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A few questions we had to ask ourselves

Can Kurt Busch turn the ‘Big 3’ into the ‘Big 4’ in time for the playoffs? GODSPEAK: In order to break into the “Big 3” club, you need more than a lone victory. Maybe Kurt will be the “Big 1” in November. KEN’S CALL: He’s getting his roll together at the right time, so it’s possible. But it’s not golf — the “Big 3” ain’t looking for a fourth.

Who is 2018’s next non-winner to win this season? GODSPEAK: Give me Ryan Blaney after Bristol’s coulda, woulda, shoulda performance. He will come back from his week off with a big chip on his shoulder. KEN’S CALL: There are some very ripe possibilities out there, but I say it doesn’t happen until Jamie McMurray wins Talladega in October.


MARTIN TRUEX JR. VS. KYLE BUSCH: Some weeks you go fishing and get a nibble, and some weeks they jump into the boat. This was pure “Big 3” on “Big 3” action when Busch wrecked Truex at Bristol. GODWIN KELLY’S TAKE: Truex will have an extra week to stew about this incident. Truex’s girlfriend Sherry Pollex tweeted: “Omg I can’t believe that just happened. Kyle Busch is a moron.”


XFINITY WINNER: Bill Elliott REST OF TOP 5: Christopher Bell, Justin Allgaier, Elliott Sadler, Cole Custer FIRST ONE OUT: Austin Cindric DARK HORSE: Jeremy Clements DON’T BE SURPRISED IF: NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Elliott joins his son, Chase, as a stock-car, road-course winner this season.


It’s an off week on the Cup schedule, but we refuse to participate in their slacking.

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Compelling questions ... and maybe a few actual answers

Will Kurt’s rebound stick this time?

Well, he turned 40 earlier this month, was remarried early last year, and has capped a good recent run with his win at Bristol. Better yet, it’s been quite a while since he went over the edge with deeds or words. And now, word is, he’s actually a coveted driver again, set to leave Stewart-Haas Racing next season and replace Jamie McMurray in Chip Ganassi’s No. 1 car. There have been times when we considered Kurt’s career to be in jeopardy, so this is quite a resurgence.

And on the flip side …?

There’s Martin Truex Jr., who enjoyed his own career rebound at Furniture Row Racing, won a championship, might win another, and may have to leave the team. Same old song: Lack of major sponsorship funding might have Truex shopping for a new ride. We’ll say it again: The long-employed business model, which remains dependent on corporate funding, needs fixing, because corporate funding is no longer automatic.

— Ken Willis,


1. Kyle Busch 1003

2. Kevin Harvick 960

3. Martin Truex Jr. 849

4. Kurt Busch 796

5. Clint Bowyer 776

6. Joey Logano 768

7. Ryan Blaney 733

8. Brad Keselowski 730

9. Kyle Larson 729

10. Denny Hamlin 707

11. Chase Elliott 697

12. Aric Almirola 658

13. Erik Jones 635

14. Jimmie Johnson 604

15. Alex Bowman 572

16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 493

17. Ryan Newman 481

18. Daniel Suarez 479

19. Austin Dillon 475

20. Paul Menard 473


XFINITY: Johnsonville 180 SITE: Road America (4.048-mile road course) SCHEDULE: Saturday, race (NBC Sports Network, 3 p.m.)

CAMPING WORLD TRUCKS: Chevrolet 250 SITE: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (2.459-mile road course) TV SCHEDULE: Sunday, race