Hot 20 – If you are looking for hot, usually there is no better place to find it than Las Vegas

by Ron Thornton On Wed, Feb. 28, 2018

Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John's Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 25, 2018 in Hampton, Georgia. Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images.

The general consensus is that Atlanta was a boring race. I disagree. Let me share as to why.

There is no debate that Kevin Harvick had the best car, that based on performance his was the auto that should have won. However, when drama was needed we had weather and strategy apparently conspiring to beat him. Would it rain? Would Denny Hamlin be in front at the right time when the heavens opened up? Well, “nope” turned out to be the correct answer to both questions. Sure, only 13 cars were left on the lead lap when it ended, but as I tend to feel a measure of joy when most drivers win, I can appreciate pure dominance.

Now, what if Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, or Joey Logano were in Harvick’s position, one might ask. Well, that race would have truly sucked. Hey, should I open my front door and any one, two, or three of that trio were to be standing there with a case of beer in hand, I would welcome them in with open arms, and a bottle opener. However, I just do not feel much joy when one of those gents wins a race. Nothing personal or terribly complex. To be honest, after the sharing of suds, I do not doubt my feelings toward them would change to the positive. It just has not happened yet. Hold on…do I hear the doorbell?

Often, a cold brew can help ease a mighty warm day in Las Vegas. Our Hot 20 will be out to try and turn up the heat this Sunday.

1. KEVIN HARVICK – 1 WIN – 75 PTS
A one-man show in Atlanta. What has he got this weekend? Hopefully all his lug nuts.

2. AUSTIN DILLON – 1 WIN – 70 PTS
With his Daytona win, he can now concentrate on stage points. It worked for Truex.

3. JOEY LOGANO – 89 POINTS
Points do not lock one into the Playoffs just yet, but they are an indicator as to how good you are.

4. RYAN BLANEY – 83 POINTS
Had himself a face full of Suarez last week, and he did not seem to love it.

5. DENNY HAMLIN – 77 POINTS
Golf or basketball anyone? Apparently, he still has a vacancy in his leagues.

6. CLINT BOWYER – 74 POINTS
In the final year of his deal, but Bowyer is no Patrick…and in this case, that is a good thing.

7. MARTIN TRUEX JR. – 69 POINTS
The first of eight in 2017 was won in Las Vegas. Time to let ‘er ride and double down.

8. KURT BUSCH – 68 POINTS
Won the Daytona 500 last year, made the Playoffs, and sunk from view.

9. PAUL MENARD – 66 POINTS
Not a name on everyone’s lips, but if he can stay up here, folks will learn about it.

10. ARIC ALMIROLA – 66 POINTS
Danica Who?

11. KYLE BUSCH – 61 POINTS
Wheels on the truck went round and round and left. Crew suspensions limited to that series.

12. BRAD KESELOWSKI – 58 POINTS
Looked mighty strong last week, but he was also looking at Harvick’s tail lights the whole time.

13. KYLE LARSON – 54 POINTS
The oddsmakers see this Kyle as one of the top five favorites for Sunday.

14. DARRELL WALLACE JR. – 52 POINTS
Petty blue replaced by Cosmopolitan purple for this weekend.

15. MICHAEL MCDOWELL – 52 POINTS
Just 22 starts in quality equipment but none this season…or might we have to rethink that?

16. RYAN NEWMAN – 49 POINTS
Started strong, got tight, had a tire go down, then slapped the wall. That’s about it.

17. ALEX BOWMAN – 46 POINTS
Bowman of 2018 is still better than Junior of 2017. He just needs time to build the fan base.

18. CHRIS BUESCHER – 45 POINTS
Atlanta was a step back. Has JTG-Daugherty arrived, or is this the rise before the fall?

19. CHASE ELLIOTT – 44 POINTS
“We have a lot of work to do.”

20. RICKY STENHOUSE, JR. – 43 POINTS
If you are looking for Jimmie Johnson, he is 15 spots further down the well.

** 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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