Tuesday, February 27, 2018

NASCAR's Trials and Tribulations 2018

It's the current veterans that keep people watching NASCAR. It's the new generation of drivers that will keep interest in it. If these first two weeks meant anything, it showed that these guys will do anything necessary to get themselves wins and championships. Daytona and Atlanta both saw emotional wins coming from different sides of the Spectrum.

Last week's Daytona 500 seemed like it belong to Aric Almirola. However, he was touched by Austin Dillon and crashed into the wall. Dillon would take the lead on that last lap and won in the 3 car. Last year, he took Richard Childress Racing to victory lane in that number for the first time since 2000. On the day in 2001 when Dale Earnhardt was killed on this track and 20 years after that driver's only win there, Dillon won Daytona. It's huge for the team. Also huge was Darrell Wallace Jr. finishing second, going side by side with Denny Hamlin at the finish line in the 43 car. That was more along the line of the new generation drivers becoming the new faces of NASCAR.

Sunday's Atlanta race was marred by rain, but they got the race in. Ultimately, it became Kevin Harvick's as he was dominant. He's had a number of chances over the years, but he got his due once again. With this one, it was his second win in the Cup series. His first however was his first win ever back when it was the Winston Cup. The immediate backup to Earnhardt after he was killed, Harvick took over and won Atlanta in only his third start. At that time, he put out three fingers in honor of the late driver. He would repeat it again yesterday. This was more of a veterans kind of race as the top five were longtime guys, the top three being Ford's Brad Keselowski, and Clint Bowyer. Rounding out was Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr..

As the younger drivers keep fitting in, a handful of them seemed destined to get the huge wins. Last year, Kyle Larson pulled in four. Dillon and Ryan Blaney had one, the latter winning for the Wood Brothers. Chase Elliott is still looking for his first. Meanwhile, the veterans still have that kind of leadership to lead their teams and teammates to the Cup. It's very early in the year. We'll see if some of them are pretenders or continue strong to become contenders when those important races in the fall matters.

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