Hot 20 – Pocono is another non-restrictor plate race, so which one of just four drivers will win it?

Another race, another win for one of the Big Three. Twenty races down and just seven individual drivers with a tick in the win column. That means, at most, 13 drivers could have a victory by the time they decide who makes the Chase. Something tells me we will not reach anywhere close to that number of winners.

Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson might win, looking at the upcoming half dozen events. Then again, it is just as likely Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, or Martin Truex Jr. will add at least another to their personal collections. Pocono is next, and that is where Truex won last month. Busch won it last July. Still, 2016 was split between Kurt Busch and Chris Buescher, so there is hope. Hope is a good thing.

So are good dads. Now, this amused me. A new Xfinity team was formed, and in the announcement for Tullman-Walker Racing it mentioned that among the owners we have Steve Tullman, a successful entrepreneur (in the medicine making business). By some miracle, they were able to secure the services of a 20-year old ARCA driver named…Max Tullman.

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What was so amusing was their determination to avoid stating the obvious, which is a dad with means has bought an opportunity for his talented and dedicated son to advance his dreams. Nothing wrong with that, but not a word about the relationship between the co-owner and the driver. The group is serious, though, even bringing former Dale Earnhardt crew chief Doug Richert along to continue to guide the young driver when they hit the track at Iowa (July 28), Las Vegas (September 15), and Kansas (October 20). Thus far in 2018, the young Tullman has three Top Tens in eight ARCA starts. We will be watching.

We will also be watching this Sunday to see if any numbers other than No. 4, No. 14, No. 18, or No. 78 will mean a damn thing. Other than for the three restrictor-plate races, every one of the other 17 events has been won by a driver with one of those car numbers. Good news for those pulling for a new face in front. Clint Bowyer has never won at Pocono. Neither has Harvick, but he was finished second in four of the last eight there, including both in 2017. It does not look good for the rest of the field, now does it?

Hold on. A car with either a “4” or an “8” might win? Maybe there is hope for Jimmie Johnson after all, if you go by the numbers.

1. KYLE BUSCH – 5 WINS (844 Pts)
The only thing encumbered about his Loudon experience was Harvick riding behind him.

2. KEVIN HARVICK – 5 WINS – 1 E.W. (791 Pts)
Yes, he has six wins, but one does not count when deciding this duel with Rowdy.

3. MARTIN TRUEX JR. – 4 WINS (740 Pts)
Pocono in June. Why not Pocono in July?

4. CLINT BOWYER – 2 WINS (638 Pts)
On non-restrictor race tracks, the Big Three lead Bowyer 15-2. The rest have been shut-out.

5. JOEY LOGANO – 1 WIN (679 Pts)
I wonder if he now knows how fortunate he was to win at Talladega?

6. ERIK JONES – 1 WIN (501 Pts)
On the restrictor plate tracks, Jones, Logano, and Dillon lead the Big Three 3-0.

7. AUSTIN DILLON – 1 WIN (378 Pts)
Daytona is the only reason he is not sitting 19th today.

8. KURT BUSCH – 646 POINTS
No, you go forward, Mr. Blaney. No, no, I insist.

9. BRAD KESELOWSKI – 635 POINTS
In the words of Yosemite Sam, “Whoa camel, whoa, when I say whoa, I mean WHOA.”

10. KYLE LARSON – 606 POINTS
Did the broadcast at Eldora, but does not think Cup cars need to trade pavement for dirt.

11. RYAN BLANEY – 584 POINTS
No, after you, Mr. Busch. Please proceed. By the way, nice paint scheme.

12. DENNY HAMLIN – 583 POINTS
Loudon was his kind of track, but he did not have his kind of day.

13. ARIC ALMIROLA – 575 POINTS
Taking the former Danicamobile to places it has never gone before.

14. JIMMIE JOHNSON – 522 POINTS
If you can’t win, collect points, and that will work at least for a few more weeks.

15. CHASE ELLIOTT – 520 POINTS
No wins, yet during his career 27 percent of the time finds him finishing in the Top Five.

16. ALEX BOWMAN – 453 POINTS
Finishing 11th at New Hampshire helped him widen the gap.

17. RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – 425 POINTS
28 points is a big hill to climb unless Alex puts himself in a ditch.

18. PAUL MENARD – 424 POINTS
If he finishes seventh and Bowman is 37th or worse, then the math works out.

19. RYAN NEWMAN – 379 POINTS
A Top Six was good last week, but he needs a Top One.

20. DANIEL SUAREZ – 359 POINTS
Byron is a point behind, with McMurray just four away.

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