Hot 20 – Michigan is the focus of this weekend but, apparently, so is France

by Ron Thornton On Wed, Aug. 08, 2018

Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, races Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 13, 2017 in Brooklyn, Michigan. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images.

Bill France. Bill France, Jr. These men were NASCAR.

Smokey Yunick. Maurice Petty. Glen Wood, Leonard Wood. Ray Evernham. These men were NASCAR.

Lee Petty. Richard Petty. Fireball Roberts. Joe Weatherly, Junior Johnson. Bobby Allison. Dale Earnhardt. Cale Yarborough. Darrell Waltrip. Bill Elliott. These men were NASCAR.

Ned Jarrett. Ken Squier. These men were NASCAR.

Tony Stewart. Jeff Gordon. Mark Martin. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Carl Edwards. These men were NASCAR.

Rick Hendrick. Joe Gibbs. Roger Penske. Jack Roush. Richard Childress. These men are NASCAR.

Jimmie Johnson. Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch. Kevin Harvick. Martin Truex, Jr. Denny Hamlin. Brad Keselowski. Kyle Larson. Chase Elliott. These men are NASCAR.

These men, a few women, and so many others made the sport. Were the sport. Are the sport.

Brian France is not NASCAR. There is a reason 97 percent of all family businesses do not survive as such into the fourth generation.

At Michigan on Sunday, NBC’s stellar broadcast crew will once again deliver to our living rooms the people who are NASCAR. Those who matter. The reasons we watch.

Especially our Hot 20. Only 16 spots are open to qualify for a championship run, but a win gets one in and there are only four opportunities left to do just that. Right now, that is the only driving news that matters when it comes to NASCAR.

1. KYLE BUSCH – 6 WINS (934 Pts)
Smokey Yunick would not have let a fueling malfunction stop one of his cars from winning.

2. KEVIN HARVICK – 6 WINS (864 Pts)
Such a terrible day it was at Watkins Glen. He only finished 10th. Only.

3. MARTIN TRUEX JR. – 4 WINS (813 Pts)
Everyone was just thrilled Chase won last week…except for this one.

4. CLINT BOWYER – 2 WINS (703 Pts)
June was a good month to visit Michigan. Hoping August will be just as rewarding.

5. JOEY LOGANO – 1 WIN (691 Pts)
Nice day at the beach at Watkins Glen, though the only water was pouring from his radiator.

6. CHASE ELLIOTT – 1 WIN (619 Pts)
Five Michigan career starts, finishing 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 8th, and 9th. The boy wants another, it seems.

7. ERIK JONES – 1 WIN (572 Pts)
No longer the best 22-year-old driver this season.

8. AUSTIN DILLON – 1 WIN (412 Pts)
A win and you are in. I like that rule, but…

9. KURT BUSCH – 705 POINTS
No charges were issued, yet Brian France once suspended him. Just thought I would mention it.

10. BRAD KESELOWSKI – 670 POINTS
Winning his first of the season in his home state would be sweet.

11. KYLE LARSON – 660 POINTS
Has won three of the last four at Michigan, a string only interrupted by Bowyer two months ago.

12. DENNY HAMLIN – 650 POINTS
New Redskins’ Super Bowl XXVI cap comes 26 years after the original flew out the bus window.

13. RYAN BLANEY – 639 POINTS
As long as he does not drive like Brian France, he will be in the mix after Indianapolis.

14. ARIC ALMIROLA – 602 POINTS
Unlike Canada and Saudi Arabia, Almirola and DiBenedetto have renewed diplomatic relations.

15. JIMMIE JOHNSON – 563 POINTS
I bet you thought Bowyer was the NASCAR guy with the road service ties.

16. ALEX BOWMAN – 523 POINTS
Unless he gives up 18 points per race between now and after Indianapolis, he is in, unless…

17. RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – 461 POINTS
…Ricky or anyone from him down to Matt DiBenedetto can win one of the next four.

18. PAUL MENARD – 451 POINTS
The Wood Brothers auto should be strong at Michigan, but it needs to be the strongest.

19. DANIEL SUAREZ – 434 POINTS
Some actually believe Suarez has a shot this weekend to win. Maybe a small wager is in order.

20. RYAN NEWMAN – 431 POINTS
Won at Michigan once in 2003 and once in 2004. He sure could use another one now.

** 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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