Best short track nascar drivers

Best short track nascar drivers DEFAULT

If you’re a race fan, it’s a great time of year: short-track season. The next two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races are at tracks that are 0.75 miles or shorter. That means lots of fender banging, trading paint and short tempers.

In other words, good old-fashioned, back-to-the-roots racing.

Hard racing. Take-no-prisoners racing. Real racing.

Following the off weekend for Easter break, NASCAR will head to Bristol Motor Speedway for the second short-track race of 2017 -- the Food City 500 on April 23 (2 p.m. ET, FOX).

We look at the 20 greatest NASCAR Premier Series short-track winners of all time. The top 12 on this list are all members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Stats provided by DriverAverages.com.

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Jack Smith, 11 short-track wins

Jack Smith, 11 short-track wins

In his career, which ran from 1949-64, a little more than half of Smith’s victories came at short tracks. He won three times at the old Concord Speedway, not far from where Charlotte Motor Speedway sits today.

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Fred Lorenzen, 13

In 1963, Lorenzen became the first driver in NASCAR history to win more than $100,000 in a single season. Six of his 13 short-track victories came at Martinsville Speedway.

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Jimmie Johnson, 13

Another driver who loves Martinsville Speedway is seven-time NASCAR champion Johnson, who has nine victories at the Virginia short track.

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Joe Weatherly, 13

The two-time NASCAR champion won three times at Richmond International Raceway, which was his best short track.

Herb Thomas, 14

The driver who immortalized The Fabulous Hudson Hornet won four races at the long-defunct Palm Beach Speedway half-mile track in South Florida.

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Buck Baker, 14

A South Carolina native, Baker’s NASCAR Hall of Fame career included four victories at Columbia Speedway in the Palmetto State.

Jeff Gordon, 17

The four-time NASCAR champion was good at most every discipline of stock-car racing. Gordon won nine races at Martinsville Speedway, including his 93rd and final race victory in 2015.

Jim Paschal, 19

One of the sport’s truly underrated drivers, Paschal won three times each at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway and Martinsville Speedway.

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Lee Petty, 20

The patriarch of the Petty clan, Lee won four times at Asheville-Weaverville (N.C.) Speedway in the western part of the state.

Rusty Wallace, 25

The former Team Penske star won nine races at Bristol Motor Speedway and another seven at Martinsville Speedway.

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Rex White, 26

Six of White’s short-track victories came at Bowman-Gray Stadium, a track in Winston-Salem, N.C., that still hosts races today.

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Dale Earnhardt, 27

The Intimidator was known to rattle some cages at short tracks, especially Bristol Motor Speedway, where he won nine times.

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Cale Yarborough, 31

The three-time champion was good at a lot of short tracks, including Bristol Motor Speedway, where he won nine races.

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Bobby Isaac, 32

Isaac won four times at each of three NASCAR short tracks: Greenville-Pickens Speedway and Columbia Speedway, both in South Carolina, and his home track, Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

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Junior Johnson, 32

The legendary moonshiner-turned-racer cut his teeth on dirt tracks, like many of the old-school racers. He won seven races at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

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Bobby Allison, 32

During his career, Allison won races at a lot of tracks. Among the short tracks, his greatest success came at Richmond International Raceway, where he won seven times.

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Ned Jarrett, 33

Don’t let the nickname “Gentlemen Ned” fool you: Jarrett, a two-time NASCAR champion, was one of the toughest drivers of his era. His best track was Piedmont (S.C.) Interstate Fairgrounds, where he won seven races.

David Pearson, 47

When you hear Pearson’s name you think Darlington Raceway, where he won 10 races, or Michigan International Speedway, where he had nine victories.  But Pearson also won six short-track races at Richmond International Raceway.

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Darrell Waltrip, 47

A fantastic short-track racer, D.W. won 12 times at Bristol Motor Speedway, 11 races at Martinsville Speedway and 10 more at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

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Richard Petty, 128

The margin by which Petty leads those behind him is mind-boggling. “The King” won 15 times each at Martinsville Speedway and North Wilkesboro Speedway and 12 more at Richmond International Raceway.

Sours: https://www.foxsports.com/nascar/gallery/the-20-best-nascar-short-track-racers-of-all-time-040117-041617

What Are Short Tracks in NASCAR Racing? How Is Short Track Racing Different?

We have often heard that the NASCAR fraternity is heading to a short track for a race. But what is a short track?

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A short track is an oval track that is less than one mile in length. The majority of such tracks are 0.5 miles (0.8 km) or less. Drivers looking for a career in oval track racing mostly start their racing from short tracks, prior to climbing to arrangements that contend on bigger tracks. Because of their short length and quick activity, these tracks are regularly nicknamed “bullrings.” Proficient level NASCAR races on short tracks as a rule utilize a 500-lap or 400-lap distance.

Short tracks as a rule have lights installed and regularly have night races. The short ovals actually structure the foundation of NASCAR in the feeder arrangement. Three race tracks of this sort are scheduled in the Cup Series: Bristol, Martinsville, and Richmond.

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Short track races are very popular in NASCAR and the sport also plans to hold more races on these ovals tracks later on.

There are several tracks that have the potential for future Cup races. One is the Iowa Speedway, which was built in 2006. The Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, which was used as a Cup Series track until 1984, in addition to the Memphis Motorsports Park, which had races of the Busch Series until the 2000s, are also serious contenders.

DIVE DEEPER

Best racers on NASCAR short tracks

Like all sports, certain members of NASCAR specialize in certain aspects of the sport. As such, there are several NASCAR drivers that perform better on short tracks compared to their rivals.

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One such driver is Jeff Gordon. He cherished short-track racing and has 17 Short track wins. Kyle Busch, too, is a short track maestro, with 16 wins and 5,510 laps under his belt. He scored his last short-track win in the 2019 race at Bristol. He had a strong season a year ago with two top fives, four top 10s and 268 laps drove in the five races.

Ben Beshore, Busch’s new team boss for 2021, drove Harrison Burton to four Xfinity Series wins last season, including Martinsville.

The NASCAR legend and seven times Cup Series Champion, Jimmie Johnson was also fond of short-track racing. Out of his 83 career race wins, 14 came at the various NASCAR short track races.

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Martin Truex Jr. has four short-track victories and 1,072 laps drove in the last 10 races. A year ago, Truex posted two top-fives. This includes a victory in June at Martinsville subsequent to fighting back from a pit lane punishment.

What do you think about short tracks? And which of the younger NASCAR drivers do you think have potential to become short track maestros? Let us know!

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Abhay Aggarwal is sports analyst at EssentiallySports. Having joined ES in early 2020, he has over 300 NASCAR, Formula 1, and Tennis articles to his name. Abhay has been an avid motorsports fan for over a decade, and he even attended the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in 2011.

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Sours: https://www.essentiallysports.com/nascar-news-what-are-short-tracks-in-nascar-racing-how-is-short-track-racing-different/
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Ranking the 10 Best Active Short-Track Drivers in NASCAR

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At this point, is there a list Kevin Harvick isn't included in? The defending Sprint Cup champion has throttled the rest of the field this season with two wins already.

Don't expect that to end on the short tracks.

He hasn't always enjoyed a lot of success at tracks that are less than one mile, but Harvick still has five victories at the courses. In his first year with Stewart-Haas Racing, Harvick tallied two top-10 finishes on short tracks and narrowly missed out by finishing 11th in two others.

Coming into Sunday, Harvick has one of the most impressive streaks in the sport, with eight straight top-two finishes. He's trailing Richard Petty, who had 11 straight during his career, but Thomas McKean of ESPN Stats & Info points out why Harvick's might be more difficult:

Petty paced the field for 33 percent of his laps during that streak, whereas Harvick has been leading for more than 37 percent of the laps during his past eight starts.

Moreover, the competition at the top of the field is possibly tighter. During Petty’s run, an average of 2.3 cars finished on the lead lap each start. During Harvick’s streak, that average is 25.5 cars on the lead lap.

Harvick has 10 top-two finishes at the tedious tracks over his career, so there's a good likelihood that trend will continue Sunday. Even if the streak is broken, though, Harvick can rest easy knowing he's one of the best in the sport at short-track racing.

Sours: https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2407964-ranking-the-10-best-active-short-track-drivers-in-nascar
Extended cut: Logano vs. Hamlin from all angles - NASCAR at Martinsville Speedway

NASCAR Crash Course: Is Martin Truex Jr. the sport's best short track driver?

What if I told you 10 years ago Martin Truex Jr. would be the best short track driver in the sport? You'd probably laugh me out of the room. After all, Truex had just one NASCAR Cup Series win by that point, nearly six full-time seasons into his career. 

Yet even after Truex rose to prominence, winning the championship with Furniture Row Racing in 2017, success on this track type proved elusive. The bullrings of Bristol, Richmond and Martinsville Speedway were often an Achilles' Heel of missed opportunities. Some wondered if the mild-mannered Truex was aggressive enough: a bump-and-run by Joey Logano, for example, to win Martinsville in 2018 may have kept him from back-to-back titles. 

But something shifted for Truex once he got the monkey off his back, snapping a 0-for-80 short track drought at Richmond in April 2019. Since then, he's won three of the last five at this place, including Saturday night's 400-lap edition on the 20th anniversary of September 11th.  

"What a day to win on," Truex said after the race. "It reminds you of the honor and privilege it is to get to come out here and do this." 

It's also his most impressive short track win yet. Truex was penalized for jumping the start, his fender inching ahead after teammate Denny Hamlin spun the tires. Seconds into the race, the No. 19 Toyota driver went from sitting on the front row to 37th. 

No problem; it took less than 60 laps for Truex to work back inside the top 10. He wound up eighth after stage one, led chunks of the race after lap 269 and built an eight-second edge after the final pit stop. 

"I was like, this is ridiculous," Truex said of a penalty even teammate Hamlin agreed was the right call. "But yeah, I got over it fairly quickly … [I figured] I'm already last now, so there's nothing I can do except for go forward." 

What a push back to the front, cementing his status as the sport's best on short tracks. The win total during the past dozen races leaves no doubt: it's Truex six, Brad Keselowski two, and a handful of others with one each.  

"Honestly, nothing really clicked," Truex claims of his recent success. "It wasn't like one thing we did. It was just kind of a work in progress more than anything. Honestly, I've always felt good at this racetrack and had some really good runs years ago, in other cars with other teams." 

The difference now is Truex closes the deal. And what's the next short track on the schedule? The penultimate race of the year at Martinsville, of course. This strong playoff start (add a third at Darlington last week) should launch Truex right back into the championship conversation for 2021.   

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Green: Joe Gibbs Racing
At points during the final stage at Richmond, JGR had their teams 1-2-3-4. They wound up 1-2-3-9, leading 326 of 400 laps in an impressive all-around performance. Truex's win leaves them the only organization to clinch spots in the Round of 12 already; Hamlin's already in after his Darlington victory. 

Yellow: Kevin Harvick
He still sits winless after a career-best nine victories last year. But you have to give credit to crew chief Rodney Childers and the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 organization, posting back-to-back top-10 finishes to pull this unlikely 16th seed a whopping 25 points above the playoff cutline.  

Red: Alex Bowman
April's Richmond winner didn't have it Saturday night, never leading and falling a lap off the pace in 12th. That would have been fine if not for last week's wreck that left this driver clinging to the edge of the cutline (he's tied for Kurt Busch for the final spot in the Round of 12). Bowman said it best himself: "Darlington is just on me… when you put yourself in a hole like that, it's tough to overcome."  

Speeding Ticket: Kyle Busch
It's a rare back-to-back appearance for Busch in this section, mixed messages sent from a Richmond race that could have ended in victory lane. Busch was in front heading to the final green-flag pit stop before picking up a penalty for speeding on pit road. Ninth position was a nice recovery but left seven previous points on the table, potentially more if Busch won. 

It's the second straight mistake for him in a Richmond race; a commitment line violation in April cost him a shot at victory then. Days after a $50,000 fine for last week's incident, nearly hitting bystanders as he turned into the Darlington garage after his wreck, it's not a good look for a No. 18 team facing potential playoff elimination while their JGR teammates are breathing easy. 

Oops!  

Kurt Busch had the only serious wreck of the night when a left rear tire went down on his No. 1 Chevrolet. Bubba Wallace also had nowhere to go as that Goodyear broke loose, landing right in Bubba's path entering turns 1 and 2. 

Wallace wound up crashing later on, perhaps from something breaking after running over that giant piece of rubber. He ended the night 12 laps off the pace in 32nd. 

Honorable mention: Some fans are calling out the inconsistency of Busch's speeding penalty versus this non-call of Hamlin's tire rolling away on their final stop. Look at this video and make your own judgment call

Sours: https://www.cbssports.com/nascar/news/nascar-crash-course-is-martin-truex-jr-the-sports-best-short-track-driver/

Drivers best short track nascar

Dale or Darrell, Rusty or Jeff? NASCAR’s best short-track drivers

Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Bobby Allison were among the first drivers inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

They were soon followed by Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip and, most recently, by Rusty Wallace.

They each won championships and big races. But they all had one other thing in common — they were among NASCAR’s very best short-track drivers.

You don’t become one of NASCAR’s elite drivers without being able to win on the bullrings that separate the men from the boys.

Who was NASCAR’s greatest short-track driver?

That’s a tough debate, because NASCAR originated on short tracks, dirt ovals scattered throughout the South and then expanding to asphalt layouts up North and throughout the Midwest. In the 1950s and ‘60s, drivers raced two or three times a week and ran 40 or more races per year, mostly on short tracks.

As a result, Petty, Allison and other all-time greats won dozens of races on short tracks. Petty, for instance, scored 108 of his record 200 victories on short tracks. Drivers like Junior Johnson, Ned Jarrett and Bobby Isaac became racing legends on short tracks.

But in the modern era (1972-present), short-track races became tougher to win as new drivers emerged and superspeedways took over the Cup circuit. Nowadays, the best short-track drivers are not the ones who can win on any small track across the country, but the ones who can master such difficult ovals as high-banked Bristol, narrow Martinsville and the fast D-shaped track in Richmond.

Here’s a look at NASCAR’s best short-track drivers during the modern era.

Darrell Waltrip

When Darrell Waltrip burst onto the NASCAR scene, it didn't take him long to prove he was going to be a force on short tracks. His first career victory came at half-mile Nashville Speedway in 1975. A few months later, he won again at Richmond.

For the next 20 years, Waltrip wreaked havoc on the short tracks, dominating nearly all the short ovals. Of his 84 career victories, 47 came on short tracks, including a record 12 at Bristol and 11 at Martinsville. He won six times at Richmond and won a total of 18 races at Nashville and North Wilkesboro before those tracks dropped off the circuit.

While Petty, Allison and Yarborough won their share of short-track races in the '60s, no one in the modern era has been able to match Waltrip's short-track dominance.

When he wasn’t winning — which was rare — he was almost always up front, posting an average finish of 10.3 in 225 short-track races.

Cale Yarborough

Petty, Pearson, Allison and Yarborough battled door-to-door — and sometimes fist-to-chin — throughout the 1970s, swapping victories on NASCAR’s biggest and fastest tracks.

They all won their share of races on short tracks as well, but none was better than Yarborough.

Of his 83 career victories, 31 came on short tracks. And unlike his peers, all but two came in the modern era.

Yarborough’s talent and hard-nosed style was particularly on display at Bristol, where he won nine races, which is tied for second on the all-time list. He also won five races (six total) at Martinsville, three at Richmond and 12 at Nashville and North Wilkesboro.

Dale Earnhardt

Earnhardt may be more famous for the short-track races he didn’t win — or the ones where he wrecked someone to win.

Earnhardt’s hard-charging, hard-nosed style was made for Bristol, where he won nine races and stirred up plenty of trouble. But he also won six times at finesse tracks like Martinsville and Richmond.

He also scored a pair of wins at Nashville early in his career and won five times at North Wilkesboro.

While he is perhaps better known for his high-speed skill, especially in restrictor-plate races, Earnhardt was equally as talented on short tracks, compiling an average finish of 9.0.

Rusty Wallace

Cale Yarborough and Dale Earnhardt both won more short-track races than Wallace, but in terms of consistency, Wallace was as good as anyone.

Wallace was a threat at each of NASCAR’s short tracks, winning nine races at Bristol, seven at Martinsville and six at Richmond. He also had three wins at North Wilkesboro before it closed in 1996.

Wallace had some classic battles with Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon and others at Bristol, but he was almost always the driver to beat at Martinsville and Richmond as well. His average finish of 10.2 in 160 short-track races is one of the most impressive averages in the sport, besting Waltrip’s 10.3.

Richard Petty

Though he was known for his speedway prowess, Petty actually won more races on short tracks. Of his record 200 wins, 108 came on short tracks. And Petty won everywhere, from Augusta, Ga. to Bridgehampton, N.Y.

Most of those wins came in the ‘60s, however. He won just 23 short-track races after 1972 and just twice at Bristol. The most staggering example of the change between the 50s and 60s and the modern era is Petty’s record at Martinsville. Of his record 15 wins there, just five came in the modern era.

He won six races (13 total) at Richmond and 10 (24 total) at Nashville and North Wilkesboro.

Jeff Gordon

Like Waltrip and Wallace, Gordon immediately proved he could win on NASCAR’s short tracks. He won at Bristol in just his third season and added victories at Martinsville, Richmond and North Wilkesboro the following season.

Among active drivers, no one can match Gordon’s record on short tracks, where he has 16 career victories. He and teammate Jimmie Johnson both have eight career victories at Martinsville and Gordon has five wins at Bristol, two at Richmond and three at North Wilkesboro.

Jimmie Johnson

Johnson also has compiled an impressive short-track record, but most of his wins have come at one track — Martinsville, where he has eight career victories.

Johnson has won three times at Richmond, but has just one victory at Bristol, where he has struggled at times over the years.

Bobby Allison

Allison has 31 career short-track wins (32, according to Allison, but that’s another story). But like Petty, most of them came in the ‘60s.

In the modern era, Allison had just 12 short-track wins, six of them at Richmond. He won just twice (four total) at Bristol and, surprisingly, never won at Martinsville.

Kyle Busch

At one point, it looked like Busch might surpass Gordon’s short-track total and challenge some of the all-time greats — and he still might.

He has been particularly impressive at Bristol, where he won five races from 2007-2011. He also has been dominant at Richmond, where he has four wins in the past few years.

Terry Labonte

Labonte was known as the “Ice Man” for his cool demeanor but he could be as aggressive as they come on short tracks.

Labonte won nine short-track races and spread them across three tracks. He won twice at Bristol, and would have won a third time had Earnhardt not wrecked him on the last lap in 1999.

He also won three races at Richmond and four at North Wilkesboro, while compiling an average finish of 13.0 on short tracks.

Kurt Busch

Before there was Kyle, there was big brother Kurt, the first of the Busch brothers to master Bristol.

Kurt dominated Bristol from 2002-04, winning four out of five races with Roush Fenway Racing. He added a fifth Bristol win with Penske Racing in 2006.

Kurt also has a win each at Martinsville and Richmond.

Denny Hamlin

The newest short-track stud is Denny Hamlin, who quickly mastered the two tracks in his home state of Virginia. Hamlin has four wins at Martinsville and two at Richmond and is almost always a contender at those two tracks.

His 2012 win at Bristol solidified Hamlin’s status as the sport’s next short-track star.

Mark Martin

Like Allison and David Pearson, Martin is known for his speedway prowess, especially on intermediate tracks. But he also has an impressive record on short tracks.

Of his 40 career wins, 29 came on big tracks, but he also added seven short-track wins, scoring on each of the shorter ovals and compiling a respectable 13.4 average on short tracks.

Martin had two wins at Bristol, two at Martinsville and one at Richmond. He even won twice at North Wilkesboro.

Geoff Bodine

When he ventured South, Bodine quickly proved he could win on NASCAR’s short tracks. He scored his first career victory — and the first for Hendrick Motorsports — at Martinsville in 1984.

A former modified driver from Chemung, N.Y., Bodine won four races at Martinsville, three at North Wilkesboro and one at Nashville.

Kevin Harvick

Harvick has proven in recent years that he can win on any track and has piled up victories on a variety of ovals. But he has always been one of NASCAR’s best short-track racers, compiling an average finish of 13.6 — better than his average on any other layout.

He has been particularly strong at Richmond, where he has three career victories. He also has a win at Bristol and Martinsville.

Tony Stewart

It’s hard to believe that Stewart, one of NASCAR’s greatest drivers, has just seven short-track wins — the same number he has on road courses.

Stewart has three wins each at Martinsville and Richmond but has struggled for much of his career at Bristol, where he has just one win in 2001.

Sours: https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nascar/news/dale-or-darrell-rusty-or-jeff-nascars-best-short-track-drivers/1rpuau1srtsfr1fwxtmfhj4ss4
Racing at the World's Most Famous Short Track

NASCAR: 5 drivers to watch out for on short-track races in 2021

The 73rd season of the NASCAR Cup Series promises to be highly exciting. With only 5 races conducted at short tracks last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 has a plan in place to change that.

Richmond Raceway, which lost out to Darlington Raceway last season, will host two races along with Bristol Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway in 2021.

In that context, let's take a look at the 5 drivers to watch out for in such a setting.


#1 Brad Keselowski

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 1000Bulbs.com 500 - Qualifying

Brad Keselowski is a classic story of 'where talent meets opportunity' when it comes to racing on short tracks. He becomes even stronger while racing in his No. 2 Team Penske Ford on tracks measuring less than a mile.

The 36-year-old had a rather dominant 2020 NASCAR season on short tracks, where he registered two wins. Keselowski led a total of 397 laps in as many as five races. He also boasts of a total of three wins in his last eleven short-track outings.

While the dirt-track race at Bristol may demand Keselowski to bring his A-game to the table, he surely remains the one to watch out for at Richmond and Martinsville.

Brad Keselowski also stands tied with Kevin Harvick for the fourth position, with seven wins in short-track races.

#2 Chase Elliott

NASCAR Cup Series Xfinity 500

The fact that Chase Elliott has just a single win in Martinsville to show in 31 short-track races, can be a bit deceiving. 

Elliott happens to be the only driver to have finished in the top-10 in the last four short-track races in 2020. And that paints a better picture of what he is capable of. Elliott also had an average finish of 4.5 during those four races while he won NASCAR All-Star Race held at Bristol. 

Racing on short tracks might not be the current NASCAR champion's forte, but the 25-year-old would be keen to turn things around from hereon.

Also, Read- 4 titleless drivers who could win in 2021

#3 Kyle Busch

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400

Kyle Busch sits pretty at the top of the table, with a total of 16 wins and 5,510 laps led on short tracks.

While his last win in such a setting may have come in the NASCAR season of 2019, Busch had a decent run in the five races in 2020. He had two top-5s, four top-10s with a total of 268 laps led.

While Kyle Busch's form may be a topic of discussion ahead of the NASCAR 2021 season, his past performances and prowess are something that cannot be discounted.

#4 Kyle Larson

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby

Kyle Larson is an automatic choice on this list. The 'King of Dirt' racing will look to set the momentum by winning the dirt-track race at Bristol on March 28th.

However, it is to be remembered that Larson did not compete in the short-track race in the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series.

His multi-year deal with Hendrick Motorsports along with his consecutive Chili Bowl wins should stand him in good stead to take on the 2021 season.

Talking of racing on dirt, Kyle Larson has won a total of 48 events since last year, driving a variety of cars. He also has a one-off short-track race win in the NASCAR Cup Series at Richmond in 2017.

#5 Martin Truex Jr.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 - Practice

Martin Truex Jr. has four wins with a total of 1,072 laps led from his previous short-track race outings. In doing so, he takes the lead ahead of all the other drivers.

The .526-mile track is one of Truex Jr.'s favorite hunting grounds. In the NASCAR Cup Series 2020, he registered a special win at Martinsville after coming back from a pit road penalty. And then later in the season again, he looked good for yet another win, when he led 129 laps, but lost out due to a loose wheel.

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It will be interesting to see how he fares this time around.

Also Read- NASCAR: Daytona 500 entry list creating excitement for 2021 NASCAR season

Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
Sours: https://www.sportskeeda.com/nascar/nascar-5-drivers-watch-short-track-races-2021

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There is an undisputed king of NASCAR Cup Series short-track racing and his name is Martin Truex Jr. 

It wasn’t long ago the very thought of Truex Jr. being the best short-track driver in NASCAR’s top division was ludicrous and for good reason. At one point in his career, Truex Jr. was winless in 80 starts on tracks less than a mile in length. 

But then something clicked. Suddenly after what most certainly seemed like an eternity to the New Jersey native, Truex Jr. figured out how to win on short tracks and when he did it’s been a stellar streak of performance. He has now won five of the last eleven short-track races with his latest victory coming last week at Martinsville Speedway, a track that had long been a struggle. 

“You know what, it was never clicking,” he explained. “I mean, even at times where we could have decent runs, it was like fifth, sixth, seventh. I felt that was the best I could ever run here up until, like, 2015 or so. For whatever reason, I just could never get the car to do the things I wanted it to do.

“It came a point where people told me, ‘They can’t do those things you want it to do.’ You’re like, okay, maybe it can’t do those things and I just need to figure out how to drive it the way it is. After not having success at a track, it comes to a point where you really don’t know what you need to do, if it’s even possible to do the things that you want to do. It’s a real challenge.” 

RELATED: Truex Jr. nabs Richmond pole | Active drivers to win on short tracks 

However, that challenge is over as Truex Jr. has been victorious in three of the last four races at the .526-mile Virginia short track.

Now he turns his attention to another Virginia track this week in Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway (3 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The Joe Gibbs Racing driver hasn’t been too shabby at the .75-mile speed plant in recent years. 

Truex Jr. has finished in the top-three in the previous four Richmond races a streak that includes a sweep of the pair of 2019 events. 

It all adds up to Truex Jr. having an excellent chance to be the season’s first three-time winner Sunday afternoon and perhaps returning to the dominant form he displayed just a couple of years ago.

“Feeling good about it,” said Truex Jr. “Got a great team. Pit crew really stepped up today. Got a great stop on the last one that got us the lead. We got all the tools necessary. Great sponsors, Bass Pro, Auto-Owners, Reser’s, TRD and Toyota, all they did for us. We have a great opportunity to win a lot of races. Hopefully, we can take advantage of it this year more than we did last year.” 

Sours: https://www.mrn.com/2021/04/16/pistone-truex-jr-short-track-king/


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