Hot 20 – Kenseth to miss Texas and Phoenix after facing NASCAR justice (pending appeals)

Bad boy and bad girl. It would seem NASCAR is an equal opportunity disciplinarian, as both Matt Kenseth and Danica Patrick got slapped for aggressive driving at Martinsville. In short, they purposely ran into people with bad intentions.

Gone for two, including the races in Texas and Phoenix, is Kenseth for taking out Joey Logano in mobster style last week. Nine laps down he plucked the front running Logano out of the mix and bulldozed him into the wall. As I write this, Kenseth is appealing his penalty, though I would be surprised if any change in his sentence is forthcoming.

There are those hand ringers who figure this was an awful thing. I do not agree. In fact, I think I just became a Kenseth fan for life. The way I see it, all he did was tune in a mouthy little twerp who danced all over his accomplishment of knocking the former champ out of the way back in Kansas, robbing Kenseth of his best shot at continuing in the Chase. You do not celebrate causing another’s misfortune unless you want karma to come back and bite you in the ass.

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Now, you might suspect that I am no fan of Logano. That would be correct, but my feelings toward the man are based only on perception. If I knew him and ran into him on a weekly basis and could not stand him, that is one thing. The truth is, we have never met, and if I had the chance to sit down with Logano for a couple of hours over some adult pops, I might end up a fan of his for life, too. Instead, my feelings toward him, along with those of most of you, are based only on a perception, and that perception just leaves me ice cold.

As for Patrick, her temper was anything but cold. It warranted her picking up a behavioral penalty for using her car to rearrange parts of that driven by David Gilliland at Martinsville. That cost her $50,000 and 25 points.

Both penalties, by the way, are justified, though I do not condemn their actions. They felt they needed to do something, they did what they did, and now have to pay the piper. End of story.

This column takes a break next week but returns to set the table as the boys and girl venture into Homestead to wrap things up for the season. Just in time to see the return of a certain bad boy to the track. My hero, at least for the moment.

Our Hot 20 during the Chase, and only the Chase, to date include…

1. JOEY LOGANO – 3 Wins, 265 Points
Joey might be the best in the Chase, but Kenseth seemed more than able to chase him down.

2. JEFF GORDON – 1 Win, 260
Do you believe in fairy tales with happy endings?

3. CARL EDWARDS – 257
It has been seven years since he won his third at Texas.

4. DENNY HAMLIN – 1 Win, 248
Could have still been in the hunt himself except for Harvick’s actions at Talladega.

5. MARTIN TRUEX JR. – 247
If NASCAR is going all “wild west,” shouldn’t that well suit a team from Denver?

6. RYAN NEWMAN – 231
Being outside the Chase, he shouldn’t feel the need to repeat last year’s move at Phoenix.

7. KYLE BUSCH – 224
Four Top Fives, including a win, in last five attempts at Texas, bodes well for Sunday.

8. BRAD KESELOWSKI – 221
How things change. Just a year ago the Feud of the Week involved Brad and Jeff.

9. KURT BUSCH – 217
Can pick either Kenseth or Keselowski to blame for his tribulations last week.

10. DALE EARNHARDT JR. – 215
Jeff cheered for winning, Matt cheered for creaming Logano, Junior cheered for being Junior.

11. KEVIN HARVICK – 1 Win, 214
After Matt’s little adventure, we did not hear much from Harvick. Trevor Bayne wonders why?

12. JAMIE MCMURRAY – 201
Not a contender but he has become relevant.

13. RICKY STENHOUSE, JR. – 196
Not among the Top Twenty heading into the Chase, but some groundwork is being laid for 2016.

14. KASEY KAHNE – 195
Four Top Tens during the Chase, but 19th at Talladega, 24th in Chicago, dead last at Charlotte.

15. MATT KENSETH – 1 Win, 185
I once thought Matt was as boring as white bread…but not anymore!

16. GREG BIFFLE – 185
The worst season of his career still the best Roush-Fenway has this year.

17. ARIC ALMIROLA – 184
Ranked 17th on the season, 17th during the Chase events. Not great, but he is consistent.

18. KYLE LARSON – 184
Newman’s berth to Homestead last year went through Larson…literally.

19. JIMMIE JOHNSON – 181
Are we there yet?

20. PAUL MENARD – 177
He always wanted to have the same success as Jimmie, but this is not quite what he envisioned.

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