Hot 20 over the past 10 – Some appear set to Chase for a title, others for a possible run in 2011

Kyle Busch may have swept Bristol last weekend, but the firm of Harvick, Stewart, and Gordon remain the trio with the hot hand as the Chase begins in less than a month. You might consider Carl Edwards as a junior partner, having a pretty good run going for himself over the past seven events.

It is interesting to note that we have a quartet of drivers doing well as of late who probably won’t even make the Chase. Kasey Kahne, Jamie McMurray, David Reutimann and Juan Pablo Montoya might not be winning any titles this year, yet they could have an impact over the final third of this season. That could bode well for them all heading into 2011.

Clint Bowyer holds the final Chase position by a hundred points over McMurray, though both have been running comparably well these past ten races. Bowyer would have to stumble badly at both Atlanta and Richmond to change the lineup of contenders for the 2010 championship. As for Mark Martin, 101 points in arrears, he has been averaging more than ten points less per race than those he is chasing. If there is to be a resurgence, now would be the time.        

Martin was fifth last fall at Atlanta, but in recent years has been outside the Top Twenty more often than in. McMurray hasn’t been any better, while Bowyer has finished sixth in four of the past seven races held there. It could be all over by Sunday night.

Here is a look at our hot 20 over the past ten races…
1 (1) Kevin Harvick – 1458 pts – 2 Wins, 6 Top Fives, 6 Top Tens
He’s been good in 2010, but may have been even better in 2006.

2 (2) Tony Stewart – 1422 pts – 4 Top Fives, 8 Top Tens
If only for brake lights, Bristol could have been so different.

3 (4) Jeff Gordon – 1415 pts – 5 Top Fives, 7 Top Tens

Remember the other guy driving for five?

4 (3) Carl Edwards – 1384 pts – 4 Top Fives, 6 Top Tens
When 12th is worst finish in your past seven, things are going good.

5 (8) Kasey Kahne – 1338 pts – 4 Top Fives, 5 Top Tens
It seems it is never too early to start getting ready for 2011

6 (8) Greg Biffle – 1328 pts – 1 Win, 3 Top Fives, 6 Top Tens
The Biff is battling back

7 (5) Jeff Burton – 1298 pts – 2 Top Fives, 5 Top Tens
Brother Ward is from South Boston. Jeff sounds like he’s from the northside.

8 (17) Jamie McMurray – 1244 pts – 1 Win, 3 Top Fives, 4 Top Tens
After four seasons in the wilderness, he’s back.

9 (10) Clint Bowyer – 1234 pts – 3 Top Fives, 4 Top Tens

0-for-4 in Chase hunt last year, Childress appears to be 3-for-3 in 2010

10 (6) Jimmie Johnson – 1228 pts – 2 Wins, 2 Top Fives, 4 Top Tens
Dear Juan, there’s something I got to tell you

11 (15) David Reutimann – 1225 pts – 1 Win, 2 Top Fives, 2 Top Tens
Martin Truex who?

12 (11) Juan Pablo Montoya – 1215 pts – 1 Win, 1 Top Five, 4 Top Tens
No championship, but he did get a champion at Bristol.

13 (13) Matt Kenseth – 1202 pts – 1 Top Five, 2 Top Tens

First eight in Top 20, last eight in Top 20

14 (12) Kurt Busch – 1192 pts – 3 Top Fives, 5 Top Tens
Should tell Kyle again about the story of Big Bad Jimmy Spencer.

15 (7) Denny Hamlin – 1181 pts – 1 Win, 3 Top Fives, 4 Top Tens
The time he can finish outside the Top 30 is about to run out

16 (16) Dale Earnhardt Jr – 1151 pts – 1 Top Five, 3 Top Tens
Last Top Ten was at Daytona. Too little for too long.

17 (19) Ryan Newman – 1134 pts – 2 Top Tens
I dare Rowdy to beat and bang on Newman. I double dare him.

18 (18) Kyle Busch – 1126 pts – 1 Win, 1 Top Five, 2 Top Tens
Crossing the wrong guy can change one’s attitude. Just ask his brother.

19 (19) A.J. Allmendinger – 1112 pts – 1 Top Five, 2 Top Tens
Anthony James’ name would be big money on Wheel of Fortune.

20 (20) Mark Martin – 1108 pts – 1 Top Ten
It appears Mark is back in next year country yet again.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Ron Thornton
Ron Thornton
A former radio and television broadcaster, newspaper columnist, Little League baseball coach, Ron Thornton has been following NASCAR on this site since 2004. While his focus may have changed over recent years, he continues to make periodic appearances only when he has something to say. That makes him a rather unique journalist.

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