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Who is Hot and Not ahead of the Cup regular-season finale at Richmond

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Richmond Raceway may or may not be a crapshoot.

In the last six races at the .75-mile track, six different drivers have visited victory lane.

The last driver to repeat as a winner at the “Action Track” is Joey Logano. He won in April and in the spring 2014 race.

Logano will be desperate to win this weekend. The Team Penske driver has to win Saturday to make the playoffs after his April win was deemed ineligible for the playoffs after his car failed inspection.

If his performance over all the Cup Series’ short tracks this season continues, Logano may have a good chance.

Logano has finished in the top five in three of the four short track races so far, the most of all drivers. His worst finish was 13th in the Bristol night race.

But Logano may want to give extra attention to qualifying. In that same six-race stretch of unique winners, each of them started in the top five.

Here is who is hot and not ahead of the Federated Auto Parts 400.

Who is Hot

Denny Hamlin
• Won at Darlington for his second win of the season (New Hampshire). Was encumbered for failing inspection.
• Top-four finishes in eight of the last 11 races, including two wins.
• Three Richmond wins, all in the fall including this race last year.
• Worst finish in the last four races at Richmond is sixth. Finished was third in April.

Kyle Busch
• Finished second at Darlington. Has finished in the top two in three of the last five races.
• Two wins this season, both came in the last five races (Pocono and Bristol).
• Finished top 10 in the last five races for his best streak this season
• Four Richmond wins, all came in the spring race.

Kevin Harvick
• Finished ninth at Darlington after winning the pole.
• Finished top 10 in 14 of the last 19 races of 2017.
• Three Richmond wins, but all with Richard Childress Racing.
• Finished fifth in the last three races at Richmond.

Erik Jones
• Finished fifth at Darlington, top-five finishes in the last three races.
• Finished top 10 in the last five races for best streak of his career.
• One start at Richmond. Accident on Lap 4 in April resulted in finishing 38th.

Who is Not

Jimmie Johnson.
• Finished 12th at Darlington for sixth straight race without a top-10 finish.
• One top 10 in his last 10 races (10th at New Hampshire).
• Three top-five finishes this season, all wins.
• Three Richmond wins. Last came in 2008.

Kasey Kahne
• Finished 24th at Darlington. Has only one top-10 finish in the last 15 races, a win at Indy.
• Six DNFs from accidents this season.
• One Richmond win in 2005, the first Cup win of his career.
• Finished 22nd in April.

Joey Logano
• Finished 18th at Darlington.
• Ten finishes outside the top 20 in the last 16 races.
• Won at Richmond in April but finish was encumbered after his car failed inspection.

Chase Elliott
• Finished 11th at Darlington. Has only two top 10s in the last seven races.
• In four Richmond starts, best finish was 12th in April 2016.
• Finished 24th at Richmond in April.

NASCAR America: Erik Jones on why he doesn’t make friends with his competitors

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Back in April Erik Jones told reporters at Daytona International Speedway that when it comes to friends, he brings his to the track. He doesn’t get too close to his fellow drivers in the garage.

On NASCAR America, Jones talked with Steve Letarte and Dale Jarrett about the origins of that mindset.

“My dad was always big on it, because at first when I started out my racing career in go karts I just wasn’t that aggressive,” Jones said. “He was like, ‘we bring our friends to the race track. You need to go out there and get aggressive. If you’ve to move someone out-of-the-way, do it.'”

Since then, Jones said his philosophy “never changed.”

“We show up, it’s a late-model team, it’s me a three guys so it’s like, ‘I’ve got all my buddies I need right here,'” Jones said.

Watch the above video for more.

NASCAR America: Erik Jones’ racing roots in Byron, Michigan

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After a feature looking at his upbringing in Byron, Michigan, Furniture Row Racing driver Erik Jones spoke with NASCAR America’s Steve Letarte, Dale Jarrett and Marty Snider about the early years of his racing career.

The journey to his NASCAR career began with a yard cart that his late father, Dave Jones, brought home one day when he was 3.

“I rode that all day long around the yard,” Jones said. “Winter time would and we had like a gravel circle driveway in front of our house. When it would snow over I would get the kart out and ride it around in the snow because I could slide and I thought that was pretty cool. I would get it stuck about every five minutes out in the snow.”

Jones would then get out of the kart and find his dad in their barn to come out get him out.

Now 21, Jones also discussed how much his dad was involved in his career until his death in June 2016 after a battle with cancer.

He also explains how he’s never stayed in any series for more than one year in his career.

Watch the video above for the full discussion.

NASCAR America: Scan All from Cup playoff opener at Chicagoland

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“I sure as (expletive) hope that’s all out of our system.”

That’s what Kyle Busch had to say over his radio after he finished 15th, a lap down in the Cup playoff opener at Chicagoland Speedway.

Busch’s day went south after the first stage thanks to two pit miscues the sent him two laps down.

Meanwhile, Martin Truex Jr. dominate the field to win his fifth race of the year and advance to the second round of the playoffs.

In the latest “Scan All,” True and crew chief Cole Pearn recap their day, which saw them bounce back from their own pit road mistakes.

Here are other highlights from this week’s “Scan All.”

  • “Can’t drive in a straight line. Something’s not right with the front end.” – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. just before he made contact with the outside wall. A commitment line violation resulted in Stenhouse finish multiple laps off the lead.
  • “Tell the 1 (Jamie McMurray) I don’t know what happened there but we both got the short end of the stick.” – Ryan Newman after contact between him and McMurray sent McMurray spinning on a restart.
  • (Expletive), that 24 (Chase Elliott) can be so much (expletive) faster than us.” – Kasey Kahne after being told he was two laps down.

Watch the above video for more.

NASCAR America: Erik Jones recounts rookie Cup season, being taught by Kyle Busch

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Erik Jones, the rookie driver for Furniture Row Racing in the No. 77 Toyota, joined NASCAR America Wednesday for a special show from the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The 21-year-old driver won the 2015 Camping World Truck Series title and is teammates with Martin Truex Jr.

With Marty Snider, Dale Jarrett and Steve Letarte, Jones discussed the challenges and lessons he’s faced in his first full-time season in the Cup Series.

“The biggest (milestones) for me were trying to win a race and making the playoffs,” Jones said. “Obviously, making the playoffs didn’t happen. … I look back at the last few seasons and rookies that have been in the sport and it’s so hard to win races now. You just don’t see rookies do it a lot.”

Jones also discussed finishing second to Kyle Busch in the Bristol night race and his relationship with the driver who brought him into NASCAR beginning with the Truck Series.

“A lot of times when I was racing in Trucks and Xfinity and Kyle would come to race I’d always run second to him,” Jones said. “I’m like, ‘you know what the problem is? This is the guy who taught me how to race these cars. So I’m good at all the same tracks he’s good at. Except he’s been doing about 10 more years than I have.”

Watch the video for more.