What Happened to Jimmie Johnson?
Jimmie Johnson has one of the winningest careers in MENCS history (T-6th all-time with 83 wins), but he's currently on a career-long 41-race losing streak. This week probably won't help his chances much as Kentucky is 1 of the 3 active tracks where Jimmie Johnson has never won.
Johnson is the only driver to have made the playoffs every year since its inception (2004) and despite his lack of wins this year, he still currently sits in position to make the playoffs this season. However, he's 14th in the 16-driver field, just 54 points ahead of 17th-place Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and he could easily be bumped out if more drivers start winning.
Can Erik Jones Contend?
Erik Jones clinched a playoff spot after his first MENCS win last week at Daytona. Will he be able to get another win this week?
Well, Jones has only raced here one time in his MENCS career, but he finished 6th in his first go-around. However, last week's win was only his second top-5 finish this season and his average finish this year is 15th place.
Jones is 1 of 7 drivers with a win this season. However, he ranks outside the top-10 in many other key categories.
Keselowski Looking for a Big Win at Kentucky
Brad Keselowski sits nicely in the playoff race (currently in 8th place, the top driver in on points and 189 points up on the cutoff) but he has yet to get a win this year. Luckily for Keselowski, Kentucky is a track he dominates-he has more career wins there than any other driver.
Keselowski's 3 wins at Kentucky are the 2nd most at any track in his MENCS career.
Busch and Harvick Dominate, 1.5 Miles at a Time
Kentucky is the 7th race on a 1.5-mile track to be run this Cup Series season. Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick have won every race held at 1.5-mile tracks so far this season, 3 apiece, including a thriller finish two weeks ago at Chicago between Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch.
If Busch or Harvick continue their domination of 1.5-mile tracks with a win, it'll be their 6th in 19 races this season. Since 2000, only one driver has reached 6 wins in 19 or fewer races, Kyle Busch in 2008. Since 1990, only Busch, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Sr. have won 6 races this quickly into the season.
Who's Hot and Who's Not - Kentucky
Brad Keselowski: won at Kentucky 3 times, more than any other driver
Kyle Busch: finished 1st or 2nd in 3 of the 7 races held here all-time (5.1 average finish)
Kevin Harvick: won 3 of 6 races at 1.5-mile tracks this season.
Martin Truex Jr.: five top-5 finishes in 6 races at 1.5 mile tracks this season; defending Kentucky winner
Jimmie Johnson: Kentucky is 1 of 3 active tracks he has never won at (Watkins Glen and Chicago are the others)
Kurt Busch: finished 30th at Kentucky last season (blown engine)
Kyle Larson: never won or led at Kentucky in his MENCS career
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: best career finish at a 1.5-mile track is 8th; never finished in top 10 in his career at Kentucky
--- ESPN Stats & Info ---