SPARTA, Ky. — official release — Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America photo — Kentucky Speedway is the last standalone event on the schedule and possibly the perfect stage for the series’ sixth first-time winner to pop up in VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 Victory Lane (Sept 20 at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN).
In a competitive season that has seen 15 different winners in 26 races it should be no surprise that of the 15, five were first time series winners. Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Brendan Gaughan, Ty Dillon and Chris Buescher all have captured the checkered flag this season.
So who’s next?
Six of the top-eight drivers in the series standings have a win this season; the two odd men out are Brian Scott and Trevor Bayne.
Richard Childress Racing’s Brian Scott sits fifth in the driver standings having posted three Coors Light poles, five top fives, 16 top 10s and a career-best average finish of 9.9. Scott is on the cusp of breaking through and getting his first win. His season-to-date Driver Rating is 100.2, also a career-best through 26 races. Scott has made seven starts at Kentucky with a best finish of eighth earlier this season.
Roush Fenway Racing’s Trevor Bayne might be going full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next season but by no means does he want to close this season out winless. Bayne is sixth in the standings after posting one Coors Light pole, five top fives, 17 top 10s and an average finish of 10.7. His season-to-date Driver Rating of 92.1 is the second-best in his career through 26 races. Bayne has made six starts at Kentucky posting a best finish of 11th in 2011.
Of Kentucky Speedway’s 16 previous NASCAR Nationwide Series races, five were won by first-time winners, David Gilliland (2006), Stephen Leicht (2007), Joey Logano (2008), Austin Dillon (2012) and last year’s event winner Ryan Blaney (2013).
Will it be a first-timer or a veteran? We’ll find out Saturday night.