Hot 20 over the past 10 try to become the hot one over the last 10

26 races down and now the Chase begins. With the points for those in the top dozen reset, it essentially comes down to who will get hot over these last ten events and claim the season crown.

Denny Hamlin leads Jimmie Johnson by ten as they venture to New Hampshire on Sunday. Sure, neither have exactly been blazing a trail to the title just yet, though Hamlin thawed out to win last week and both have done very well at the Loudon track.

Carl Edwards has been the hot hand in recent weeks, but he has never won at the New England venue. Tony Stewart and every other Chaser, with the exception of Matt Kenseth, have visited that Victory Lane at least once. Jeff Burton has been there four times. It would be a good time for the invisible man to take off the bandages and be seen.

Clint Bowyer has sure been noticed in recent weeks, and for good reason. Kyle Busch seems to be waking from his slumber, while brother Kurt has six top tens in ten weeks. His misfortune is that when he isn’t up front, he is somewhere near the back of the pack.

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Then there are those previewing for 2011. Juan Pablo Montoya, Jamie McMurray, and David Reutimann have been among our best in recent weeks. Can they go from being considered pretenders to potential contenders by the time we go into winter hibernation?

As they begin the Chase, here are our top 20 over the past ten events…

1 (2) Carl Edwards – 1495 pts – 5 Top Fives, 8 Top Tens
Some cousins are kissin’, some are flippin’

2 (1) Tony Stewart – 1434 pts – 1 Win, 4 Top Fives, 7 Top Tens
Does this make Tony the under dog?

3 (3) Kevin Harvick – 1389 pts – 2 Wins, 5 Top Fives, 6 Top Tens
It has been fun till now, but the real season is about to begin.

4 (5) Jeff Burton – 1363 pts – 3 Top Fives, 5 Top Tens
Might wind up being the Kenseth of 2010.

4 (6) Clint Bowyer – 1363 pts – 3 Top Fives, 6 Top Tens
This is another Clint who might dare you to make his day.

6 (4) Jeff Gordon – 1351 pts – 3 Top Fives, 5 Top Tens
Number 5 is alive, but can he keep it that way?
    
7 (12) Juan Pablo Montoya – 1346 pts – 1 Win, 1 Top Five, 5 Top Tens
Too late for this year, but this fall could be a preview of the spring

8 (15) Kyle Busch – 1302 pts – 1 Win, 3 Top Fives, 4 Top Tens
Me thinks this Shrub is heating up to burning Busch status

9 (7) Jamie McMurray – 1260 pts – 1 Win, 3 Top Fives, 4 Top Tens
Maybe this year was just a sneak preview of what is to come.

10 (14) Matt Kenseth – 1254 pts – 1 Top Five, 2 Top Tens
He is here thanks to being no worse than 18th over the past ten.

11 (11) David Reutimann – 1234 pts – 1 Win, 2 Top Fives, 2 Top Tens
See above for an idea as to why, and toss in a win for good measure.

12 (8) Jimmie Johnson – 1233 pts – 1 Win, 3 Top Fives, 4 Top Tens
His trophies are more sequentially appealing than Jeff’s up on the mantle.

13 (13) Ryan Newman – 1229 pts – 3 Top Tens
Not in their Top 12, but could wind up in our’s before the season ends.

14 (16) Kurt Busch – 1219 pts – 2 Top Fives, 5 Top Tens
Either great or awful, it is time to be more of the former than the latter.

15 (9) Greg Biffle – 1166 pts – 1 Win, 3 Top Fives, 5 Top Tens
Three 30-something finishes can keep a good man down.

16 (22) Denny Hamlin – 1159 pts – 1 Win, 3 Top Fives, 4 Top Tens
Could another trip to the bottled shower be coming up at Loudon?

17 (10) Kasey Kahne – 1151 pts – 2 Top Fives, 3 Top Tens
I miss the girls, I miss the good hands guy from 24

18 (20) A.J. Allmendinger – 1109 pts – 1 Top Five, 3 Top Tens
Anagrams of his name include “renal melding” and “gnarled me nil.”

18 (21) Martin Truex Jr – 1109 pts – 2 Top Tens
The only Martin, Truex, or Junior to be found on the list this week

20 (18) Marcos Ambrose – 1096 pts – 2 Top Fives, 3 Top Tens
Down under on the list this week with six of last ten outside the top twenty

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