Hot 20 – And now, the end is near, and so we face the final Homestead curtain

So it ends. Another NASCAR season. A Hall of Fame career for Tony Stewart. The reign of a title sponsor. The wait for another seven-time champion, or a repeat champion, or maybe the crowning of the newest member of NASCAR royalty.

Tony Stewart made his mark as an open wheel champion, and three times he proved to be the season best among those with fenders. One more race, one more chance to grab his 50th career win before he moves on to eventually join the Hall of Fame.

Winston Cup held the rights for more than thirty years. Nextel had it for four, then when they got rolled into Sprint, the Sprint Cup it became for the past nine seasons. That ends at Homestead. Could it be the Monster Energy Cup next season? That remains to be seen.

Will Jimmie Johnson join with two of the sport’s icons and become a seven-time champion? Can Kyle Busch repeat his championship run of last season and claim his second? Can Carl Edwards or Joey Logano finish the climb to the top of the mountain?

The answer comes our way on Sunday at Homestead.

The Hot 20, featuring wins, season-long points, and the official points tallies heading to Homestead.

1. JOEY LOGANO – 3 WINS – 1095 S/PTS – 5000 PTS
The best of the rest remaining in the hunt for the title.

2. KYLE BUSCH – 4 WINS – 1027 S/PTS – 5000 PTS
This seems like a good time to order up a double.

3. CARL EDWARDS – 3 WINS – 997 S/PTS – 5000 PTS
Always a bridesmaid, but will he get the ring this time?

4. JIMMIE JOHNSON – 4 WINS – 963 S/PTS – 5000 PTS
The King and the Intimidator await him as part of a very exclusive club.

5. MATT KENSETH – 2 WINS – 963 S/PTS – 2296 PTS
One mistake from above and his coach turned into scrambled pumpkin pie.

6. DENNY HAMLIN – 3 WINS – 1052 S/PTS – 2288 PTS
Was close when they started at Phoenix, just not close enough when they finished.

7. KURT BUSCH – 1 WIN – 1027 S/PTS – 2268 PTS
A win to be in, but there was no room at the inn this time.

8. MARTIN TRUEX JR. – 4 WINS – 986 S/PTS – 2266 PTS
Rarely do leaders get penalized for passing the pace car to enter the pits. Last week was different.

9. BRAD KESELOWSKI – 4 WINS – 1083 S/PTS – 2261 PTS
Thought Joey would be a good fit for Penske after leaving Gibbs. It appears he was right.

10. CHASE ELLIOTT – 0 WINS – 936 S/PTS – 2255 PTS
Took over from Jeff Gordon, and still got to race against Jeff Gordon. Sweet.

11. KEVIN HARVICK – 4 WINS – 1120 S/PTS – 2250 PTS
The best over the course of the season, but they do not have a trophy for that.

12. KYLE LARSON – 1 WIN – 890 S/PTS – 2247 PTS
Eneos. If you know who they are, it might be due to this guy.

13. JAMIE MCMURRAY – 0 WINS – S/871 PTS – 2195 PTS
Official points give him 13th. The season-long tally has him behind Kahne and Newman.

14. AUSTIN DILLON – 0 WINS – 873 S/PTS – 2194 PTS
Paint scheme needs to include a pair of Texas longhorns on the hood. Just a suggestion.

15. TONY STEWART – 1 WIN – 623 S/PTS – 2192 PTS
Future Hall of Famer would love to bow out with a 50th victory.

16. CHRIS BUESCHER – 1 WIN – 524 S/PTS – 2152 PTS
One win. The difference between a notable season and finishing 28th in points.

17. KASEY KAHNE – 0 WINS – 894 S/PTS – 894 PTS
On the bright side, his season was better than that of team-mate Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

18. RYAN NEWMAN – 0 WINS – 879 S/PTS – 879 PTS
Stewart will soon be going, just not to where Newman once suggested he go to.

19. RYAN BLANEY – 0 WINS – 797 S/PTS – 797 PTS
It comes down to this….Ryan or A.J. for 19th.

20. A.J. ALLMENDINGER – 0 WINS – 797 S/PTS – 797 PTS
Might have a teammate, at least for a few races, next season.

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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