Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick have dominated the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Just when you think one of the drivers has the advantage, the other one jumps up and says not so fast.
Kyle Busch won the Coco-Cola 600 last week in record-breaking fashion. The longest race on the Cup Series schedule was broken down into four 100-lap stages. Busch won all the stages, picking up the maximum points available - 70. This gives him a 67-point lead over Joey Logano. With 60 points being the max in any other race this season, Busch can finish last next week and still be leading the points race.
Busch started on the pole and led all but 23 of the 400-lap race. He never was passed on the track during green flag runs and the only time he was not leading the race was because of drivers staying out on the track during green-flag pit stops. Busch’s pit crew got him out first on yellow-flag pit stops and he always pulled away from the rest of the field.
The Charlotte Motor Speedway was the only track on the MENCS circuit Busch has not won. With his victory last week, he is the only active driver in NASCAR to win at every track, something not even Jeff Gordon or Jimmy Johnson have achieved.
Harvick was supposed to give Busch stiff competition in the 600, but it didn’t pan out. Harvick entered the race determined to win for the sixth time, but had to start last when he failed to post a qualifying time. He still gave the fans a thrill when he moved into sixth after the first 45 laps. With 17 laps to go in the first stage, Harvick was running fourth when a tire blew, sending him into the wall and ending his day.
The regular season is at the halfway point and Harvick and Busch have won nine of the 13 races. It is becoming apparent that the point standings are becoming extremely important in gaining entry into the playoffs. As it stands now, Eric Jones, Alex Bowman and Chase Elliott are in the playoffs, with Ricky Stenhouse, Paul Menard and Daniel Suarez looking to move ahead of them.
Last Sunday was a race junkies dream with 1,262 miles of racing being contested among three different racing series. Daniel Ricciardo won the Monaco Grand Prix (162 miles), Will Power was victorious in the Indy 500, giving team owner Roger Penske his 17th victory. Then Kyle Busch closed out the long day of racing by winning the Coco-Cola 600.
The highlight of the weekend was probably Saturday night’s running of the Show Me 100, a late model race on a dirt track. It produced more excitement for the fans than any of Sunday’s races.