HOMESTEAD, Fla – As hard as it is to believe, if you rank the four Championship 4 drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series right now in order of who you think will likely hoist the championship trophy at the Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday evening, Kyle Busch’s name will like have a number “4” next to it.
Yes, the driver who’s won 207 times in his storied NASCAR career, 55 times alone in the Cup Series, one that has made the Championship 4 in five straight years now, is the least likely to win the championship this weekend.
Well, it’s simple, Busch heads to a winner-take-all situation when he alone hasn’t won in 22 races himself. The last time Busch pulled his No. 18 Toyota into victory lane was at the Pocono Raceway on June 2.
Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 (3 p.m. ET/NBC/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) has been won by a Championship 4 driver in every year since its inception in 2014. So, it’s highly likely Busch, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. or Kevin Harvick will win on Sunday.
Since Busch’s last trip to victory lane, the other three drivers have won a combined 12 times in a 21 race span. Each have won four times a piece. In terms of 1.5-mile tracks this season, the same size that we’ll race on this weekend, Truex and Hamlin have won two races each of them with Harvick winning two weeks ago in Texas. Busch, has been shutout.
Plus, each of the last three races won on the season were Truex-Hamlin-Harvick. Hamlin, has five top five finishes in his last six races run and six in the last eight overall. Truex, has a top seven finish in literally eight of the nine playoff races run. Harvick, has 10 top 10 finishes in his last 11 starts.
Busch, meanwhile hasn’t won a race in over five months to go along with just five top 10’s in his last 10 starts on the season. Don’t the other guys have the most momentum?
Well, Busch is starting to get some. He finished runner-up last Sunday in Phoenix. Three of his five top 10 finishes since September have come in the last four weeks. Despite that, Busch isn’t a big believer in momentum.
“(Martin) Truex said it and agree with him, Momentum don’t mean shit,” Busch said on Thursday during Media Day in Miami. “Because I won Phoenix last year and went to Homestead and should have finished 14th, we ran terrible. I didn’t win through the Playoffs in 2015, went into the championship race as the underdog, shouldn’t even be there, no chance to win, and we won. So it’s all about, what can you do for me now. It used to be, what have you done for me lately, now it’s, what can you do for me now.
He could be right. Sunday isn’t about points — it’s about winning. Nothing else matters. Nothing else matters for the previous 35 races run in 2019. If you can make it this far, you’re a championship contender. No flukes get to Homestead and race for a championship.