems, at almost every track of late, makes that whole team among the *COLDEST* in the sport.

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