At this point last year, Joe Gibbs Racing had won five of the first 10 races of the 2016 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. They followed that up with a win at the Kansas Speedway and another victory again the next weekend at Dover. That was seven wins in 12 races. What a start right? Well, in the 34 races since, they’ve had five total victories, none of which occurring in 2017.
Basically five wins at this point last year, zero this season.
Will that change this weekend at the Kansas Speedway?
Last year, Kyle Busch won the spring race at the 1.5-mile track, as he enters this weekend’s race with four straight top five finishes at Kansas. But, he only has two top fives in the last month on the season, and prior to those four straight top fives at Kansas, he has zero top fives and just two top 10’s in his first 14 races there.
So, it’s either feast or famine this weekend for Busch.
What about Busch’s JGR teammate of Matt Kenseth? He’s had some success at Kansas too, scoring 13 straight top 15 finishes there. Furthermore, he had six straight top sevens from 2010-2013. But, five of those six top sevens were with his old team Roush/Fenway Racing, as Kenseth has two top five finishes at Kansas since joining JGR in 2013. One of which was a win though. Outside of that, Kenseth has struggled this year with only having two top fives all season and only two top 10’s in his last seven starts.
He’s be a tough one to pick Saturday night. He has lead 100 or more laps in two of his last three Kansas starts, he’s just not getting the finishes.
What about another JGR driver in Denny Hamlin? He too is a previous Kansas winner, taking the checkered flag first in the spring race in 2012. Unfortunately, he has just one top five and two top 10 finishes in the eight races since. Also, he’s only led one lap since too, last fall there. Furthermore, Hamlin has just one top five in 10 races this season and two top 10’s in his last six starts.
To me, JGR is a tough group to pick to win this weekend. You have three capable drivers, with some average results at Kansas, with a dismal season overall so far. The fourth member of the team, he’s a rookie.