Once again I was forced to miss another race, one because of the rain, and two it had to fall on the day I had to work my other part time job but did manage to catch the final 10 laps. So I’m most likely off track this week and felt I had to put out my opinion on the Gus Malzahn extension. There had indeed been a lot of changes in the top 10 of the Sprint Cup standings, and these key finishes prove a lot. Yes I missed the race, but still I can calculate who the five hottest NASCAR drivers are after the Axalta We Paint Winners 400.
- Kurt Busch: No one has a longer streak of top 10’s than this gentleman right here. While most drivers fall off the consecutive list, Kurt somehow manages to keep it real. Winning not only his third career Pocono race, but his first of the season becoming the ninth different driver to lock into the Chase. Most amazing part, he won with an interim crew chief since Tony Gibson was suspended due to a P3 penalty. Kurt now has eight straight top 10’s and 12 this season.
- Brad Keselowski: He might have had a questionable comment from Jeff Gordon about a previous penalty that occurred in Las Vegas and Pocono, but regardless Keselowski still managed a third place finish. It all evolved around an illegal body modification on pit road which forced him to do a pass through penalty. Though all went well after the race, Keselowski had a few choice words for Gordon calling him biased. In any case, he has five straight top 10’s and his highest spot in points moving to third.
- Joey Logano: His win in the Sprint All-Star Race looks to have the number 22 on a roll at this moment. Ninth in Charlotte and fifth in Pocono after consecutive second place starts has to have him ready for his second pole of the season. Taking into consideration that having both Penske drivers finish in the top 10 will be enough to challenge Joe Gibbs Racing. While Hendrick keeps switching places on who finishes where, both look to take advantage.
- Chase Elliott: While the Hendrick veterans have a Jekyll and Hyde effect, the most popular rookie in recent memory is the only driver keeping the dream of Rick Hendrick’s 12th Sprint Cup title alive. Elliott is now the only Hendrick driver with consecutive top 10’s at five with 10 total. Leading the most laps with 51 at Pocono has to show that he’s ready to win a race soon. Can winning this sesaon come sooner than we think? There is no denying that fact.
- Kevin Harvick: Even with a couple of finishes outside the top 10, Harvick has pretty much led in points. He could’ve had top 10’s all year around, but the most popular driver in Stewart-Haas Racing has stayed in the top five all season long. No doubt he’s been robbed of a lot of wins most likely due to the change in aerodynamic packages, it hasn’t stopped him from being competitive. Harvick will get his second win somewhere, even if it means turning up the heat during the Chase.
The list is going to shake up again after Michigan and Sonoma, as Daytona is once again creeping up. With now nine drivers in the Chase, several more are now feeling the pressure to fill the remaining seven. Everyone knows that when you come back around to Daytona and NBC takes over, it’s time to ger serious.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Bryan Law