Who’s Hot / Who’s Not

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 Centurion Boats at the Glen Edition

It doesn't matter what type of track the Sprint Cup Series is on these days; if Kyle Busch is racing, he's got a good chance at picking up the win. With his eighth victory of the season coming this week at Watkins Glen, Busch again showed why is the favorite for this year's Sprint Cup title -- but with two finishes outside of the Top 10 in his previous two races, he's not among this week's *HOT* contenders. But one driver who is happens to be Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Tony Stewart, second at the Glen but one of the leading title contenders who has suddenly been jumpstarting his season. To see who else is among the hottest drivers on the circuit or who needs to step up their game to make the Chase or Top 35, check out this week's edition of Who's Hot / Who's Not in Sprint Cup.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Edition

After a bout with Mother Nature forced a bizarre finish at Pocono -- the second straight week of strange results for NASCAR -- there was plenty of heating up and cooling off throughout the sport's top levels. So, without further ado let's get right to the list of Who's Hot and Who's Not with just five races left to go in the regular season: *HOT* *Jimmie Johnson:* The hottest driver in the series right now, Johnson joins Edwards as Busch’s toughest competition when the Chase begins. Three consecutive Top 3s, two consecutive poles, and a win last week has Johnson fourth in points.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard Edition

Tire problems provided an interesting twist to this week's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, allowing a number of teams to utilize pit strategy to capture unexpectedly strong finishes. One of those teams, the No. 84 of A.J. Allmendinger, came home 10th, giving him his first Top 10 and the best two-race stretch of his career. Up front, the suspense was far less dramatic. Jimmie Johnson was the strongest car and took home his second win of the season -- becoming just the second man to win a stock car race at Indy from the pole. But behind the No. 48, who else had good runs? And with Chase bids on the line, who fell victim to tire problems out of their control? Check out this week's edition of Who's Hot / Who's Not in Sprint Cup to find out how things are shaping up with just six races left until the playoffs.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 Pre-Brickyard 400 Edition

As teams approach one of the most prestigious races in the Sprint Cup Series and fans and drivers are refreshed following a rare off weekend, it's a perfect opportunity to recognize some of the streakiest drivers heading into this year's Brickyard 400. Of course, one man has been in a league of his own all season - but another driver has surprised in mirroring Kyle Busch's points total over the past nine races. Who is that famous wheelman giving Busch a run for his money? And who's season is suddenly running on life support after a strong early start? See who are some of the worst drivers in the series as of late, and who has an opportunity to kiss the bricks on Sunday by checking out this week's edition of Who's Hot / Who's Not in Sprint Cup.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: 2008 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona Edition

There were fireworks before and after the finish of Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. The multiple late-race cautions helped some and hurt others, causing some changes to our running list of hot or not drivers. Jeff Burton’s consecutive top-15 streak ended at Daytona as Burton was wrecked not once, but twice during the race. Here is this week's look at the hot, the warm, and the cold, after a hot and sticky Saturday night in Daytona Beach. *HOT* *Kyle Busch:* I know that everyone is sick of hearing how great this driver and team are, but there is no denying this fact: Kyle Busch has won on just about every kind of track this year. And -- after winning his sixth race in only 18 starts -- Busch is also on pace to come one short of Jeff Gordon’s amazing 13 race-winning year in 1998. With the victory at Daytona, Busch also extended his points lead to 182 over now second-place Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Busch is now easily poised to make the Chase, and could start with a healthy lead if he wins three or four more races between now and the beginning of September. For those looking for the only chinks in his armor, they come in that he could be peaking at the wrong time and that run-ins, like the one with Montoya at New Hampshiire, could prove costly in the Chase.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at Loudon Edition

Rain just laps from the finish at Loudon was a blessing for a number of teams, who were able to use pit strategy to finish much higher than where they'd run all day. But for as many teams as the rain helped, it hurt plenty of others. Tony Stewart had arguably the best car all day -- leading a race high 132 laps -- but fell to 13th place, while a number of hot streaks came to an end -- including Carl Edwards' string of seven consecutive races with a Top 10 finish. But one streak that will continue on to Daytona this weekend is Jeff Burton's impressive 17-race, Top 15 performance. Burton is among those in this week's "HOT" column; read below to see who else joins him in this week's edition of Who's Hot / Who's Not in Sprint Cup after New Hampshire. *HOT* *Tony Stewart:* If it weren’t for bad luck, Stewart wouldn’t have any luck at all lately. This is the stretch of the season where the former champion traditionally starts to hit his stride, but good finishes that could have been better have held the No. 20 team back just a little. Two weeks ago, he was forced to recover from a late-race spin to finish 10th; this week, it was rain and pit strategy that relegated the race’s lap leader to finish 13th. Stewart did seem emotionally drained in his post-race interview, and many will argue it’s partially due to him exploring his options for next season. But those who think this will be a repeat of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s misfortunes upon deciding to leave the No. 8 last season may need to think again...

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 Save Mart 350K at Sonoma Edition

The Sprint Cup Series' first trip to a road course this season was supposed to provide drivers who typically don't run near the front the opportunity to make a statement. But while drivers like Marcos Ambrose and Ron Fellows appeared to have cars capable of top-10 finishes, it was the usual frontrunners near the top of the leaderboard by the time the day was over -- including race winner Kyle Busch. Busch got back on track this weekend after two poor finishes, but who else stayed "HOT" this week? And what teams near the bottom of the Top 35 appeared to have a shot this weekend at a road course, but still struggled? Check out this week's edition of Who's Hot/Who's Not in Sprint Cup to find out.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 LifeLock 400 at Michigan Edition

The long-awaited first Hendrick-Earnhardt victory finally came this week at Michigan, but it didn't come without controversy. Winning on fuel mileage, the No. 88 team worked some pit strategy to make it to Victory Lane; however, Matt Kenseth and Brian Vickers have criticized Dale Earnhardt Jr. and NASCAR for allowing the eventual winner to pass the pace car under caution. Nevertheless, Junior's win was still well-deserved and certainly earned. And Earnhardt wasn't the only one who enjoyed success at the 2-mile oval; the Red Bull and Roush Fenway teams also had strong runs. Will this hot topic land all three teams on the HOT list this week? Check out this week's edition of Who's Hot/Who's Not in Sprint Cup for the answer.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not In Sprint Cup: 2008 Pocono 500 at Pocono Edition

Pit strategy, pit strategy, and more pit strategy; in what became a 500-mile parade with little passing, Pocono’s race became won or lost by the men behind the wall. For those who made the right calls at the right times, a final restart on lap 181 put them in perfect position to succeed; for others, faulty fuel stops left them agonizing deep in the back of the pack. Through it all, Kasey Kahne stayed above the fray – simply because that No. 9 car was in a league of its own. Building a lead of almost 10 seconds over its nearest competitors, the Budweiser Dodge cruised home to victory over Brian Vickers, scoring its second win in the last three races as Kahne solidified his hold on a spot in the Chase. Who else is on track to follow in his footsteps -- and which guys find any chance at the playoffs slipping from their grasp? Read this week’s version of Who’s Hot/Who’s Not to find out.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2008 Best Buy 400 at Dover Edition

The notorious “Monster Mile” jumped out and attacked the competition Sunday when Elliott Sadler came down on the No. 38 of David Gilliland on lap 18, triggering a massive pileup that ended the days for a number of Chase contenders before they could even get into a rhythm. Aside from Sadler’s blunder, though, it was Kyle Busch who once again stole the headlines by claiming his fourth win of the season. Busch is undoubtedly the hottest driver in the series right now; but how does his start stack up against Jimmie Johnson’s impressive start to 2007? Check out this week’s edition of Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup to find out, as well as which of our top 12 contenders were able to take the multi-car crash in stride... or be forced to face the consequences (and the carnage) head on.

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