Hot/Not: Harvick’s breaking hearts on his way to the top

We've got six races under our belt and none have been as bad as Butler shot last night. To put a cork on Martinsville, however, here's a dose of the good and the bad from Virginia:

WHO'S HOT: Sorry for this — it's painfully obvious — but Kevin Harvick is first and foremost worthy of this nod. For two races now, he's been the crème de la crème — if you will — when the checkered flag is ready to fly. Two straight wins (and beating Dale Earnhardt Jr.) will do that. Every time.

Now I know that neither Harvick or Martinsville fit well with a French euphemism, but what's better? Harvick as an en fuego cupcake? OK. You're right. That's better.

WHO'S NOT: We've had Juan Pablo Montoya at Indianapolis. We had Kevin Harvick in last year's season finale. Now, we've had Jimmie Johnson seriously doubting the accuracy of NASCAR's pit lane timing and scoring business.

Johnson has since apologized for criticizing NASCAR. Still, isn't there a better way to show violations to fans, media and teams?

WHO'S HOT: Juan Pablo Montoya scored his second top-five of 2011 on Sunday (he had 7 all of last year) and finds himself a very respectable seventh in the point standings. Montoya's worst finish is a 24th at Bristol.

Compared to last year's dismal start, Montoya is lightyears closer to being in the Chase for the second time in his career.

WHO'S NOT: Uh, Denny Hamlin finished 12th at Martinsville. Need I say more? If you think I do, check out these stats. 12th doesn't cut it for Hamlin at NASCAR's paperclip. {ysp:more}

WHO'S HOT: The mostly healthy amounts of objectivity displayed by the NASCAR on Fox crew in the final stages of Sunday's race was impressive. You could just tell Darrell Watlrip wanted to yell inane things like "Junebug!" or "Junebug!", but Larry McReynolds and Mike Joy kept him in line. Waltrip also avoided openly weeping when Earnhardt Jr. was finally passed, a definite plus.

WHO'S NOT: I'll throw Goodyear under the bus this week for this one — but not because their product delivered a bad show.

For the second time in three weeks, Goodyear has brought a tire drastically different that what teams had last used and apparently offered little to no information about it. The result was complaints and worries that ultimately festered into a pretty decent race. Jim Utter liked the result of the new tire's racing style — as did I — but should NASCAR's tire supplier be blindsiding drivers in that manner?

I don't think so.

What to Read Next