A month ago, it looked like Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr. and Brad Keselowski may be three of the favorites for this year’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship. Since late April, Elliott had rattled off five consecutive top five finishes including a win in Talladega. He was in the top five of the points standings during the regular season for the first time of his Cup career.
Keselowski meanwhile, had a stretch in May and into June with three top six finishes in a six race span.
Truex, had won all four of his races in an eight race span between April and June. Combined, this trio won six races in an eight race span.
But, over the last few weeks, all three have struggled.
Elliott’s last five finishes are – 20th, 37th, 11th, 35th and 15th respectively. No longer does he look like a legitimate threat anymore. What about Keselowski? He was a non factor at the Kentucky Speedway, a track that he usually is a favorite at, and finished 20th. A week earlier, he finished 39th in Daytona. Three of his last four starts have seen him finish 18th or worse.
That has the Team Penske concerned about their direction too. In New Hampshire, the site of this weekend’s race, Keselowski finished 32nd last year. He also hasn’t won there since 2014.
Elliott, finished fifth last year, but that is his lone top 10 result in the Granite State in five tries. Their luck could both remain the way it is for another week.
Same for Truex. He entered Kentucky last weekend having led over 300 laps and won all four stages over the last two years there. He was a non factor all race and finished 19th for his third straight finish outside of the top five.
What about Kevin Harvick. He hasn’t won in the last 21 races. He head to New Hampshire though as the defending race winner. Unfortunately, I don’t think he has it in him right now to go back-to-back. Harvick, has four top five finishes in his last six New Hampshire starts, but he hasn’t had a top five on the season since Dover in early May.
Yes, Harvick may be on a 21 race winless streak, but he’s also on an eighth race streak without a single top five finish. He hasn’t scored a finish better than 14th in his last three starts (14th, 29th, 22nd). Four of his last six results have been 14th or worse.
With how he’s running right now, I don’t know if he gets it going this weekend either.