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Paul Menard

Hot 20 – Martinsville and it is getting late, as those who matter are now down to eight

Then there were eight, as the surviving championship contenders take to the track this weekend at Martinsville. It is damn near over, but that overweight soprano has yet to warble, so we have a few notes to wait for between now and Homestead.

Hot 20 – If viewership tanked for Talladega, imagine what the ratings for Kansas will be

Talladega was a ratings bust. Talladega. For fans who follow the sport, those four Stewart-Haas cars up front, doing what they had to do all day long, was something to behold. For those who simply tune in to watch incredible action, they had to wait for the final 20 laps for the payoff. However, they had to have tuned in to witness either. They did not even bother. That is troublesome.

Hot 20 – Not everyone loves Talladega, but not everyone is normal

Flying around in aircraft formation inches apart at 200 mph. That would be good enough to force me into the Depends, especially if I were in the passenger seat. It is a track that causes skid marks to appear everywhere.

Hot 20 – The Big Three still remain the biggest obstacles for the rest as they hit Dover

On to Dover this Sunday, and down to a dozen championship contenders. Once again, as we enter the second round of eliminations, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick look solid. So does Martin Truex Jr. Not so for everyone else.

Hot 20 – Charlotte’s roval goes left, it goes right, and possibly where everything will go wrong

They thought Talladega was a wild card. Boy, something tells me that Charlotte’s Roval is going to test them like never before. This one makes the World 600 nothing more than a nice test, a rest in some ways, before the storm coming their way on Sunday.

Hot 20 – Richmond’s good ole rock and roll road show, gotta go, Saturday night, Saturday night

We know some things. In these times, some folks do not seem to know anything, but we do. Brad Keselowski is advancing to the next round. After Saturday night in Richmond, it should be confirmed that Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch will be joining him. I feel pretty confident about Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano about now.

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.

The Final Word – The Southern 500, a celebration of the passage of time

Darlington was a day all about time. A time when in 1950 the first Southern 500 was run. A time when some of the great names from the past were brought back to be saluted by their sport in the present. A time when 0.6 seconds can mean everything.

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.

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