Hot 20 – Saturday night is an evening with the classic that is Richmond

by Ron Thornton On Wed, Apr. 18, 2018

Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, leads a pack of cars during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 30, 2017 in Richmond, Virginia. Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images.

We truly are in a sweet spot in the NASCAR schedule. Last Sunday (and Monday) it was Bristol. This Saturday night they race at Richmond. We conclude April with the test that is Talladega. Action good enough to convince anyone who enjoys pure entertainment to become attracted to the sport. At least, until Dover. Then again, that is a pretty cool trophy they hand out there.

Fans are talking about the Ford Fusion making way next season for the iconic Ford Mustang. There are few car models that instantly recall power and speed. There is a reason we again have the Chevy Camaro. We yearn for the Dodge Charger. Plymouth is gone, but we remember the Barracuda. It will be nice to see at least one more of those classic nameplates making a return to the sport.

Fan voting for the All-Star race pass is open. Eleven full-time drivers are eligible for having won the Cup title or a previous All-Star event. Five more are in due to having won a race since 2017. That leaves those who have not yet qualified to win at Richmond, Talladega, Dover, or Kansas, or one of three segments in the Monster Energy Open qualifying race, or get the most votes from fans among those not yet qualified. Deadline for voting is May 18.

Among our Hot 20, that leaves Aric Almirola, Erik Jones, Alex Bowman, Paul Menard, William Byron, and A.J. Allmendinger still seeking a berth. Outsiders on the outside of both include Darrell Wallace Jr., Chase Elliott, and Daniel Suarez.

Maybe that might change Saturday night in Richmond.

1. KYLE BUSCH – 2 WINS – 365 Pts
The best driver ever? Talk to me in about 15 more wins.

2. KEVIN HARVICK – 2 WINS (1 E.W.) – 290 Pts
Nothing runs like a Ford…a Ford Mustang that is. See you in 2019.

3. CLINT BOWYER – 1 WIN – 286 Pts
If you are as wacky a fan as Bowyer is a driver, Ford’s Hall of Fans wants to hear from you.

4. MARTIN TRUEX JR. – 1 WIN – 257 Pts
Start 450…which ranks 50th all-time.

5. AUSTIN DILLON – 1 WIN – 183 Pts
I thought Dillon was a good guy…and then I saw the color of his hat.

6. JOEY LOGANO – 306 POINTS
Adjustment to being a dad, “It’s a lot more than taking wedge out, I can tell you that much.”

7. BRAD KESELOWSKI – 271 POINTS
Sunday was good, Monday started well, but then came the fade, the tire, and the wall.

8. RYAN BLANEY – 267 POINTS
Considering what happened on Sunday, I wonder where Blaney spent his Monday?

9. DENNY HAMLIN – 252 POINTS
Best solution to the crap pit gun problem “is providing reliable equipment.”

10. KYLE LARSON – 249 POINTS
On Monday, he experienced one Kyle too many.

11. KURT BUSCH – 241 POINTS
Richmond has new garages and a media center but is probably more interested in Victory Lane.

12. ARIC ALMIROLA – 211 POINTS
The Cuban Missile invites Richmond fans to say hello to his little friend…as he drives off.

13. ERIK JONES – 209 POINTS
Erik. It is spelled the way a true Viking would spell it. A Viking from Michigan.

14. ALEX BOWMAN – 190 POINTS
Bowman. With a name like that he damn well better be driving a Chevy. No Bowties on a Ford.

15. RYAN NEWMAN – 181 POINTS
Team success is great, but personal success is even better… “this is a selfish sport, right?”

16. PAUL MENARD – 170 POINTS
His crew practices competitive frisbee tossing by catching tires…on rims.

17. JIMMIE JOHNSON – 169 POINTS
Now, if you want to talk about one of the best ever, we can start with him.

18. RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – 162 POINTS
Crew chief fined $10,000 for a loose lug nut. Can you buy a decent pit gun for $10,000?

19. WILLIAM BYRON – 154 POINTS
I don’t know. Billy Byron has a nice ring to it, but it is not near as stoic as William.

20. A.J. ALLMENDINGER – 150 POINTS
Will be at the Kroger store at 9351 Atlee Road, Mechanicsville, Virginia today at 5:30 p.m.

** The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the publisher. All comments other than website related problems need to be directed to the author. (c)SpeedwayMedia.com. **

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