Who’s Hot / Who’s Not

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not In Nextel Cup: 2008 UAW-Dodge 400 at Las Vegas Edition

In what was a much smoother race weekend than the on again/off again rain debacle last weekend in California, the story in Vegas wound up with a similar ending. As the checkered flag flew, it was Carl Edwards once again winding up in Victory Lane, cementing his status as the hottest driver in the Cup series right out of the box. But who else left Vegas with a boatload of cash and momentum? And on the flip side, who's currently in gambling purgatory -- needing good runs in the next two weeks to steer clear of the dreaded Top 35 bubble position in car owner points? To see the latest trends in Sprint Cup, as well as what to expect next Sunday in Atlanta, check out this week's edition of Who's Hot/Who's Not.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not In Nextel Cup: 2008 Auto Club 500 at Fontana Edition

With the win, Carl Edwards recorded Roush Fenway's fourth consecutive spring race win at the 2-mile oval, while Jimmie Johnson followed up his win in the fall race last year with a second-place run in his return to his home track. It was a long week for drivers, teams, and fans alike; but for some in particular, the weekend couldn't have been any longer. At the same time, other drivers followed up great runs at Daytona with solid efforts again this week, becoming some of the select few happy to be in Ontario in the first place. To see who was basking in the California sun Monday afternoon and who simply couldn't wait to get home, 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 Daytona 500 Edition

As the closing laps of the Daytona 500 came winding down, it was two drivers who hadn't necessarily been contenders for the majority of the race who teamed up for a 1-2 finish. The Penske cars of Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman are obviously two of the hottest cars coming out of Daytona, but who else is satisfied with their performance in the Great American Race? Who is already behind the 8-ball after just one race? Come in and find out in 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 Preview Edition

The last time we were in Florida for a race, Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team were basking in a sea of confetti after winning their second consecutive Sprint Cup title at Homestead-Miami Speedway. A lot has changed since that historic day in November; there's been a powerful addition to the Toyota camp, and the sport's most popular driver debuted with Johnson's organization in convincing fashion during Saturday's Budweiser Shootout. Those are just two of a number of storylines and questions heading into 2008 -- some will have to wait to be answered, while some may be answered here.

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Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in the Chase: 2007 Checker Auto Parts 500k at Phoenix Edition

As the song by Herman's Hermits says, "second verse, same as the first." Well, in this case, the third and fourth verse are the same, too. Jimmie Johnson continued to make the Chase a bore by scoring his fourth straight win in Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500K, extending his lead to 86 over Jeff Gordon with just one race remaining on the schedule. But even with this second championship seemingly in hand, Johnson still has to survive at Homestead before he gets his hands on the big check. And while all eyes will firmly be on Johnson and Gordon, there are other drivers in the Chase peaking late in the season who are looking to end the year with a win.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not: Outside The Chase After the 2007 Checker Auto Parts 500k at Phoenix

While admirable performances were put in by a handful of teams, Sunday's final results leaned heavily in favor of the playoff participants - again. For the second straight week, eight of the top 10 finishers were also among the top 12 in Nextel Cup points, making it difficult to argue that any of the Chasers didn't deserve to be ranked amongst NASCAR's elite. But what about those drivers left behind? Now, just one race remains for any of them to salvage seasons that clearly didn't turn out the way they intended. With time running out, who can defy the odds, putting together their best impression of a Happy Ending? And which teams have put themselves in a hole too deep to dig out of, not just for this year, but the beginning of the next? Read on to find out Who's Hot and Who's Not, outside the Chase for the Championship.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not: Outside The Chase after the 2007 Dickies 500 at Texas

The Lone Star State proved a lonely place for drivers out of the playoffs Sunday, as nine Chase drivers finished the race in the top 11. One by one, some of the best hopes to sneak an upset win at Texas crashed themselves out of contention, showing instead why this wasn't the year they proved capable of challenging for that championship trophy. But amidst the smoke of an ugly day for this large group of underdogs, some longtime veterans kept up steady streaks that left them leaving with a Texas-sized smile. Who were they, and what man ahead of them is charging hard to stake his claim on the 13th spot in the standings? Find out below in this week's edition of Who's Hot, and Who's Not, non-Chase style.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not In The Chase: 2007 Dickies 500 at Texas Edition

They say everything is bigger and better in Texas, and that adage certainly proved true for Jimmie Johnson, as he continued his quest for back-to-back Nextel Cup championships. Once again, Johnson and the No. 48 team found themselves at the front of the field when it came down to money time, as he ran down Matt Kenseth in the closing laps to score his ninth win of the season and third in a row. Not even his teammate/co-owner/mentor Jeff Gordon can seem to tame the No. 48 juggernaut; with just two races remaining on the schedule, he's fallen behind his streaky teammate.

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Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in the Chase: 2007 Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Edition

No matter what you think of the ending, once the smoke cleared there was certainly no surprise up front; the Gordon/Johnson juggernaut had tightened its grip on the competition. It was Johnson who fared the better of the two, scoring his series-leading eighth win of the year to narrow the deficit to just nine points behind Jeff Gordon as the series heads to Texas. But could that monopoly on Victory Lane end this weekend, as the Nextel Cup boys head to a track where neither Jimmie Johnson or Gordon have won? Cinderella Clint Bowyer is hoping for just that, perhaps the only other driver within striking distance as the championship prepares to enter its final set of turns.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not: Outside The Chase after the 2007 Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta

Sunday's race at Atlanta had about as wacky a finish as you're going to get. Water in the fuel tanks, wily maneuvers on pit road, and the wheels coming off of people's solid runs - literally - left most of us hanging in disbelief by the time the checkered flag flew. It was one of those times where Lady Luck trumped the best laid plans for a solid handful of teams who had spent their days running up front, giving those who didn't quite deserve it the break they needed to finish ahead of them.

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