Who’s Hot and Who’s Not, Michigan Edition

With only four races left in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular season, it’s off to Michigan International Speedway for Sunday’s running of the Pure Michigan 400.

Here’s who’s hot and who’s not heading into the 23rd Cup race of the season.

HOT: Clint Bowyer

In the last seven races, Bowyer has five finishes of seventh or better, including runner-up efforts at Sonoma and Daytona.

NOT: Trevor Bayne

The last time the Roush Fenway Racing driver finished inside the top 20 was at the first Michigan race in June.

HOT: Denny Hamlin

After a slow start to the season, Hamlin has one victory and five fourth-place finishes in the last eight races.

NOT: Austin Dillon

Since winning the Coca-Cola 60 in May, Dillon’s best results were a pair of 13th –place runs at Dover and Pocono.

HOT: Kevin Harvick

An incident on pit road hurt Harvick’s finish at Watkins Glen, but before that, the 2014 champion had one victory and five top 10s in the previous six races.

NOT: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

It’s been a tough stretch for NASCAR’s 14-time Most Popular Driver, who was 36th in the Brickyard 400 and 37th at Watkins Glen. Earnhardt’s last top-10 finish was at Sonoma in June.

HOT: Matt Kenseth

The 2003 Cup champion is still looking for a ride next year, but his average finish in the last four races is a cool 5.0.

NOT: Jimmie Johnson

In the last three races, Johnson’s best result was 27th. The seven-time champion has not finished higher than 10th in the last nine races.

NOT: Kyle Larson

While Larson continues to win on dirt tracks, his last seven Cup starts have produced five results of 23rd or worse, not a good trend this time of year. 

HOT: Daniel Suarez

In each of the last four Cup races, Suarez has wound up seventh or better, including a career-best third-place run at Watkins Glen. 

NOT: Joey Logano

Currently nearly 100 points behind the playoff cut line, Logano has four finishes of 24th or worse in the last six races.

NOT: Jamie McMurray

Only one finish inside the top 10 in the last seven races for McMurray.

HOT: Martin Truex Jr.

How about these numbers? In the last five Cup races, Truex has won twice, ran third twice and led 352 laps. No wonder he’s the championship favorite right now.

All article photos courtesy of Nigel Kinrade Photography © 2017 


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By Tom Jensen

Tom Jensen is a veteran motorsports journalist. He spent 13 years with, where he was Digital Content Manager. Previously, he was executive editor of NASCAR Scene and managing editor of National Speed Sport News. Jensen served as the president of the National Motorsports Press Association and is the group’s former Writer of the Year.