Will Kyle Busch’s streak end at Bristol? Here’s five drivers who could do it
No driver other than Kyle Busch has been to victory lane in NASCAR’s top three series in the last 23 days.
He’s won his last four starts, which includes a Camping World Truck race at Martinsville, an Xfinity race at Texas and Sprint Cup races at Martinsville and Texas.
As NASCAR heads to Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend for Saturday’s Xfinity and Sunday’s Sprint Cup events, the question is if someone other than Busch will be in victory lane.
Only one driver among the 42 entered for Saturday’s race has finished ahead of Busch in an Xfinity event at Bristol since Aug. 2012. That is Joey Logano.
Although Busch has five Sprint Cup victories at Bristol, his record there has not been as good since his last win there in March 2012. His average finish since that victory is 17.3.
Still, he’ll be viewed as a favorite based on the strength of Toyota — the manufacturer has led 55.3 percent of the 2,149 laps run this season and won three of the first seven races.
Here’s a look at five drivers who could snap Busch’s streak this weekend:
Erik Jones (Xfinity race) — Busch has failed to win only one Xfinity race he’s started this season, placing second at Auto Club Speedway after blowing a tire on the final lap. Austin Dillon, who is entered at Bristol, won that race. No one outside the Joe Gibbs Racing stable, though, has shown they can run with Busch in this series. Jones has finished runner-up to Busch twice (Phoenix and Texas) and third to Busch at Atlanta and Las Vegas. Logano will make his first series start since Daytona in the No. 22 car, which has had its ups and downs so far this season.
Matt Kenseth (Sprint Cup race) — Easily could have at least two wins this season. At some point, the mistakes and misfortune will subside and this team wins a race. Maybe it’s this weekend. Kenseth won this race last year (Busch was out because of his injuries suffered earlier in the year). Kenseth has two victories and three top-five finishes in his last five starts at Bristol.
Joey Logano (Sprint Cup race) — Two wins in his last three starts at Bristol makes him one to watch on Sunday afternoon. Including Xfinity, he’s won in three of his last four Bristol starts in either series.
Kevin Harvick (Sprint Cup race) — He has only one top-10 finish at Bristol in his last nine starts there, but he did finish second there in August. The key for him is avoiding penalties. He had two pit road penalties, including a speeding penalty, in that August race. He also was caught speeding on pit road in Aug. 2014 when he finished 11th after leading 75 laps. He’s shown speed this season, and if he can keep that speed on the track, instead of pit road, he could be at the front Sunday.
Carl Edwards (Sprint Cup race) — He won at Bristol two years ago and has three top-10 finishes there in his last four starts. Another point to consider is that the Bristol race winner has started no worse than 12th in the last 10 races there. Edwards has started third in four of his last five races at Bristol and 12th the other time.