Six Sprint Cup Series Drivers Who Need To Step It Up A Notch

Photo Credit: Fred Blood

Whether it be bad luck, or just a case of bad driving, some drivers this season have been lurking in a dark and dangerous place. As the season started, many people, drivers and fans alike had their eyes set on some drivers, and some of those drivers are currently letting us down. Whether it be because bad luck feeds on those who least deserve it, or they just haven’t put together the right package, these six drivers need to get a move on with their acts before it’s too late.

 

Kevin Harvick

Currently in points – 25th.

It’s hard to believe that a man with a win is on this list and almost in a guaranteed spot in the Chase later this year, but Kevin Harvick leaves some room for improvement.  A lot of improvement actually.

Harvick has consistently been the most competitive of the four Stewart-Haas cars, but following his Phoenix win, the results haven’t backed it up. For three consecutive weeks, Kevin Harvick has faced mechanical issues that have severely affected where he has been able to finish. In Las Vegas, he suffered a wheel hub failure after being in contention to win all. Bristol wasn’t any better when, with 50 laps to go, an oil line broke, sending a potential top-5 finish out the window. Fontana was not any better as he saw another great run bogged down bytwo tire failures, which wasn’t exactly uncommon at Fontana.

“It’s kind of the same story as the last few weeks,” Harvick said. “We’ll have a really strong run going, and something happens and we don’t get the finish that we deserve. It’s really frustrating.”

No one could have put it any better. Considering he does have a win in his back pocket though, Harvick shouldn’t lose too much sleep over his woes.

 

Kurt Busch

Currently in points – 24th.

After a stellar 10th place finish in the Chase last season with the Furniture Row team, many people expected so much more from Kurt Busch in his Stewart Haas racing team.

Finishing third last week behind his brother Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson, his luck may finally start to turn around. Maybe. Looking back at his last five finishes, Kurt Busch has a 35th place finish at Bristol, 26th at Las Vegas, 39th at Phoenix, and a 21st at Daytona, plus the 3rd place finish at Fontana. This averages out to about 24.8. Not exactly what most were expecting after such a strong run last year.

If Kurt Busch wants any chance to be in the Chase this year, he needs to step it up for more than a week, and keep it up.

 

Martin Truex Jr.

Currently in points – 30th

Martin Truex Jr. almost made the Chase last year. In fact, he did for a few days after the Richmond race, but he unfortunately drew the short straw in the scandal and was kicked out.

After switching to Furniture Row Racing from Michael Waltrip racing during the off season and after Busch’s stellar performance with the same team, hopes were held high for Martin Truex Jr. as well. The first sign, perhaps, of this being a rough start to the season, might have been on lap 33 of the Daytona 500, when Truex Jr. blew an engine, leaving him with a finish of 43rd.

It can’t get any worse than that, but it doesn’t mean it has to get better either. The next four finishes were about as disappointing at that with a 22nd at Phoenix, 36th at Bristol, and 23rd at Fontana. His highest finish of the year was 14th at Las Vegas.

While Kurt Busch needs to be strong for more than a week, Truex Jr. needs to be stronger – period. Can it be done at Martinsville? Perhaps, but True Jr. says himself that he still needs to figure out the track.

“To be honest, Martinsville is a place I still haven’t figured out,” Truex Jr. stated. “I have had some good runs over the years there, but it has been very inconsistent. There have been times I’ve been fast there and times I couldn’t get out of my own way.”

Maybe next week will be the week? Not the most likely scenario.

 

Clint Bowyer

Currently in points – 23rd.

Maybe it was the conspiracy theories that were flying everywhere last year. Maybe it was his itchy arm, but one thing is for sure – Clint Bowyer is not the same as he was when he started the season last year.

Bowyer is more of a consistent driver than he is a winning driver. While he finished seventh in points last year, he was unable to wrack a single victory throughout the year.  After Richmond last year, Clint Bowyer has been mediocre. His highest finish in the last 15 points races? Third, back in Martinsville last year. All his other finishes have been ninth, 10th or worse, with the exception of Homestead where he wracked in a top 5.

If Bowyer wants any chance at a win, much less the Chase, he needs to start finishing higher than 13th, and start competing for wins repeatedly throughout the rest of the season. Perhaps if he wasn’t so consistent with the bad finishes, he might have a better chance.

 

Greg Biffle

Currently in points – 21st

Greg Biffle is one of those guys whom normally we see his strengths at the beginning of the season. He normally dies down as the season progresses, but he consistently has been good from the beginning to about halfway through the year. So far this year, we haven’t heard much of him or about him.

That’s probably because his highest finish this year is an eight place finish at Daytona. He then has followed that with an 17th, 22nd, 12th, and 40th . His average for the year? 20th place. That average definitely leaves room for improvement.

I wouldn’t let him out of your sights though. He should start picking it up soon here, and if he doesn’t? Don’t expect him to pick it up at all.

 

Kasey Kahne

Currently in standings – 19th.

While 19th is a lot better than a few of the guys listed, Kasey Kahne needs to be on this list.

Kasey Kahne is a typically very fast driver, whose cars are typically very fast as well. This year has been no different. The difference is while we are seeing Kahne’s speed, we are not seeing the finishes.

Throughout the past five races, he has two decent finishes which are two eighth place finishes at Bristol and Las Vegas. Those two finishes are probably the only reason Kahne is in the top twenty in points right now along with an 11th place finish at Phoenix.

While that is the majority of the races we have raced, Kahne tends follows a metaphor to a tee – when he does something, he takes it to an extreme. He finished 31st at Daytona after a myriad of unlucky breaks and accidents occurring around him, and a 41st finish at Fontana where tires were more hated than the track itself (that is debatable according to some drivers).

Either way, Kahne needs to either stop having bad days entirely, or start becoming more consistent in the way he runs.

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