Ten races at 10 different tracks, all to determine the 16 drivers who will battle for one prize – the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
These next 10 races will test each driver’s versatility. A wide array awaits: 1.5 milers like this Saturday night’s race at Kentucky; a restrictor plate track (Daytona); a triangle (Pocono); a road course (Watkins Glen); a short track (Bristol); one of the most historic sporting venues in the world (Indianapolis) – and more.
First up, Kentucky. And much of the chatter will center around four-time series champion Jeff Gordon, who is comfortably in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup discussion thanks to his win at Kansas Speedway.
There are 23 race tracks on the current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule; Jeff Gordon has a win – or eight – at 22 of them. His only hole is Kentucky Speedway, and it’s an understandable one.
The series has raced there just three times, all won by different winners. Gordon has fared fairly well in those three events, collecting three top 10s, including a fifth-place finish in 2012.
If he were to win on Saturday night, he’d be the first driver in NASCAR history to win at every track on the active schedule. For the record, Gordon’s win list includes Rockingham, which hosted its last NASCAR Sprint Cup race in 2004.
“Kentucky is a very challenging track that is tough to win on,” Gordon said. “The transitions are tricky – it’s pretty flat from the back straightaway into to Turn 3 plus there’s a huge bump going in there.
“Winning at all the tracks would be something that I would be very proud of. But it seems every time we get close to accomplishing that goal, another track is added! … But I think winning at all the tracks would be a pretty awesome feat.”
Richard Childress Racing Is Back In The Saddle Again
Richard Childress Racing’s mid-season push has them staring at a possible three-race win streak following Paul Menard’s victory at Michigan and Brendan Gaughan’s triumph last weekend at Road America.
“When I came to RCR, I told Richard (Childress) that all I wanted to do was prove I could still win races, and ever since then it has been the best racing of my life,” said Gaughan.
Another win would shock few. The No. 3 RCR team swept the 2012 Kentucky season at the 1.5-mile track, and finished runner-up last fall with driver Austin Dillon. This season Ty Dillon, who won at Kentucky in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series last season, commands the famed No. 3 Chevrolet and leads the RCR contingent to the blue-grass state.
So, there’s a chance.
And maybe Gaughan could go back-to-back, himself. He has the eighth best pre-race Driver Rating (105.9) in the NNS at Kentucky in part by finishing third there in 2012.
Kyle Busch Goes After Personal, Series Record At Kentucky
Kyle Busch races with an engine. And quite often, wins.
The second-generation driver has accumulated 134 wins in all three NASCAR national series and currently holds the record for highest winning percentage in the truck series at nearly 33% with 39 wins in 119 starts. His 134 wins rank second overall in history for most wins across all three NASCAR national series.
He will once again attempt triple duty this weekend at Kentucky Speedway, and in Thursday night’s truck race, Busch has the opportunity to set a record.
If Busch can find a way to Victory Lane this Thursday night in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 225 he will solely own a record with his sixth consecutive win in as many starts. He has accomplished five wins in a row twice. In addition to his current streak, Busch also won five in a row in 2009. Ron Hornaday Jr. has also won five-in-five, also in 2009. Hornaday did not miss a start during his streak.
In four previous truck races at Kentucky, Busch has one win and has finished in the top-10 in every start.
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