It looked like Toyota’s, most notably Joe Gibbs Racing, would finally be a team to beat during a race weekend on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. It’s been a tough year for all four JGR drivers, as none of them have entered victory lane so far in 2017. Through today’s Food City 500, that slump extends to another race.
Kyle Busch crashed out again and finished 35th on Monday afternoon at the .533-mile. What’s frustrating for him is, he was quickest in both practice sessions on Saturday and looked like the driver to beat this weekend.
But, the crash dropped him to his third straight sub 30th place finish at the Bristol (Tenn) Motor Speedway. He did lead 256 laps in the Summer race a year ago, but he crashed out and finished 39th. In the Spring race last season, he came home 38th. Furthermore, since the start of the 2013 Cup season, Busch has just two top 10’s in now eight Bristol starts. On top of that, Busch has finished 29th or worse in five of those eight races.
Then, Daniel Suarez had a rough Cup debut too at Bristol. He came home 18th (two laps down).
He now has finishes of 29th, 21st, 20th, seventh, seventh, 32nd, 19th and 18th respectively.
Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth had much better runs, but neither wound up taking the checkered flag first.
Kenseth had finishes of 40th, third, ninth, 37th, 36th, ninth, 16th and now fourth after today’s top five. It was his third top five finish at Bristol since joining JGR in 2014, but his finishes other than that have been subpar.
Hamlin, has too has struggled, with having finishes of 17th, 38th, sixth, 10th, 14th, 30th and 25th respectively entering this weekend. But, he came home with his second top 10 finish of the season with a 10th place run on Monday. It was just his fourth top 10 since 2013 at Bristol.