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Which Drivers Can Turn Their Seasons Around at Phoenix?

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Phoenix Raceway this weekend to start a stretch of 4 short-track style races in 5 weeks. A few short track aces have gotten off to slow starts this season, but, a slew of smaller race tracks could be just what the doctor ordered. Which drivers are the most primed to turn their seasons around?

  • For this list, we will focus on short-track masters who have struggled this season. Drivers who have gotten off to good starts are not eligible for this list.
  • A “short track” will be considered as an oval race track that is either less than 1.0 miles in length OR uses the short track rules package. This means that statistics at either the 1.0-mile track in Dover will not be considered.
  • Fans are starting to form narratives surrounding the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season. Drivers who are performing well and performing poorly are being highlighted heavily by fans.

Josh Berry

Josh Berry’s bread and butter is short-track racing. This is where he cut his teeth in late models for many years before getting his big break. This has translated to the Cup Series.

In 2023, he recorded 3 top-10s, and two of those came on short tracks. His only other top-10 came at Dover, which happens to be 1.0 miles in length, but, is technically an intermediate. Not to mention he won the All-Star Open at North Wilkesboro, so, Berry can compete for wins in the Cup Series on short tracks.

Christopher Bell

Christopher Bell has been plagued by incidents early in the season, but, his general speed and short-track prowess means he can easily turn the corner. On short tracks, Bell is as solid as they come.

Three of his five wins in the Next-Gen era have come with the short track/road course package. COTA just so happens to be the only track in these next few races that is not a road course. The upcoming tracks suit Bell’s Next-Gen history very well.

Chris Buescher

Chris Buescher’s season began to turn around in 2023 thanks to a short track win at Richmond. While short tracks are far from his only forte, his success there makes these next few races big for him.

He also won in 2022 at Bristol, which was RFK Racing’s first win in 5 years. Even while RFK was struggling, Buescher was performing on short tracks. This seems like the perfect opportunity to turn things around.

Ryan Preece

Like Berry, Preece cut his teeth on short tracks. This showcases itself in the few bright spots that Preece had in spite of a difficult 2023 season.

He won a pole and could have won at Martinsville before a speeding penalty. He also nabbed a surprise top-5 at Richmond in the summer. Not to mention that SHR as a team led multiple laps at both Martinsville races in 2023.

Joey Logano

Joey Logano sits 24th in points after 3 races due to incidents at the superspeedways. He does have two poles, so, his car has speed even if it is lacking on race pace. Logano is good at multiple track types, but, short tracks suit him well.

He has 10 career wins on short tracks in his career, including 2 wins at Phoenix in the past four seasons. Phoenix just so happens to be where the Cup Series is heading this weekend. Logano will turn it around, and this is the perfect time to do so.

Which other drivers will turn it around during this stretch? Will any of these drivers fail to do so?

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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