Hot or Not: Auto Club 500

The boys of NASCAR made their first West coast trip of the decade this week, and just barely out-drove Mother Nature on Sunday. So who shined like the So Cal sun, and who had their dreams of winning rained upon? We’ve got you covered!

Hot: Jimmie Johnson. Is it better to be lucky, or good? Jimmie Johnson wonders if it’s too much to ask for both at home.

Not: Dale Earnhardt Jr. I made the mistake last week of believing that Johnson had inherited Earnhardt’s 2009 equipment. Clearly, that still belongs to Junior.

Hot: Richard Childress Racing. They haven’t won yet, but after a disastrous 2009 campaign, RCR already has a combined 5 top 10s in two races. And by the way, Kevin Harvick leads the points standings.

Not: Ryan Newman. Another week, another appearance in the “Not” section for The Rocketman. This time, he has his Hendrick engine to blame.

Hot: Joey Logano. I said two weeks ago that this kid’s growing up. Now, thanks in part to Greg Biffle and Brad Keselowski, Logano has a fire lit under him. This 19-year old is going places in 2010.

Not: Juan Pablo Montoya. Juan’s day in a nutshell: He went fast. He went too fast. Boom went the engine. The end.

Hot: Matt Kenseth. Matt said earlier this week that he needed a crew chief change to get some emotion on pit road. With Todd Parrott calling the shots, Kenseth drove to a 7th place finish. Not bad for a first day.

Not: Richard Petty Motorsports. When you put all your effort into one car, and that car has a problem, you’re in trouble. Kasey Kahne ran in the top 10 for awhile, before spinning out and virtually ending his day. Kahne’s teammates were never even a factor. What are their names, again?

Hot: Scott Speed.I was down on this guy last year. Seriously, he was the punch-line of most of my NASCAR jokes. But the appropriately-named Speed led the Daytona 500 last week, and ran well in Fontana, finishing 11th.

Not: Michael Waltrip Racing. These guys were on such a high last week after placing two cars in the top 6 at Daytona. But engine failures plagued Truex and Ambrose, while Reutimann got comfy with the wall a few times in the Aarons car, and was never a factor.

Tags: Dale Earnhardt Jr Hot Or Not Jimmie Johnson Joey Logano Juan Pablo Montoya Matt Kenseth Michael Waltrip Racing Richard Childress Racing Richard Petty Motorsports Ryan Newman Scott Speed

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