It’s no secret, this year’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season has been dominated by three drivers. Combined, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. have won 13 of 18 races through the first half of the season. Take out the three restrictor plate races and they’re 13 for 15. Clint Bowyer is the only driver between that threesome to win a race other than at Daytona or Talladega. He and Kyle Larson are battling hard for that fourth spot to be included in the “Big 4.”
Will one of these five win this weekend?
Two weeks ago in Chicagoland, they swept the top five finishing positions.
Between Busch, Harvick and Truex Jr., they’ve combined to win the last 12 races on 1.5-mile tracks. Since the 2017 Las Vegas race, that trio has actually won 14 of the last 16 on intermediate tracks. The only two races they didn’t win was in the 2017 Coca-Cola 600 (Austin Dillon) and the 2017 spring race at Texas (Jimmie Johnson).
Truex, won this very race last year and led 152 laps in the process. Busch, led 112 laps himself as the duo combined to lead 264 laps in 2017 at Kentucky. Between them, they’ve won three of the seven trips so far to the Bluegrass State.
On 1.5-mile tracks this season, Busch has three wins (Texas, Charlotte, Chicago), a runner-up (Las Vegas), a seventh place finish (Atlanta) and 10th place effort (Kansas). Truex, has two runner-ups (Kansas, Charlotte), two fourth’s (Las Vegas, Chicago) and a fifth place run (Atlanta). Harvick, while not ever scoring a top five finish in Kentucky, like Busch has three wins on 1.5-mile tracks (Atlanta, Las Vegas, Kansas), a runner-up (Texas) and a third place run (Chicago) to his credit.
Now, to go to an even broader scale, lets go back to the last 40 Cup races. Those three with the addition of Larson and Bowyer have won 31 of them. Take out the five restrictor plate races and they’ve won 31 of 35 (89%). The only drivers to win a non plate race since last June in the Cup Series was Denny Hamlin (Darlington, New Hampshire), Kasey Kahne (Indianapolis) and Matt Kenseth (Phoenix). All those were won in 2017.
We can even go to the last 33 races, Busch has won nine times, Truex eight, Harvick six and Larson and Bowyer two times a piece. That’s 27 of 33 (82%). Again, take out the plate races, they’re 27-for-29 (93%).
So, would you want to bet on someone other than these five to win on Saturday night?