Kevin Harvick wins his seventh race of the season and takes the playoff points lead by winning both stages and the race at Michigan this past weekend. Harvick pretty much dominated the race once again as he led more than half of the laps in the race and didn’t really have anyone challenge him throughout. Kyle Busch finished third leading the third most laps and Martin Truex Jr. finished fourteenth after leading the second most laps. This just showed me the “Big Three” are still the drivers to beat if you want to win a championship this year.
Right now they are doing nothing other than trying to win stages and the races to bank as many playoff points as they can get. They are all going to be tough to knock out of any round with the playoff points they have already accumulated with Harvick having 40, Busch having 35, and Truex with 27. The next closest to these three is Clint Bowyer with only 10 playoff points. The last four in right now have a combined total of 1 playoff point between them. Hard for them to make up a lot of points in only three races in each round if the playoffs.
BASS PRO SHOPS NRA NIGHT RACE
Now there are only three races left before the playoffs start. This week the series heads back to the Bristol Motor Speedway for the running if the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race. This week we are going to see why they call this the last great coliseum when they start racing under the lights on Saturday night. You are going to see some great paint schemes, and even better than that some great and fun racing to watch.
It is go time for the teams and drivers who are trying to win a race just to make it into the playoffs. Those who are just below and just above the cut line are going to be doing everything they can to finish as close to the front as they can, everyone is going to be trying to win the race to put themselves into the playoffs. Those already in are going to be racing for playoff points. Those who aren’t close to the top sixteen in points know they have to win to get in. There is going to be a lot of rumbling in Thunder Valley this weekend.
Kyle Busch: I am picking Kyle to match Kevin with his seventh win of the season this weekend at Bristol. Kyle has won the last two races here and in his last six starts he has led 721 laps. Nine of his last eleven starting positions were in the top ten also. This tells me that Kyle starts towards the front and stays towards the front to come away with these types of numbers.
Kevin Harvick: Kevin has three top five and six top ten finishes in his last six starts here including a win in this race two years ago. It is hard to keep him off your roster any weekend, but I have to save some starts for him and therefore I will not have him on my roster this week despite how well he has run here in those last six races. He has also failed to qualify in the top four in those last six starts, so I am not expecting him to garner me any qualifying points this week.
Kyle Larson: Kyle finished second to Busch this spring and he has led 472 laps over his last three Bristol races and has finished in the top ten in all of those races. He seems to have hit a bit of a spell where he hasn’t been competing for wins lately and finished seventeenth at Michigan last weekend where he was expecting to challenge for the win. Tough call on whether or not I should put him on my roster this weekend.
Joey Logano: Joey won back to back fall races here during the 2014 and 2015 seasons. He has also finished in the top ten in five of his last six fall races here. Then again he has finished in the top ten here in his last three spring races too. That gives me some confidence in him coming into this weekend. He hasn’t shown that he can compete on the larger tracks, but he is awfully good here.
Denny Hamlin: Denny has one win at this track and has finished third here in each of his last three fall races. This team sat on the pole the last two weeks, but couldn’t come away with a win, nor did they even really compete for a win in those races. He runs well here, but scares me with the pit road penalties he collects. Those will ruin your night at Bristol in a hurry.
Jimmie Johnson: Once again they didn’t show me anything last week on an intermediate track. This week I think things could be different. This is the type of track where Jimmie could break his winless streak. He has five top five finishes in his last eight starts here. Granted he only led laps in one of those races, but this is go time and he needs to pick up a win and some playoff points before the playoffs begin.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: For some reason, Ricky runs pretty well here. He has two runner-up finishes and six top ten finishes in his eleven career starts at Bristol. I think he can come away with another top ten finish here, but then I do have some concerns with him. He doesn’t have a lot of friends from the race at Daytona and they all remember that and won’t cut him any slack this weekend. If he is in the way he gets moved, so I’m not so sure about starting him this week.
Kurt Busch: Kurt won five of his first eleven starts at Bristol. His last win came back in the 2006 season. Since that time he has only finished in the top five five times and that covers twenty-four races. Then again, three of those top five finishes have come in his last eight races. It seems like this race is always feast or famine for Kurt. He has only finished on the lead lap here in four of his last eleven starts. He is another driver I don’t know if I should take a chance on this week.
Ryan Newman: The RCR teams both looked strong last week at Michigan and Ryan always seems to run well here. He has finished in the top ten in five of his last seven starts and has finished on the lead lap here in eight of his last nine races. You hardly ever here much about him during the races, but he quietly seems to get the job done when he has the right setup. I think he is well worth having on your team this weekend.
Martin Truex Jr.: The last of the “Big Three” to talk about this week. This is my stay away from driver this weekend. In twenty-five starts at this track, Martin only has three top ten finishes. He has only finished on the lead lap in two of his last ten starts at Bristol. I don’t know what it is about this track, but it is one of the few Martin hasn’t figured out yet. I’m sure he will continue to improve here during his career, but I’m not comfortable having him on my team this weekend.
DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Driver Group Game Group A
- Kyle Busch
- Joey Logano
Driver Group Game Group B
- Ryan Newman
- Jamie McMurray
- Trevor Bayne
- Clint Bowyer
Driver Group Game Group C
- Alex Bowman
- Darrell Wallace Jr.
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY
- Kyle Busch
- Kevin Harvick
- Joey Logano
- Kyle Larson
- Jimmie Johnson
Dark Horse: Ryan Newman
Stay Away From: Martin Truex Jr.
Big 18: Jimmie Johnson