Hot 20 – Dover seats nearly 30,000 fewer fans and now NASCAR wants to reduce the pit crews

I hate change. Even good change can take a while to be appreciated. I did not like the Chase when it came out. I do now. I am still perturbed brand names like Firecracker 400 and World 600 were kicked to the curb to make a sponsor happy who obviously had no appreciation for the traditions of the sport. Then again, neither does NASCAR.

I am not happy that the cars of today no longer look stock, but they are safer and today’s version beats the hell out of the Car of Tomorrow monstrosities. I am bothered by torn down grandstands and hidden attendance figures. I like “Win and You are In,” so even a guy like Chris Buescher has a shot at the brass ring, but now it seems they want to change the size of the pit crew. I find that I do not like the idea all that much.

NASCAR wants to help folks save money, which sounds good to you and me. However, if MLB or the NFL tried reducing their payroll by one to save a buck it probably would come across looking either cheap or desperate to aficionados. Instead of a pit crew of six, it could drop by one for next season. That is a position that maybe pays out between $1000 to $3000 per race, depending on the team and its performance expectations.

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If that guy is a tire changer, then who will put the tire on the hub for the guy with the wrench? Maybe the jackman has to reach over. Maybe he waits for the rest of the rubber to make its way over. Maybe we have 30-second stops. Maybe the tire guy carries two at a time. Maybe we finally have an opening for gorillas in NASCAR. Oh, safety is another concern, to reduce the number of folks out there on the asphalt. That excuse sounds so much better than “some racing teams are so tight for cash that one paycheck could make a difference.”

Winning it all comes with a pretty good paycheck. However, to be eligible at Homestead, one has to still be in contention after Dover. Four more of our Hot 20 become also-rans as they reduce the number to 12 on Sunday.

1. MARTIN TRUEX JR. – 1 SEGMENT WIN (2086 Pts)
Sit on a guitar, then try to fit it through the templates. Harvick sat on his guitar in Chicago.

2. KEVIN HARVICK – 1 SEGMENT WIN (2071 Pts)
Keelan is happy with another trophy, Dad is happy with his free pass to the next round.

3. BRAD KESELOWSKI – 2087 PTS
If you drive hard, damage car, fail post-race inspection, you get penalized…or so he thought.

4. KYLE BUSCH – 2085 PTS
Not locked in, but a 33 point advantage sure beats hanging on by one.

5. MATT KENSETH – 2078 PTS
Funny, when Logano once tried to pass Kenseth it did not work as well as it did for Harvick.

6. JOEY LOGANO – 2073 PTS
To describe how bad his 11th place car was at Loudon, they had it put down right after the race.

7. DENNY HAMLIN – 2071 PTS
Rolling, rolling, rolling, keep that damn tire from rolling…Hamlin got the raw end of that.

8. JIMMIE JOHNSON – 2070 PTS
With 10 victories, the most by any driver ever at Dover

9. CARL EDWARDS – 2068 PTS
NASCAR claims Edwards has commitment issues…at least late at Loudon.

10. CHASE ELLIOTT – 2068 PTS
If this is what he can do at 20, imagine him with a bit more experience.

11. KURT BUSCH – 2067 PTS
First Top Five in 10 weeks sure came at the right time last Sunday.

12. KYLE LARSON – 2057 PTS
In 10 Dover starts in Cup and XFINITY, his worst finish is 11th (June 1, 2014, Cup race).

13. AUSTIN DILLON – 2052 PTS
Beat Larson by six at Dover and mission accomplished…unless Jamie or Tony wins.

14. JAMIE MCMURRAY – 2052 PTS
Take four fresh ones and then charge up the field…well, it sounded good in theory.

15. TONY STEWART – 2046 PTS
If Tony wins, he is in…or if he has a good day and the trio ahead of him do not.

16. CHRIS BUESCHER – 2027 PTS
Hey, it was fun while it lasted. Still, he got more coverage lately than Clint or Danica…

17. KASEY KAHNE – 699 PTS
…or Kasey, for that matter.

18. RYAN NEWMAN – 676 PTS
I hear there will be an opening with HScott Motorsports next season.

19. RYAN BLANEY – 642 PTS
Decent year that saw Blaney drive his first full season for a team back to full-time after a decade.

20. A.J. ALLMENDINGER – 627 PTS
JTG Daugherty Racing is not among the big boys in resources, so just being on this list is a win.

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