The most anticipated race of the week is not the one slated for Sunday in Indianapolis. Sure, the Brickyard has been around since 1909. Sure, it has been home to the Indianapolis 500 since 1911. Yes, it has hosted NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 since 1994, when Jeff Gordon won his first of five at the iconic track. It retains its brick finishing line, where every winner kneels down with his entire crew, along with some family members, to pucker up and lay a nice wet and dirty one in celebration.
Now, if you want to get dirty, the truck race at Eldora Raceway in Rossburg, Ohio was the place to be. Dirt. No bricks, no pavement, nothing but slip sliding away dirt. You would think such a showcase would have been broadcast universally. It was not. Unless you had the Fox Business Network as part of your cable package, you were screwed.
I wonder what Humphrey Bogart’s Rick Blaine of Casablanca fame would have thought?
Of all the tracks, in all the towns, in all the world, on all the television sets, that race could have been broadcast onto mine. We had our hopes. Canadians will always have Eldora, we thought. No. We lost it. We have to wait until Sunday when Cup action comes to us from Indianapolis. Damn. Well, here’s looking at you, kid, and our Hot 20 as they prepare to pound the bricks.
1. MARTIN TRUEX JR. – 3 WINS (758 Pts)
Finishes sixth or better in seven of his last ten races…but those three he missed he missed big.
2. JIMMIE JOHNSON – 3 WINS (552 Pts)
Is Alex Bowman the guy to replace Junior next season? As far as Jimmie is concerned, he is.
3. KYLE LARSON – 2 WINS (720 Pts)
Starting from the rear allows him to give a friendly wave each and every one of his competitors.
4. BRAD KESELOWSKI – 2 WINS (564 Pts)
NASCAR is shaking up leadership team, prompting a driver to change his name to Brad France.
5. RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – 2 WINS (441 Pts)
Fewest points among those with 2 wins or more. I bet he feels just awful about that.
6. KEVIN HARVICK – 1 WIN (639 Pts)
It is hard to do play-by-play when Keelan’s hands are covering the toy cars.
7. DENNY HAMLIN – 1 WIN (589 Pts)
Nobody runs away from a grandfather clock but put a live 22-pound lobster in Denny’s hands…
8. RYAN BLANEY – 1 WIN (486 Pts)
Loudon was not good, but not really bad. It was just…Loudon.
9. KURT BUSCH – 1 WIN (455 Pts)
Another race, another few lugnuts loose, another $10,000 fine for another crew chief.
10. RYAN NEWMAN – 1 WIN (428 Pts)
When it comes to cycling with the boys, Ryan would rather be riding a moped.
11. AUSTIN DILLON – 1 WIN (363 Pts)
The fact he is actually 20th in points probably does not cause him any sleepless nights.
12. KYLE BUSCH – 650 POINTS
Damn stupid penalties, but Sunday it is Indy. Kyle always wins at Indy, doesn’t he?
13. CHASE ELLIOTT – 587 POINTS
It is untrue that Elliott has more points than there will be fans in the stands on Sunday. I hope.
14. JAMIE MCMURRAY – 572 POINTS
Jamie will appear in Friday’s hauler parade. Hoping fans will return the favor on the weekend.
15. CLINT BOWYER – 526 POINTS
As long as Logano does not win anytime soon, things are looking good.
16. MATT KENSETH – 524 POINTS
Sure, a win at Loudon would have been nice, but Logano’s disaster proved almost as helpful.
17. JOEY LOGANO – 472 POINTS (1 Win)
He needs another win to get in…and a hell of a lot better scriptwriter for the rest of this season.
18. ERIK JONES – 427 POINTS
Gibbs pays his salary, so he is leaving to join that crew next season. It might be a step down.
19. DANIEL SUAREZ – 404 POINTS
Has a pair of 6th place finishes to go with a trio of 7th place results. Now, it is time for a Top Five.
20. TREVOR BAYNE – 369 POINTS
The good news is that he leads Dillon by six points. The bad news is…