Hot 20 – Joey and Jimmie Lead the Way West to Las Vegas for Some Action…and Some Warmth

While Daytona was good, Atlanta was tolerable. I wonder, if I was a transient type flipping channels, how long would I have lingered on the action beaming in from Georgia? A decade ago, the sport and its sponsors marketed the heck out of their product, but not so much anymore. Now NASCAR is seeking a new title sponsor for the Cup series to, in a couple of years, cough up $1 billion over a 10 year span? It is certainly nice to dream.

A Daytona 500 win is nice. A Southern 500 victory is okay. A World 600 triumph is cool. A Brickyard 400 is lovely. However, just imagine the life long memories one will have just racing in the SpongeBob SquarePants 400 in Kansas. Just imagine. Good grief.

News flash…except for the Daytona 500, most fans could not care less about qualifying. Check out the television ratings or, better yet, all those empty seats in the grandstands. Nobody cares. Put all those guaranteed a spot on the grid based on points, then have all those not locked in go through tech inspection first before they hit the track to qualify. As for the rest, take your time checking them all out. Take the whole day if you need it. That would eliminate another embarrassment like they had in Atlanta. Would that not be a good thing?

Being good and lucky can go a long way in keeping one among our top drivers in the rankings. Ryan Newman, Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart are good drivers. They just have not been very lucky thus far in 2015.

Among those for whom things have gone better….

Hot 20 after Atlanta

1. Joey Logano – 1 Win – 88 Points
A new bride, a winning ride, Joey’s horizons have opened wide.

2. Jimmie Johnson – 1 Win – 87 Points
The early favorite to win a seventh championship is…

3. Kevin Harvick – 86 Points
Still wearing that bridesmaid fire suit.

4. Dale Earnhardt Jr – 84 Points
I am reminded by my wife, Amy, that Las Vegas has chapels. What’s with that?

5. Martin Truex Jr – 75 Points
So far he has all his ducks and furniture in a row.

6. Casey Mears – 68 Points
It appears there are a lot more numbers unluckier than 13.

7. Kasey Kahne – 65 Points
Discovered that Atlanta in March is not Atlanta in late August.

8. A.J. Allmendinger – 62 Points
Better Than Bouillon, better than most.

9. Aric Almirola – 62 Points
Yet another Cup regular taking an Xfinity seat in Las Vegas.

10. Clint Bowyer – 58 Points
May have lost a cylinder, but he gained a Stenhouse…then a Biffle.

11. David Gilliland – 56 Points
At 38, I was watching my sons being born while this guy is watching his son race.

12. Sam Hornish Jr – 55 Points
2014 ‘Vegas Xfinity winner not in Saturday’s race…four other Cup guys will be.

13. Carl Edwards – 54 Points
If he aged 20 years, shrunk 6 inches, gained 50 pounds, and melted, I could be his body double.

14. Greg Biffle – 54 Points
And THAT is how a bad day can get worse.

15. David Ragan – 53 Points
Take your time, Kyle. Take your time.

16. Danica Patrick – 51 Points
No. 1 woman, No. 2 SHR driver

17. Paul Menard – 50 Points
If Menard’s sold heated hunting blinds, they could have made a mint last week.

18. Matt Kenseth – 49 Points
Qualifying means more to him than it does to us. Let him roll out in 18th, with Joey on the pole.

19. Denny Hamlin – 48 Points
Twice this week his vehicle gets broadsided…once when he was awake.

20. Michael Annett – 47 Points
Don’t expect to see him here next week.

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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