Hot 20 – Texas awaits as our thoughts are with a broadcaster back in the hospital

A week of rest, a week of contemplation, a week for those of faith. I so desperately pray that miracles do happen. Pit reporter Steve Byrnes is back in the hospital in his fight against neck and head cancer. He is in the ICU with pneumonia and a blood clot in his lung. At least he was able to tweet that information himself. This, more than anything I have written here, is the most meaningful and important. I could use some faith restoration about now. How about you?

Kyle Larson missed Martinsville as doctors sought out a cause for his fainting at an event prior to the race. Today, they have the luxury to err on the side of caution as an injury no longer automatically means a championship run is done. This reduced pressure to race also means an injured driver no longer needs to feel compelled to climb back into the seat much too soon to keep his hopes alive. Even a suspension does not spell the end, as Kurt Busch sits a win away from proving. While it might be a trial for Kyle Busch to make the Chase with a win and Top 20 spot when he returns, Larson should be fine as Denny Hamlin was last season. He missed Fontana, yet finished 2014 in third.

The National Network to End Domestic Violence is not happy Kurt Busch is back racing. To be honest, I believe there are more serious matters for them to hang their shingle. In this case, we had a questionable incident based on the opinion of a single Delaware judge from the questionable comments of two people over an incident in which little, if any, physical harm was caused. I applaud their vigilance, but I do question their bid to use this case as their cause celebre. For me, the issue has turned out to be more pathetic than violent.

It has been announced that Cup regulars Aric Almirola and Sam Hornish Jr. will run even more XFINITY series events than they originally planned. It makes it easier to explain why some of us could not be bothered covering major leaguers kicking minor league butt week after week, season after season. Twenty-one-year-old Ryan Reed won at Daytona. Cup guys have won the other five, with Kevin Harvick taking two. Enough said.

At least Chase Elliott won the spring XFINITY race in Texas a year ago. He is not a Cup regular just yet. As for the big boys…and girl…here are the…

Hot 20 going down to Texas…

1. Kevin Harvick – 2 Wins (263 Points)
It wasn’t his tires up there on the Grassy Knoll.

2. Joey Logano – 1 Win (239 Points)
Won two weeks ago Saturday, third on that Sunday.

3. Brad Keselowski – 1 Win (206 Points)
Bloody Keselipski, according to the billboards in Texas.

4. Denny Hamlin – 1 Win (172 Points)
Only tire issues he had at Martinsville were during his burnout.

5. Jimmie Johnson – 1 Win (168 Points)
Won last three fall races in Fort Worth, but was 25th last spring.

6. Martin Truex Jr – 231 Points
It is nice when all one’s ducks and furniture is all in a row.

7. Kasey Kahne – 193 Points
Best Hendrick driver, by points, is ole what’s his name.

8. Paul Menard – 173 Points
Once one of two Childress drivers in the Hot 20…then Newman got tired, so to speak.

9. Dale Earnhardt Jr – 172 Points
According to Gordon, Junior doesn’t know squat…jumps.

10. Aric Almirola – 170 Points
More XFINITY for him, less seat time for others.

11. Matt Kenseth – 168 Points
Fort Worth is Matt’s kind of town.

12. David Ragan – 163 Points
Kyle Busch? I don’t know. The names does sound rather familiar, though.

13. Casey Mears – 161 Points
500-1 to win at Texas? Really? Is he driving it or running it?

14. Jamie McMurray – 154 Points
Claims he and Larson are ego free. I am hair free, but you don’t hear me bragging.

15T Jeff Gordon – 148 Points
Soft start followed by a trio of Top Tens.

15T Danica Patrick – 148 Points
From what we saw in the last race, Virginia really is for lovers…of Danica.

15T Carl Edwards – 148 Points
Has a million very good reasons to race for the win Saturday night.

18. Clint Bowyer – 146 Points
Truex left, Bowyer stayed. I wonder who got the best of that deal?

19T A.J. Allmendinger – 138 Points
Bush’s Beans is the sponsor. You wouldn’t want to be running behind him.

19T Greg Biffle – 138 Points
Has led at least a lap in 12 of the 20 Texas races he has run.

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.


  1. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path. Proverbs 3:4-5


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