Five NASCAR drivers to watch at Martinsville Speedway

Here are five NASCAR drivers to watch as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Martinsville Speedway for the STP 500.

The NASCAR Cup Series is headed to Martinsville Speedway for the sixth race in the 2019 NASCAR season.

Last weekend at Auto Club Speedway, Kyle Busch picked up his 200th NASCAR victory. His win tied him with Richard Petty for the most total wins in NASCAR.

The week before at ISM Raceway, four of our five drivers finished inside the top-10.

Now we head to Martinsville Speedway where the cars will be using the same rules package from ISM Raceway in Phoenix.

Will Kyle Busch win three in a row? Will someone snap their winless streak? Will there be a new face in victory lane this season?

Here are five drivers to keep any eye on this weekend to see how they perform at Martinsville Speedway.

Kyle Busch

Busch has won the last two races this season and is headed to one of his best tracks. Busch is the only driver to finish inside the top-5 in the last four races at Martinsville Speedway.

His average finish in those races is 2.2 with a worst finish of fourth. He’s led 582 laps, which is an entire race at Martinsville Speedway and also 213 laps more than the next driver.

Clint Bowyer is the defending race winner. (World Copyright: Barry Cantrell, NKP)

Clint Bowyer

Bowyer is the most recent winner of this race, picking up his first win for Stewart-Haas Racing at Martinsville Speedway last spring.

Winning last year at Martinsville Speedway as something that Bowyer thought he would accomplish one day.

“I remember telling someone that I was going to win at Martinsville someday,” said Bowyer in his pre-race advance. “I’ve always run well there. I just knew some day when everything went right we’d be in victory lane, and we were.”

Bowyer has the fourth best average finish in the last four races and has led 216 laps in that span.

Brad Keselowski has the second best average finish of all drivers in the last four races at Martinsville Speedway. (World Copyright: Barry Cantrell, NKP)

Brad Keselowski

Keselowski enters Martinsville Speedway with the second best average finish, 5.0, in the last four races at the short track.

The driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford is one of only two drivers, the other is Busch, to finish inside the top-10 in the last four races. In addition to that, he’s led the third most laps during that span, behind Busch and teammate Joey Logano.

Keselowski won this race in 2017 and with a win already this season, could continue to build his early season momentum with another win.

Kevin Harvick’s win at Martinsville Speedway was in 2011. (World Copyright: Barry Cantrell, NKP)

Kevin Harvick

When looking at the Harvick’s stat sheet for the last four races at Martinsville Speedway, the number that stands out the most is zero. That would be zero (0) laps led in those four races.

Despite that, Harvick has the sixth best average finish, 10.0, and a pair of top-5 finishes in the last three races at Martinsville.

Harvick hasn’t won at Martinsville Speedway in the Cup Series since 2011 but knows what needs to happen to add another grandfather clock. “I think the best position to be in at any racetrack is in the lead,” said Harvick in his pre-race advance.

“You want to be in control of the race and try to get yourself in a position to where you can have a good, clean restart and have as much clear track – especially at Martinsville – just for the fact that there is so much pushing and shoving on the restarts to get to the bottom lane that you want to try to be as far forward as possible.”

Martin Truex Jr. has yet to win on a short track in the Cup Series. (World Copyright: Nigel Kinrade, NKP)

Martin Truex Jr.

Truex Jr. is still searching for his first win on a short track in the Cup Series. That win could come as soon as this weekend.

Truex Jr. has the third best average finish, 6.2, in the last four races at Martinsville Speedway. He has three top-5 finishes during that span, which ties him with Keselowski and sits only behind Busch.

Despite only leading 64 laps in the last four races, he’s been able to lead laps in three of those.

Follow Matt on Twitter @mattlovisa.