After hitting the West Coast for three consecutive races, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is off this weekend but then will race on southeastern short tracks during three of the next four weekends.
Who are the best current drivers on short tracks? The answers may surprise you.
6. KEVIN HARVICK — With an average short-track finish of 13.74, Harvick is a solid threat to win. Of course, that’s pretty much true everywhere he goes. The 2014 Sprint Cup champion has five short-track victories, including at least one each at Richmond, Bristol and Martinsville.
5. CLINT BOWYER — Although he has the fewest short-track wins (2) of anyone on this list, Bowyer is solid and consistent, with an average finish of 13.42, as well as 14 top-five and 33 top-10 finishes in 60 short-track starts.
4. DALE EARNHARDT JR. — When you think of Earnhardt, you think of restrictor-plate tracks, right? Well, think again. The driver of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet has five short-track victories, 30 top fives, 2,263 laps led and an outstanding average finish of 13.00.
3. JIMMIE JOHNSON — No one has more short-track victories than Johnson, who has won 12 times on the tight circuits. In 84 races, he also has 34 top fives, 49 top 10s and average finish of 12.75. Johnson has the most short-track laps led of any active driver, a whopping 3,997.
2. DENNY HAMLIN — Joe Gibbs Racing occupies the top two spots on this list, with Hamlin owning eight short-track wins, 23 top fives and 35 top 10s in just 59 starts. His average finish is 11.85.
1. KYLE BUSCH — To be The Man you’ve got to beat The Man, and right now, the younger Busch is The Man. At NASCAR short tracks, he has nine race victories and the best average finish of 11.40. The 2015 Cup champion will be tough to beat in the weeks ahead, for sure.