So, who here thought that Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing would still be winless at this juncture of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. You in the back, sit down- I don’t believe it.
Everyone was just sure that was going to change last Sunday at Martinsville. Kyle Busch led 174 laps, but eventually gave way to race winner Brad Keselowski. Chase Elliott started on the front row, and even led 20 laps, but that first top series victory eluded him. Matt Kenseth rebounded from a couple of bum starts to finish ninth.
Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne were kind of “meh” for Martinsville. Denny Hamlin and Daniel Suarez had days they would rather forget. So much for Martinsville.
Now Texas Motor Speedway, that’s another story. NASCAR is back out on a big, fast, wide open track. That’s the kind of track that bodes well for a well-funded, successful racing team that can take advantage. Things can still go wrong, but there’s much less potential for full-contact fender banging.
With six wins at Texas Motor Speedway, we’re talking about one of this being one of those Jimmie Johnson playgrounds. Over at JGR, Matt Kenseth has a couple of TMS victories to his credit. Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch have a pair of wins each. In the HMS camp, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne are also past winners at Texas. With rookie Daniel Suarez and sophomore Chase Elliott, it’s just a matter of time.
We all know this so-called slump won’t last, though it’s been a mighty long time- try 1994- since these two super-teams have gone this far into the season without tasting victory. Keep in mind, they’ve already come real close. It will happen. Texas Motor Speedway may be the best opportunity yet for one of these two teams that have led the way for much of the last decade or so.
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