Though I wasn’t able to watch the GoBowling 400 at Kansas on Saturday night, I’m still able to research and see who did what and where they stand right now. Of course I refrained from naming my list last week due to the carnage at Talladega since it was nothing more than a demolition derby, which seemed fair since only a fraction came out with little or no damage. But this time these five drivers have earned their stripes once again:
- Kyle Busch: Winning his third race of the season and beating Kansas for the first time is huge. Kyle is now the all-time wins leader for Joe Gibbs Racing surpassing Tony Stewart, as he now has the most top five finishes with nine. Five top two finishes in the last six races has kept him on a hot streak and maintaining a spot in the top five all season long. With Kansas out of the way, Charlotte and Pocono are the only two tracks remaining that he hasn’t won yet.
- Brad Keselowski: A 10th place finish including a win at Talladega has kept Keselowski moving up in the point standings while Joey Logano begins to take a tumble. Logano has not been able to get a consecutive streak of anything going as far as top 10’s are concerned. Keselowski looks to be taking back the leading reins where he was supposed to be the veteran leader since Logano’s arrival, but it appears the fortunes have now been reversed.
- Chase Elliott: The newest driver of the number 24 and Hendrick Motorsports is having a say about who will be NASCAR Rookie Of The Year. A few stumbling blocks here and there have not kept Elliott from climbing into the top 10 in points, now that he has more top 10’s than rival Ryan Blaney. Three of last five races have been in the top five, which means he’s inching closer to his first ever Sprint Cup win in his rookie season. Two poles at restrictor plate races have been huge pushes also.
- Kevin Harvick: Coming back from a 15th place finish at Talladega to nearly catching Kyle Busch at Kansas shows that Harvick isn’t going away without a fight. The lack of downforce and not being able to catch the leader at the end has to be beyond pulling his hair out, but Harvick isn’t lacking power. Once Harvick corrects what’s holding him back from having 10-win seasons, he will give Kyle a run for his money all the way to the Chase and maintain his points lead.
- Kurt Busch: Though winless, big brother Kurt isn’t no slouch either as he gives his teammate Harvick a run for his money also. Finishing third at Kansas and earning five top 10’s the last five races has helped him climb back into the top five in points, two of those in the top three. Also with two poles under his belt, he’s in a race with Chase to see who will get their first win of 2016. He too is looking for more downforce to help compete with little brother Kyle to help overthrow JGR.
Order looks to be restored after Talladega and thanks to a much cleaner night race at Kansas. The Monster Mile at Dover may not look hard, but driving on concrete is difficult even though it looks to be a fun track. I don’t imagine it will be like Talladega, but it’s a lot harder to handle.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Bryan Law