NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not In Nextel Cup: 2007 Auto Club 500 at Fontana Edition

As the Nextel Cup Series put its second race in the books last weekend in California, a state known for wildfires surely did its part to fuel the flames of several of Nextel Cup's hottest drivers. This week's surprising contingent listed as currently burning up the tracks includes a 48-year-old veteran who continues to steal center stage, as well as a 21-year-old rookie using a combination of luck and racing smart to fight his way towards the top of the charts.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not In Nextel Cup: 2007 Auto Club 500 at Fontana Edition

The only smoke at the track wasn't from the leftover Victory Lane celebration; plenty of teams saw their chances for victory go up in flames as the final 50 laps of the race were filled with wrecks, busted sheet metal, and broken spirits. So who left Daytona in a blaze of glory, and who left putting out the flames of rage and disappointment? Read this week's Who's Hot and Who's Not to find out.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Nextel Cup: Pre-2007 Daytona 500 Edition

This week kicks off a brand new season for the Nextel Cup Series. For all the drivers and teams, points reset at zero and the slate is wiped clean, as 51 teams battle for the championship trophy that will be handed out in nine months. But just because everyone's points are the same right now doesn't mean that they're all starting on even ground. There are always a handful of powerhouse organizations already claiming their place at the top, sharing limited space with your perennial underdogs and plenty of teams in the middle striving to make a big splash.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not In Nextel Cup: 2006 Ford 400 at Homestead Edition

After 35 races, over 10,000 laps and countless hours spent behind the wheel, the final race of the season comes down to five drivers from five different organizations battling for the 2006 Nextel Cup championship. There is Jimmie Johnson, the perpetual bridesmaid who has specialized in watching titles slip just out of his grasp; Matt Kenseth, the quiet former champion; Kevin Harvick, the brash driver in search of rewriting NASCAR history; Denny Hamlin, the rookie nobody expected to be this far this fast; and Dale Earnhardt Jr., the fan favorite searching to keep a family tradition alive. Now all that is left is 400 short miles, just 267 laps to decide who will etch their name in the NASCAR history books.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Nextel Cup: 2006 Dickies 500 at Texas Edition

Sunday's Dickies 500 blew through the 2006 Chase standings like a Texas tornado; when the dust settled, no position in the top 10 went unchanged. Who saw their title bid blown off course, and who was left standing after weathering the storm? Read this week's Who's Hot/Who's Not in the Chase to find out.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Nextel Cup: 2006 Bass Pro Shops at Atlanta Edition

While Tony Stewart stole the show in his fittingly colored orange and black Chevy, Chaser Jimmie Johnson hooked onto his back bumper, both to continue his hot streak and take on the role of the kid who steals everyone's candy at the end of the night. Several other Chasers had their share of candy handed out to them, including Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Denny Hamlin; others, like Mark Martin and Kasey Kahne, had their candy ripped right out from under their fingertips. When the smoke cleared from the madness, though, it was Matt Kenseth who was holding the biggest treat of them all... a 26-point lead heading into Texas this Sunday.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not In Nextel Cup: 2006 Dickies 500 at Texas Edition

The tight Martinsville paperclip did its part to keep the points close Sunday, throwing a wrench into the Chase standings with the first seven positions in points changing hands by the end of the day. Which drivers are heating up as the number of races wind down? Read this week's Who's Hot/Who's Not in the Chase to find out.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not In Nextel Cup: 2006 Subway 500 at Martinsville Edition

As the smoke cleared from a wacky weekend of racing, Jeff Burton continued to remain the class of the Chase field, with the rest of his challengers now looking to play catchup in the second half. Heading into Martinsville, second through seventh in the standings are separated by just over 100 points, so any little bump or bang this weekend could send the standings into a tailspin.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not In Nextel Cup: 2006 Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Edition

Other than Jeff Gordon's early exit, the Chase picture wasn't altered much until the final 10 laps of the race. That's when all heck broke loose: Jeff Burton had to pit under green with a flat tire, then Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. became involved in their infamous last lap crash. In those final 30 miles of racing, the entire points picture changed: Burton went from widening his point lead even more to having it cut down to only six, as by the end of the day, everyone but Gordon had gained on him. A race that had produced clear championship favorites the past two seasons now found itself responsible for tightening the points race.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Nextel Cup: 2006 Banquet 400 at Kansas Edition

Jimmie Johnson was blowing by the competition and looked to be heading for a win that could have got him back in the title hunt, but Tony Stewart calmly came in and stole the win away with a little extra fuel. The late-race fuel-mileage gamble left plenty of other Chasers looking for gas - and answers - at the end of the day, in the midst of several other spinouts and mechanical issues that threatened to doom their title hopes.

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