TOP FIVE DRIVERS TO WATCH

TOP FIVE DRIVERS: SONOMA TOYOTA/SAVE MART 350

My #5 driver to watch is a former winner here and one of the most consistent, #41 Kurt Busch. He has 18 starts in Sonoma, a 2011 win and seven Top 5 finishes. He is my #5 rated road course driver and happy to have that Hendrick motor shop power under the hood.

My #4 pick won here seven years ago, #14 Clint Bowyer. Last year Clint was the hot shoe from the hot team rollin in here with a Michigan win, this year Stewart Haas Racing is winless. Clint has to be happy to be here, where Clint has 13 starts, the win in 2012 and eight Top 5’s (65%). Interestingly six of his Top 5’s came in his last eight races. He is #4 ranked on road courses.

The #3 driver is this year’s hot shoe coming off a big win at Michigan, #22 Joey Logano. Joey has ten starts here and only two Top 5’s, but he really is getting better. His two Top 5’s came in his last four stops here. Joey is loaded with confidence coming off his motor city win and Team Penske is second only to Joe Gibbs Racing in number of wins this year.

My #2 driver finally won here in 2017, #4 Kevin Harvick. Kevin won at the other road course, Watkins Glen in 2006, but had to wait til two years ago to win in a cup race here. Kevin, from nearby Bakersfield did win here in the old Southwest tour in 1998 but you know he loved to getting that cup win. Kevin is ranked #6 on road courses and is #5 hottest over the last six weeks. In his 18 visits here he has six Top 5’s.

The #1 driver is a road course winner, and not just here, he is one of three active drivers in the field to win at both road courses, #18 Kyle Busch. Kyle is the only active driver to score wins here and at Watkins Glen twice each. He won here four years ago and in his 14 starts has that win as well one in 2008. He is #2 in points, #6 hottest over the last six weeks and ranked #2 for me on road courses.

Monday look for our preview of the Overton’s 400 from Chicagoland speedway.