Bump & Run: Superlatives, surprises, bold prediction

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What is a performance that has stood out to you so far this season?

Nate Ryan: Joey Logano. He quietly is tied for the series lead in top 10s (12) with Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch but ranks only 10th in laps led, which indicates he is maximizing his finishes.

Dustin Long: Kevin Harivck’s dominance. This reminds me of how strong Harvick was in 2014. The only difference is that in 2014 he lost the chance at a number of wins because of various issues from mechanical to pit road and such. Harvick and his team aren’t having those issues this season. Their ability to run mistake-free races week after week has been as impressive as the speed the No. 4 car has.

Daniel McFadin: Joey Logano. He’s third in points coming off his horrid season in 2017. He’s tied with Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch with 12 top 10s and he has a better average finish (8.1) than Harvick (9.3). He only has one win, but he should be in the conversation for being part of the “Big 4” this season.

Dan Beaver: Clint Bowyer’s performance at Martinsville – especially as it came on the heels of Martin Truex Jr.’s win at Auto Club. For a moment, it appeared the competitive landscape was going to open up.

What is something that has surprised you about this season?

Nate Ryan: The number of winners. It seems improbable that with 11 races to go, there are still 10 provisional playoff spots based on points. Based on how Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. have run this season, and their performances at the upcoming tracks, there is a real possibility that half the playoff field will be determined by points – which could make for some nail-biting storylines down the stretch and at the Brickyard.

Dustin Long: The dominance of the veteran drivers this season.

Daniel McFadin: Kyle Larson‘s inability to have consecutive clean races. His spin at Michigan came after similar spins at Phoenix and Charlotte, wrecks at Texas, Talladega, Daytona and Kansas and his spin from contact with Ryan Newman at Bristol. He bounced back to nearly win at Bristol, a seventh-place finish at Charlotte and a fourth at Kansas. Imagine the season Larson could be boasting if some of these incidents hadn’t occurred. He’s been the strongest Chevy driver all year, but he’s also been arguably the sloppiest.

Dan Beaver: The sheer domination of Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch. It is not only that they are winning so many races, but that no one else has been in the same league as them through 15 races.

Eleven more races remain until the playoffs begin. Give me one bold prediction about what might take place before then.

Nate Ryan: Despite going winless in the regular season, Hendrick Motorsports still qualifies three for the playoffs as Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman each earn berths via points.

Dustin Long: Two drivers currently outside the top 20 in points each win a race and make the playoffs.

Daniel McFadin: Alex Bowman and William Byron will win as Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott founder.

Dan Beaver: The inevitable leveling of the playing field. Chevrolet will catch up before the playoffs, but they are not going to have a dominant performer like Ford’s Harvick or Toyota’s Busch and that is going to spread the wealth around.

NASCAR drivers play in the snow

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Charlotte, N.C. gets an average of slightly more than four inches of snowfall per year, so when a rare winter storm rolls in and dumps 10 or more inches in spots, NASCAR drivers and their families take advantage of the event.

 

Xfinity, Truck series banquet highlights

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On Saturday night, The Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series gathered for their awards banquet at the Charlotte Convention Center.

Here are some highlights from the banquet:

Xfinity Series

Tyler Reddick was crowned the Xfinity driver champion with Stewart-Haas Racing taking the owners championship.

Cole Custer finished second, Daniel Hemric was third and Christopher Bell finished fourth.

Camping World Truck Series

Brett Moffitt and owner Hattori Racing Enterprises grabbed the top spot in the Truck series.

Noah Gragson finished second with Justin Haley third and Johnny Sauter fourth.

 

Joey Gase weds Caitlin Himmelsbach

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Joey Gase announced his wedding with Caitlin Himmelsbach Sunday morning, saying: “It’s now official! Looking forward to spending the rest of my life with Caitlin Gase.”

Their engagement was announced in February 2017.

In 2018, Gase ran full-time in the Xfinity series with three 15th-place finishes in the fall (Indianapolis, Las Vegas and Kansas) as his best results. He competed in eight Cup races – mostly with StarCom Racing – and scored a best of 18th at Talladega in October.

Full-time Cup drivers with longest winless streaks ahead of 2019

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The 2018 Cup season was partially defined by streak busters.

Six drivers ended winless streaks of 50 or more races, including Clint Bowyer snapping a 190-race winless streak in March at Martinsville.

Aric Almirola also ended a multi-season winless streak when he won at Talladega, earning his first win since 2014.

The 2018 season was also defined by surprising drivers going winless, including seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson.

Who has the longest winless streaks ahead of the 2019 season?

The following list is made up of drivers who are confirmed to compete full-time in 2019 and who did not win in 2018 but have won previously.

Should Jamie McMurray accept an offer from Chip Ganassi Racing to race in the Daytona 500, it’ll be his 185th start since his last points win (Oct. 20, 2013 at Talladega).

Paul Menard – 268 starts (July 31, 2011 at Indianapolis; Only Cup win)

David Ragan – 206 starts (May 5, 2013 at Talladega; Second Cup win)

Chris Buescher – 87 starts (Aug. 1, 2016 at Pocono; Only Cup win)

Ryan Newman – 68 starts (March 13, 2017 at ISM Raceway)

Jimmie Johnson – 59 starts (June 4, 2017 at Dover; went winless for first time in Cup career in 2017)

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – 55 starts (July 1, 2017 at Daytona; Second Cup win)

Denny Hamlin – 47 starts (Sept. 3, 2017 at Darlington; went winless for first time in career in 2017)

Kyle Larson – 46 starts (Sept. 9, 2017 at Richmond)