Welcome to the Eeyore edition of the Hot 20. Last week, it was Daytona. That was the Happy Snoopy Dance version. This Saturday night, it is Kentucky. My level of excitement is slightly subdued.
It is not as if there is nothing to watch for. Clint Bowyer might like a win, but he is not quite yet in desperate straits. Matt Kenseth might and with Joey Logano just three points behind him, a win or just a much better day than the one his rival experiences would be sweet. Logano would be fine except for the fact five guys below him in points have wins and Joey’s victory counts for nothing.
Kenseth won in Kentucky in 2013, and could sure use another. Kyle Busch has a pair there, in 2011 and 2015, but his points total sure looks good enough despite him being winless. In 2012, 2014, and 2016, the winner was Brad Keselowski. Other than to chalk up some more playoff points, he needs it like I need to gain another 20 pounds.
If a 2017 race winner wins again, it could be pretty ho-hum. If someone 11th through 15th takes the prize, that would be nice. However, if someone 16th or beyond claims the contest Saturday night, Kentucky just might turn out to be mighty interesting indeed.
Of course, like Eeyore, I can be content in the knowledge that things could always be worse. Not sure how, but they could be.
1. JIMMIE JOHNSON – 3 WINS (516 Pts)
If this racing thing doesn’t pan out, he could always be a salesman. He is quite the pedaler.
2. KYLE LARSON – 2 WINS (667 Pts)
Top gun in points, has a pair of wins, and soon might not be known as the “other” Kyle.
3. MARTIN TRUEX JR. – 2 WINS (649 Pts)
According to Las Vegas, this is your favorite for Sparta’s big race.
4. BRAD KESELOWSKI – 2 WINS (535 Pts)
Ignore Thornton. “I am Sparta!”
5. RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – 2 WINS (395 Pts)
Wins at Talladega and Daytona. Who the hell does he think he is, Jamie McMurray?
6. KEVIN HARVICK – 1 WIN (557 Pts)
Has not yet won at Pocono, Texas, or Kentucky. Time to break out the bucket list.
7. RYAN BLANEY – 1 WIN (435 Pts)
Backward flip into a pool after signing a giant rubber duck. That was his Daytona experience.
8. KURT BUSCH – 1 WIN (408 Pts)
Said Junior had the car to beat last week…and, by God, they beat it real good.
9. RYAN NEWMAN – 1 WIN (399 Pts)
I am starting to think that they keep Newman locked up in a dark room between races.
10. AUSTIN DILLON – 1 WIN (323 Pts)
Darlington might be three months away, but his paint scheme that day will be so sweet.
11. KYLE BUSCH – 559 POINTS
Doesn’t need a third Kentucky win. He just wants it.
12. CHASE ELLIOTT – 524 POINTS
Upset with McDowell, but will keep it civil. I mean, Michael is just too damn big not to.
13. JAMIE MCMURRAY – 504 POINTS
If he is not finishing in the Top Fifteen, it means he crashed.
14. DENNY HAMLIN – 498 POINTS
How this race differs from the Daytona 500? If he wins Saturday, the car won’t be up on display.
15. CLINT BOWYER – 469 POINTS
Not locked in just yet, but feeling pretty confident.
16. MATT KENSETH – 445 POINTS
Not so confident, but he is one of three who has won in Kentucky before.
17. JOEY LOGANO – 442 POINTS (1 W)
It has been a while since a race winner was sitting outside a Chase place.
18. ERIK JONES – 386 POINTS
Has it much easier at an autograph session than, say, Brad Keselowski.
19. DANIEL SUAREZ – 354 POINTS
Maybe…just maybe…we have the first Mexican Olympic bobsleigh champion right here.
20. TREVOR BAYNE – 351 POINTS
A Bayne win Saturday would even make Eeyore smile.