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Hot 20

Hot 20 – On to Las Vegas, and let the games begin

Change is coming to NASCAR. Not the kind that makes people return in droves to the grandstands, but the change that always comes through the passage of time. Martin Truex Jr. moves to a new team, as his old one folds. That means Daniel Suarez is on the move, replacing the retiring Kasey Kahne. Jamie McMurray is in search of a new ride and we await word as to what the future holds for Kurt Busch.

Hot 20 – The impending demise of Furniture Row Racing overshadows Sunday’s Brickyard 400

I had such high hopes for NASCAR, at least since July. That is when NBC came on board, and presented the long sought after broadcast crew that could keep fans glued to the track simply by the strength of their commentary. We have waited years for that to happen, and it is crucial for a sport that has yet to solve some on-track competitive issues and more than a few off it. If the racing is not spell binding, then the commentary damn well better be if you hope to have anyone watching.

Hot 20 – Back to Darlington, back to a September tradition and the Southern 500

Tradition. On Sunday, NASCAR returns to its traditional roots, to the track that was Daytona before Bill France replaced the beach-road course with his 2.5-mile architectural marvel. Before the Daytona 500, the marquee event was held in Darlington.

Hot 20 – Bristol is not over-hyped, but a lot is

Sometimes the news can be a little over-hyped. For example, no matter what you might hear, Kyle Busch is going to claim the bonus for the most points garnered by the time they leave Indianapolis. Kevin Harvick would need to close the gap by 21 points in each of the remaining three events to change that, and that is not going to happen. It is a done deal.

Hot 20 – Michigan is the focus of this weekend but, apparently, so is France

Jimmie Johnson. Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch. Kevin Harvick. Martin Truex, Jr. Denny Hamlin. Brad Keselowski. Kyle Larson. Chase Elliott. These men are NASCAR. These men, a few women, and so many others made the sport. Were the sport. Are the sport. Brian France is not NASCAR. There is a reason 97 percent of all family businesses do not survive as such into the fourth generation.

Hot 20 – Someone’s Chase hopes could get Allmendingered at the Glen

If we determine who is an actual contender, versus being just a pretender race in and race out, based on an average 20th place result, our field would be reduced to 22. Add William Byron and Jamie McMurray to the bottom of our list, and that is all you need to be concerned about.

Hot 20 – Pocono is another non-restrictor plate race, so which one of just four drivers will win it?

Another race, another win for one of the Big Three. Twenty races down and just seven individual drivers with a tick in the win column. That means, at most, 13 drivers could have a victory by the time they decide who makes the Chase. Something tells me we will not reach anywhere close to that number of winners.

Hot 20 – Getting down and dirty, be it at New Hampshire or Eldora

On Wednesday, the pick-up trucks race on dirt at Eldora. Some figure we need some dirt track racing in NASCAR. The fact is that in these times such a race would be a novelty, just as Eldora is, but does it need to be a feature in Cup?

Hot 20 – Kentucky, where the thoroughbreds will run unless Stenhouse is moving at ramming speed

Kentucky. Lord, please not Kentucky. It is a track I have no affinity for, but I will be watching on Saturday night. It is all due to NBC. If you watch the broadcast, and still can not stand NASCAR, it is just not for you. If you do watch it and have any love of the sport, you will stick around. The boys and girls make it damn hard to skip forward, no matter how much you try.

Hot 20 – It is a summer time Saturday night in Daytona

Daytona. Usually, I look forward to any race from that track. After Chicago’s race coverage on NBC, I am really looking forward to it. That was the best NASCAR television broadcast in years.

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