SPARTA, KY – Can we get two straight weeks of young gun Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers winning? Last week, the President of the International Speedway Corporation put some of the blame for sagging attendance and TV ratings on the lack of young drivers in victory lane this year.
Prior to last weekend’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at the Daytona International Speedway, 15 of the 17 drivers to win this season were 32 years of age or older. Coincidentally enough, the two youngest drivers to win this year were both 27 at the time of their victories. Both were on plate tracks too.
27 year old Austin Dillon won the Daytona 500 while 27 year old Joey Logano won the spring race in Talladega. Other than that, Kyle Busch (33), Martin Truex Jr. (38), Clint Bowyer (39) and Kevin Harvick (42) won all the other races.
But, last Saturday night, 22 year old Erik Jones won in Daytona. Now, can 24 year old Ryan Blaney win Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 (7:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN/PRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at the Kentucky Speedway?
Right now, trends say no as the last 12 consecutive winners on 1.5-mile tracks have been either Busch, Truex or Harvick. Plus, Blaney has had some terrible luck lately. Heading into this weekend’s race, Blaney’s last three finishes are 34th, 18th and 40th respectively. Four of his last seven starts on the season has seen him finish 34th or worse as well. With those trends mixed with the average age of the non restrictor plate races being 38, odds don’t favor Blaney winning.
The garage area though says otherwise.
If you poll the drivers here this weekend, and we have, most favor Blaney as a winner. He was second fastest in each of the two practice sessions this weekend. His No. 12 Ford has the short run speed as well as the long run speed. He has a car to win. Will the luck be on his side though?