NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not

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/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. 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. 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.

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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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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in the Chase: 2007 Subway 500 at Martinsville Edition

The Hendrick stronghold on the Chase for the Championship tightened Sunday at Martinsville, as Jimmie Johnson scored his series-high seventh win of the season. Not to be totally outdone, teammate Jeff Gordon finished third, maintaining a 53-point lead over Johnson in what has quickly become a two-man race for the championship. As things stand right now, it's the Gordon/Johnson show down the stretch, with Clint Bowyer barely holding on in a possible spoiler role for yet another week.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not: Outside the Chase after the 2007 Subway 500 at Martinsville

Which drivers kept their hot streaks intact, and which ones found themselves skidding to a halt on the hard concrete surface of a paperclip slugfest turned Demolition Derby? Read on to find out who's heating up and cooling down among the non-Chase drivers heading to Atlanta this weekend...

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not: Outside the Chase After the 2007 Bank of America 500 at Charlotte

Lowe's Motor Speedway is a 1.5-mile oval that has a reputation for going fast and wrecking hard; Saturday night's race proved no exception to that rule. As such, it's time to take a look at how a myriad of non-Chasers performed under the lights in NASCAR's hometown of Charlotte, N.C. Let's take a look at Who's Hot, and Who's Not, non-Chase style...

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