Kyle Busch logged his 200th victory across NASCAR’s top three Series’ last week, a pretty special number in motorsports. While not the same as “The King” Richard Petty’s 200 Cup wins, it has certainly garnered a lot of attention and is worthy of such.
Today, the drivers head back east to Martinsville, VA, and a track that pre-dates Petty’s career completely. Steeped in history — yet still not a Crown Jewel race — it is one that everyone wants to win.
Here’s what to look for:
–Joey Logano snaked the Pole with just 30 or so seconds left in Qualifying. He’s also the guy who won here last; Logano led 309 laps in that one after starting 10th. Clean air for the #22, and he’ll be the first of four Fords lining up out front on race day.
–Aric Almirola was the driver that surrendered P1, looking like he had it all sewn up. They were the two drivers with the least amount of laps on their tires in Round 3 (which will no doubt be a huge part of strategy next time we’re here) so it makes sense that they ended up where they did. Almirola has carried a 17.3 average here through the last ten races, and is riding a current streak of five Top 20s. Today’s he’s rocking a SHAZAM! car, and hopes that he’s got a little Super Power on Sunday. (Greg Biffle won a 2004 Michigan race in the Flash car..which makes PERFECT sense.)
–Kyle Busch is making his 1000th start across those top three Series’ (which, via math, lets us know that he’s won slightly more than 20% of his races), and his statistics here are pretty gross. A 5.0 average finish going back ten races, and has seven straight Top 5s; “videogame numbers,” as they say. His last two victories were the Fall of ’17 and Spring of ’16.
–Clint Bowyer took the checkers last spring, and boy, is he happy to be back here. NASCAR Goes West did not treat him well, but this is a track he’s had some success at. He started 9th and led 215 laps last Spring en route to the first of his two 2018 Wins. Today he rolls off 10th.
–Denny Hamlin is someone we dare not forget. In 26 starts, he’s got five Wins, thirteen Top 5s, and nineteen Top 10s. Eye-popping results, though he’s cooled off a little bit from 2006-2010 when he was really dropping the hammer. Some tough Springs here the last few years, but he was pretty good in Practice on Saturday, and put a period on that with a 5th place Qualifying attempt.
Coverage of the race starts on FS1 at 2:00pm, green flag scheduled for 2:07pm.