1. Forget Ford vs. Ferrari, more like Chevrolet vs. everyone
So much about NASCAR changes so quickly that it’s difficult sometimes to tell which aspects of the “Good Old Days” are still in effect in 2023. One relevant example: Is manufacturer loyalty still a thing? Because if so, Chevrolet fans have a lot to crow about so far.
One is obvious. There have been four points-paying races so far, and Chevy drivers have won them all. One superspeedway, two intermediates and one whatever Phoenix Raceway is considered. No matter. A bowtie was in victory lane.
The current points leader, Alex Bowman, drives a Chevy. So does the guy who’s led the most laps, Kyle Larson. And the only repeat winner so far this year, William Byron.
“So what?” says you, possibly a Ford or Toyota aficionado. That’s just one really strong team, and possibly one that’s cheating with its louvers. Ah, but Kyle Busch has already won after moving from a stronger-on-paper Toyota organization, so … yeah.
In days gone by, this is about the time when teams from the other manufacturers would start bellyaching to NASCAR about things being unfair, and changes would be made. Whether fans still wear their car company loyalty on their sleeves or not, that part is probably still a thing. And if this keeps up, it’s going to happen soon.
2. Determining Hendrick’s top dog might be more entertaining than finding out who’s NASCAR Cup Series champion
Who do you suppose is walking with the most swagger into Hendrick Motorsports HQ right now?
Byron is the flavor of the month, winner of back-to-back races. Larson is a former Cup Series champion who has been bad fast to start the season, so much so that he seemed extremely ticked off at Phoenix when he finished … fourth.
Maybe Bowman isn’t strutting in, but he’s certainly carrying his head high as the only Cup driver to be a perfect 4-for-4 in top-10 finishes.
Chase Elliott is probably Zooming in for the meetings since he’s recovering from his snowboarding injury. But you know the drill: most popular driver every year, former champ, etc.
This is the kind of lineup one can only dream of when fielding a four-car team. Everyone is either winning, leading tons of laps or at least running up front. All four drivers feel like championship contenders, assuming Elliott gets the waiver everyone expects he will. Even some of the powerhouse Hendrick lineups of years past couldn’t say that.
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