Jimmie Johnson remains our hot dog as the action swings to Talladega, Alabama this weekend. Both Carl Edwards and Clint Bowyer would have been regulated to third except for a certain rear end housing. Two in fact.
Roger Penske is still appealing the 25-point penalties and suspensions that cost the teams and crews of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano. They lost the first round this week, but have one more shot to have the sanctions altered when they meet next week with NASCAR’s Appellate Officer John Middlebrook. Penske says the parts at the center of the issue were approved by NASCAR, while the organization says they were not presented in “a completed form/assembly…” for consideration. In short, a part might be fine, but how that part is used in conjunction with other parts might not be. It is similar to having approval to drive after seven beers over the course of a week, but having them all within one hour of that week might not be. The devil is in the details, I guess.
While our Hot 20 chart only dwells on the past ten races, it does allow us a glimpse at the direction any driver is going. In the case of Tony Stewart, the trend is that the bottom appears to be dropping out. In fact, Stewart is one point off this list, right behind Mark Martin, a driver who has appeared in only nine of those events. With this kind of luck, no wonder Stewart got hot when Kurt Busch bumped him out of a Top Ten spot at Richmond to leave him once again an also ran.
While some usual suspects are among our warm wheel men, Aric Almirola probably was not a pre-season pick to be amongst them. The driver of the iconic #43 is just outside the Top Ten in the standings with three Top Tens over the course of the past three.
As for who might be hot enough to win on Sunday, Bowyer has done well at Talladega. While the boy from Kansas has claimed a Top Ten in five of the past six there, Keselowski and Kevin Harvick have three Top Fives to their credit over the same term.
|Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||331||4||0||3||7|
|Martin Truex, Jr.||270||14||0||2||4|