NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not

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

The halfway point of the Chase at Lowe's brought with it a reality check to several men no longer in the hunt for a championship. For drivers like Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, and Kevin Harvick, their one-time title dreams turned into nightmares filled with enough broken parts and pieces to start a junkyard. On the contrary, for others it was a case of too little, too late, as strong runs by Jeff Burton and Kyle Busch didn't even make a dent in deficiencies that seem far too steep to overcome.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in the Chase: 2007 UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Edition

A handful of Chasers, including Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch, got dragged into a fall mess of mangled machinery coming out of turn 4, all caused when Bobby Labonte simply lost control and spun out in front of the field. The results really jumbled up the Chase standings; for when the smoke cleared, all title contenders figured out just two men had left the rest of them eating their own dust. It was all par for the course in another restrictor-plate roller coaster ride that left engines burning up, Chasers on life support, and fans sitting on the edge of their seats for a last-lap shootout to the finish.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not: Outside the Chase After the 2007 UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega

With the spotlight on the top 12 drivers in the standings, it's sometimes easy to forget that 31 others take to the track each weekend in pursuit of a long-sought after victory... but that's what the purpose of this column is for. With another Chase race under our belts, it's time to take a look at how some of the non-Chasers performed in Talladega this Sunday. The first Car of Tomorrow race at the superspeedway produced its share of opportunities for drivers looking to make a name for themselves; in the first three-quarters of the event, championship contenders steered themselves out of harm's way, leaving their non-Chase brethren busy setting the pace up front. As the laps wound down, that pace picked up... but that doesn't mean every man from the lead pack was forced to relinquish their spot to a driver fighting for a title. With that in mind, let's take a look at Who's Hot, and Who's Not, Non-Chase style following the UAW-Ford 500...

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in the Chase: 2007 Lifelock 400 at Kansas Edition

After a wild and wacky weekend at Kansas, people are still trying to figure out who won the race, let alone what the ramifications were on top of the Chase standings. However, as the dust settles and reality sets in that Greg Biffle snagged the win - fair or unfair - the focus should switch to just how clearly the title Chase unfolded after a rain-shortened, crash-filled frenzy in the Midwest. After six drivers were within 28 points heading into the event, now just two are within 114 of new Chase leader Jimmie Johnson - superstar Jeff Gordon and surprise Clint Bowyer. Everyone else got swept up by a Kansas tornado; in fact, half the title contenders finished 35th or worse, putting their Chase hopes in serious doubt heading to Talladega and beyond.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not: Outside the Chase After the 2007 Lifelock 400 at Kansas

With the spotlight on the top 12 drivers in the standings each week, it's sometimes easy to forget that 31 others take to the track each weekend in pursuit of a long-sought after victory... but that's what the purpose of this column is for. With another Chase race under our belts, it's time to take a look at how some of the non-Chasers performed in Kansas this past weekend. Now, to say Sunday's race was crazy would be a bit of an understatement; weather, accidents, and plain bad luck ruined the days of many participants. As a result, seven of the Chasers experienced trouble, leaving many of those not in the NASCAR playoffs available to steal the headlines. With that in mind, let's take a look at Who's Hot, and Who's Not, Non-Chase style...

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in the Chase: 2007 Dodge Dealers at Dover Edition

When looking at the schedule of the 10 races in the Chase, most people would have pointed to Talladega as the track where both wrecks and bad luck could turn the tide in the championship. But in Dover on Sunday, it was the Monster Mile played tough as the new Talladega asphalt, taking a swing at some of the biggest names in the sport - and making contact. By the end of the day, 13 caution flags had waved, and four Chasers found themselves finishing 20th or lower. As is always the case when some people find misfortune, others reap the benefits.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not: Outside the Chase After the 2007 Dodge Dealers 400 at Dover

Tension proved its existence at Dover, as a Kyle Petty - Denny Hamlin crash resulted in an off-track altercation, a special run by Roush Fenway Racing's "forgotten man" nearly resulted in a win, and an old legend of the sport, Mark Martin, came up with his best finish since Daytona. So, as the series moves on to the Midwest for this weekend, which drivers are best suited to make the most noise on the Kansas prairies? Read on to find out who in this week's edition of Who's Hot/Who's Not, outside the Chase. One note before we begin, unlike our regular edition, we only highlight six drivers in this edition of Who's Hot/Who's Not, which means to make the list, you need to really be on fire (or ice cold, for that matter).

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not In the Chase: 2007 Sylvania 300 at Loudon Edition

One race down... nine races to go. After his dominating performance on Sunday, Clint Bowyer has to be asking himself what the big deal is about all this Chase pressure everyone kept talking to him about. The only winless driver in the playoffs, he threw that status right out the window Sunday, coming out of the gates strong to score the first victory of his Cup career and climbing to fourth in points in the process. But Bowyer didn't stand alone in his success. In fact, the top seven finishing positions on Sunday went to drivers within the Chase field; only three ended the day outside the top 15, leaving the 12-car lineup more tightly bunched at this juncture than ever before.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not OUTSIDE The Chase: 2007 Sylvania 300 at Loudon Edition

Which one of the non-Chasers is in the best position to spoil the championship party at Dover? Read on to find out who in this week's edition of Who's Hot/Who's Not, outside the Chase. One note before we begin, unlike our regular edition, we only highlight six drivers in this edition of Who's Hot/Who's Not, which means to make the list, you need to really be on fire (or ice cold, for that matter).

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in the Chase: 2007 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond Edition

Now that Dale Earnhardt Jr. watch is over, the focus over the last 10 races of the year will be on the 12 drivers making a run for the Nextel Cup championship. With his second straight victory, Jimmie Johnson put the competition on notice that they will have to take on the No. 48 team in order to take the trophy that they earned last season. But with six of the Chase drivers finishing in the top 10 at Richmond, many others are proving to be up to the challenge of trying to take down the top seed. So, who left Richmond riding high and ready for battle, and which drivers walked away wishing they had a little more time to prepare? Read this week's Who's Hot and Who's Not in the Chase for the Championship to find out.

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