One year ago the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series hit Kentucky and rolled out it’s planned low downforce package that they were looking to institute in 2017. Fans would leave the bluegrass state with high expectations of what this would mean for racing moving forward. 365 days later, We all know who has a handle on it now. Who was on the Gas in Kentucky?
On The Gas…
5) Joey Logano – It hasn’t been a stellar season for the driver of the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, Logano entered Kentucky leaning on his teammate who had won three times. Logano would get the better end of that deal coming out with a solid 8th place finish, and grabbing the left over scraps of laps led.
4) Erik Jones – Standing in the shadow of his dominate teammate, Jones scores his second straight top ten. He’s ok with that, because now he knows he has a full time job in 2018, thanks to the “loose lips of one JGR driver.
3) Denny Hamlin – The Joe Gibbs Racing driver we almost forgot about. Hamlin led the way in the final run down for the organization still looking for that first win. Not flashy, but scoring stage points and coming home 5th.
2) Kyle Busch – Once again, running up front, contending early, fading late. We would have asked about that run, but he was in the transporter changing clothes before the No. 18 even came to a stop at the end of the field on pit road.
1) Martin Truex Jr. – Yeah, like you’re surprised. Once again, Truex dominates a mile and a half track in what he called the best car he’s ever had, and that’s saying something. When you’re on the radio asking where your racing buddy is (Kyle Busch) because you have a 16 second lead and you’re bored.
And for their next trick, Cole Pearn and Martin Truex are going to sit on hot coals and actually sweat ice water. It doesn’t seem like they can do any wrong right now. Luckily for the field, New Hampshire is a flat one mile track. Kryptonite? We shall see, but first who left Kentucky–whipped.
On The Brakes…
5) Trevor Bayne – At one point, it was looking like Roush-Fenway was on the rebound and could have two cars in the playoffs. For Bayne he wishes the season was run on paper and it did end yesterday. Two accidents and poor results recently now have the No. 6 car looking up at his teammate and the playoffs.
4) Kasey Kahne – Another week, another finish well down the running order. This time a wreck that sent the deflated driver of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy to a 38th place finish.
3) Kurt Busch – It may be the only time a crowd has cheered that loud for a broken axle. Busch looking for a solid run at Kentucky sent the mosquitoes running as the smoke billowed from the No. 41 Ford with less than a half of a lap from the white flag. Heartbreak for Busch, but a little needed excitement for the grandstands.
2) Brad Keselowski – The frustration for Keselowski and his No. 2 Penske Ford boiled over after a crash on lap 89 ended his night. From the outset Keselowski struggled with the handle and lost it all by himself. In the garage, he all but blamed the race car. He would cause quite a stir saying it’s time for an upgrade.
1) Jimmie Johnson – Ol’ seven time is not finding it so easy this year, struggles with the handle and wrong place wrong time. Something that hasn’t always plagued Johnson. He was caught up in the spin with Keselowski that would heavily damage the No. 48 Lowes Chevy and sending Johnson to his live video chat before halfway.
Kentucky left a lot of drivers singing the blues and hoping for better luck in the Granite state. The series has passed the halfway point of the season and playoff points are becoming critical as Truex Jr. continues to wrap them up, and drivers that need them, leave them on the table.