Hot 20 – The Big Three still remain the biggest obstacles for the rest as they hit Dover

by Ron Thornton On Wed, Oct. 03, 2018

Photo by Brad Keppel for SpeedwayMedia.com.

On to Dover this Sunday, and down to a dozen championship contenders. Once again, as we enter the second round of eliminations, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick look solid. So does Martin Truex Jr. Not so for everyone else.

Just ask Aric Almirola and Kyle Larson. If Jimmie Johnson had not wrecked coming to the line and if Jeffrey Earnhardt did not sit idle for as long as he did just shy of it, one of them would have been out. Both lads came into Charlotte between 17 and 23 points to the good, and it almost was not enough.

As for Johnson, he said that, after sleeping on it, he still thought he made the right decision to try to challenge Truex for the win last Sunday. I might disagree, but I am not a well decorated former race car championship winner, so what do I know? Well, if you research why George Custer did what he did at the Little Big Horn, you can see the logic behind his actions. Sadly, the result is all we remember, both for ole George and Jimmie.

The Monster Mile is not exactly one of my favorite venues. On the positive side, the NBC crew is my absolute favorite broadcast team. I do believe those boys and girls can make me watch a soccer game. Okay, as Maury would say, “that was a lie.” Still, it should make for an entertaining broadcast as we begin the round that takes us from Dover, to Talladega, to Kansas.

Let the fun continue.

1. KYLE BUSCH – 3055 POINTS (7 Wins)
“I guess all of us are just stupid” when it came to that late wreck. He was far from alone.

2. KEVIN HARVICK – 3050 POINTS (7 Wins)
If having a dud day means finishing ninth, being a dud sometimes is not bad at all.

3. MARTIN TRUEX JR. – 3038 POINTS (4 Wins)
Sure, he lost his bid for a win, but Johnson lost his bid for a championship.

4. BRAD KESELOWSKI – 3025 POINTS (3 Wins)
Believes the 2019 rules package will equate into closer racing. We shall see. We shall see.

5. CLINT BOWYER – 3015 POINTS (2 Wins)
One outsider who moved to the inside was not tempted to gamble it all away for a win.

6. JOEY LOGANO – 3014 POINTS (1 Win)
Todd Gordon to his driver, “Brad led the army off the cliff” after the late race pileup in Turn 1.

7. KURT BUSCH – 3014 POINTS (1 Win)
Took the pole, finished fifth, avoided being part of Brad’s army. A good day, all in all.

8. RYAN BLANEY – 3013 POINTS (1 Win)
I want to thank Jimmie Johnson for all he did FOR me…and TO Martin Truex Jr.

9. CHASE ELLIOTT – 3008 POINTS (1 Win)
If the new rules package allows the cream to rise, he should like the changes just fine.

10. KYLE LARSON – 3006 POINTS
Next, his pit crew will turn water into wine after just raising that car from the dead.

11. ARIC ALMIROLA – 3001 POINTS
Thanks, Jimmie. I might not have gotten here without you.

12. ALEX BOWMAN – 3000 POINTS
Started last Sunday a point above the bubble, only to now sit 13 points under the bubble.

13. JIMMIE JOHNSON – 2097 POINTS
A bridge…or maybe a chicane…too far.

14. AUSTIN DILLON – 2066 POINTS (1 Win)
Literally went to the wall to keep his playoff hopes alive…but that is what ended them.

15. DENNY HAMLIN – 2053 POINTS
Super sorry I ran into the back of your car, Erik.

16. ERIK JONES – 2041 POINTS (1 Win)
“What the [expletive] are teammates even for?”

17. RYAN NEWMAN – 609 POINTS
Meanwhile, at the kiddie’s table…

18. PAUL MENARD – 570 POINTS
Has not had a good past couple of weeks, and it is doubtful things will get any better at Dover.

19. DANIEL SUAREZ – 566 POINTS
Still searching for a landing spot and Dover has so far been very, very good to him.

20. JAMIE MCMURRAY – 553 POINTS
Anyone want to hire a Top 20 NASCAR driver for next season?

21. RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – 553 POINTS
I guess this is the week for tie-breakers.

** 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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