|Kyle Busch won at Kentucky in 2011|
If Busch’s Bluegrass state credentials don’t solidify his status as the favorite this week, his crew chief can help sway the reasoning. Dave Rogers won Nationwide races in 2008 and 2009 as crew chief for the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota, driven by Joey Logano.
The one negative with Busch this week, and why Johnson is listed at the same price, is the horsepower status of Toyota. Toyota Racing Development reduced horsepower prior to the Pocono race on June 9 as they searched for solutions to put less stress on the engines. Between Pocono and Michigan the following week, none of their engines expired, but they were no longer the favorites to win on tracks that required lots of power.
All indications this week are that the Toyota power is still set at a reduced rate from what we saw earlier in the season when the Gibbs cars were winning all those races. But they should still be faster than they were at Michigan and Pocono. At Michigan, Kyle Busch finished fourth, Matt Kenseth was sixth, and Clint Bowyer in seventh. Very respectable, but it’s still nothing like their performance at Las Vegas, Texas, Kansas and Fontana.
Johnson has yet to win on any of the 1.5-mile or 2-mile tracks this season. In fact, he’s finished in the top five on those tracks only once (Kansas). But there’s no real explanation for him being mediocre on these tracks this season, and with his spot in the Chase secure, he can go all out for wins and rack up bonus points for those victories.
Meanwhile, in two career starts at Kentucky, Johnson has finished third, and sixth, respectively.
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