Hot 20 – If you think racing at Bristol will be tough, you should have been on Moose Mountain

It was an off-week for NASCAR, but racing continued where I sit. At least, sitting would have been nice. Last weekend, my son John ran a 54-mile mountain terrain ultra-marathon. In following the action, I found myself walking up a half-mile dusty road with an uninterrupted 20-plus degree angle climb with a chest cold and a hacking cough. I do not believe a single bear remains on that mountain after the commotion I was making. By the way, the boy came through in far better shape than his father did. This weekend, my other son Ronald is running a marathon. I plan to sit.

Sitting before the big screen watching the action from Bristol Saturday night is definitely in the cards. Dale Earnhardt Jr. continues to sit as he waits for his concussion symptoms to run their course. Jeff Gordon gets to continue his second farewell tour, while we await Chris Buescher passing David Ragan in the standings to make his Pocono win count in the standings. Should that happen, and there is no guarantee that it will, Kyle Larson would fall from a place in the Chase to 30 points out. Then it would come down to everyone outside pretty much requiring a win to make the post-season derby.

Bristol is one of those tracks where you do not need much background info in order to simply enjoy the action. However, there are three storylines to follow. We will watch the duel between Buescher and Ragan. We will see if Ryan Newman, Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon, and Jamie McMurray can avoid disaster. Finally, we will be watching for who wins.

Usually, the fans are the big winners at Bristol. While on Sunday, I plan to stand on flat ground to watch my son race in the morning, the night before, my goal is to sit on my fat ass to watch the boys and girl perform in Tennessee. Now, that is a plan of inaction to stick to.

Here are our Hot 20 heading to Bristol.

1. BRAD KESELOWSKI – 4 WINS (727 Pts)
In NASCAR, “Sorry” is just another way of saying “Don’t kick my ass.”

2. KYLE BUSCH – 4 WINS (670 Pts)
This is a race that is destined to be won by a Busch brother, a Gibbs driver, or both.

3. CARL EDWARDS – 2 WINS (653 Pts)
Edwards could be that Gibbs driver. Would need to change name to Karl to be a Busch.

4. DENNY HAMLIN – 2 WINS (620 Pts)
Burnouts are fine. Tear ups are not. Just a reminder.

5. MATT KENSETH – 2 WINS (600 Pts)
Four of the top five belong to the Coach. Two years before room has to be made for Erik Jones.

6. JIMMIE JOHNSON – 2 WINS (578 Pts)
Crew Chief Chad Knaus says things will be just fine, and Knaus knows stuff.

7. KEVIN HARVICK – 1 WIN (718 Pts)
Jimmy Buffett was not wasting away at Margaritaville, he was hanging with Harv.

8. KURT BUSCH – 1 WIN (689 Pts)
Set rookie truck record with four wins in 2000. William Byron has beat that driving for Kyle.

9. JOEY LOGANO – 1 WIN (652 Pts)
Winner of last two Saturday night Bristol races looked a whole lot like this guy.

10. MARTIN TRUEX JR. – 1 WIN (612 Pts)
Will be driving for the Mile High outfit for an additional two years.

11. TONY STEWART – 1 WIN (389 Pts)
One final helmet toss at Kenseth for old time’s sake?

12. RYAN NEWMAN – 562 POINTS
With a contract running out and the owner’s grandson ready to go, this Rocket needs to liftoff.

13. CHASE ELLIOTT – 561 POINTS
The only excuse you’ll get from Chase is if you ask him “why don’t you make excuses?”

14. AUSTIN DILLON – 559 POINTS
Took the free time to fulfill an engagement.

15. JAMIE MCMURRAY – 550 POINTS
Fishing for a Chase place, fishing in British Columbia with Dierks, Martin, and Clint.

16. KYLE LARSON – 520 POINTS
Was it the incident or was it A.J. that Kyle was calling “flat out stupid?”

17. TREVOR BAYNE – 512 POINTS
Bayne was in Ireland for a 70.3-mile Ironman race. Running I don’t get. Potato salad, I get.

18. KASEY KAHNE – 509 POINTS
It is good to have a couple of years left on a contract.

19. RYAN BLANEY – 502 POINTS
Iconic Wood Brothers ride will sport Virginia Tech colors on Saturday night.

20. A.J. ALLMENDINGER – 486 POINTS
Thought he was Ben Hur at Watkins Glen, and the drummer called for ramming speed.

30. DAVID RAGAN – 295 POINTS
Not surprising a NASCAR driver supports Trump. Hey, both believe walls are important.

31. CHRIS BUESCHER – 292 POINTS (1 W)
Sometimes the story of a race does not unfold near the front.



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

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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