At one point of the season, it was looking like the race to Homestead in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series would go through Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske. The seven combined drivers with these organizations were the quickest on the circuit. But, over the last month or so, it’s really now just JGR as the prime favorite.
JGR has won 7 of the 11 races run this season. Three of their four cars have already reached victory lane with all three also making multiple trips to the victory circle.
Kyle Larson and Brad Keselowski battle during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series KC Masterpiece 400 at Kansas Speedway on May 12, 2018 in Kansas City, Kansas.
Can Penske get over their woes this weekend in Kansas is the question?
Since 2014, Kyle Busch has scored eight top 10 finishes, all consecutively. Out of those eight top 10’s are six top five’s including a win in 2015. Busch, was also runner-up in the fall race last year and has a top 10 finish in literally all 11 races run this season.
Sounds like the favorite to me.
But, watch out for his new teammate Martin Truex Jr. too. With Furniture Row Racing, Truex swept both races at Kansas in 2017 to go along with finishing second and fifth respectively on the 1.5-mile track a year ago. Over his last four spring race starts at Kansas, Truex has led the following laps – 95 (205), 172 (2016), 104 (2017) and 13 (2018). He’s won two of the last three races on the season too.
Erik Jones finished in the top 10 in both races a year ago too including result of seventh (May) and fourth (October) respectively. He’s coming off of a top 10 finish on Monday at Dover.
That’s three solid favorites to win Saturday night’s Digital Ally 400 (7:30 p.m. ET/FS1/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). But, all drive for JGR.
What about Penske’s trio?
Brad Keselowski has only one top five finish on the track since 2012. Despite that, he does have a top 10 in each of the last three years at Kansas as well. But, on the season, Keselowski has finished 12th or worse in four of his last five starts.
Joey Logano has eight top 10 finishes in his last 12 tries but over the last few years, he does have three finishes of 21st or worse in his last six starts. Is he the 21st or worse driver or the one with seven top five’s since 2013.
Ryan Blaney is typically good at Kansas as he’s in a stretch of five top 10’s in his last seven starts there. But, he did crash and finish 37th in this race a year ago and 14th in the Fall race in 2016. Blaney, has finished 25th, 15th and 15th now the last three races on the season too.
If they can stay out of trouble, then Logano and Blaney can at least vie for the win. Out of the three starts on 1.5-mile tracks in 2019, Penske has won two of them. Keselowski, reached victory lane in Atlanta while Logano won the next week in Vegas. Maybe it’s Blaney’s turn in Kansas.