There will likely be no Easter egg roll on asphalt on grime for NASCAR’s nationwide sequence, because the Cup, Xfinity, and Truck models have gone a short hiatus. The premier Cup Collection will return to motion subsequent Saturday night time at Martinsville Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET, FS1).
With seven of 36 occasions down on the Cup stage, parity has been the secret. We’ve seen seven totally different drivers win the primary seven races. Whereas among the trophy-hoisters have been anticipated (Martin Truex Jr./Joey Logano), we’ve seen first-time winners (Michael McDowell/Christopher Bell), lengthy droughts finish (Kyle Larson/Ryan Blaney), and a younger veteran begin to construct his tally up (William Byron).
This trio of groups has been significantly stunning, as we give them their due on a quiet weekend on the monitor…
Many eyes have turned to the NASCAR endeavors of a sure College of North Carolina alum turned NBA All-Star. The topic, in fact, is Brad Daugherty and his shared crew with Jodi and Tad Geschickter. There’s clearly loads of time for Michael Jordan’s squad, 23XI Racing, to seek out their groove. Within the meantime, it’s arduous to not admire what Daugherty’s crew has finished on this younger season.
One of many extra fascinating tales of the 2021 season is maybe that of Ryan Preece. His No. 37 Chevrolet doesn’t have a constitution, however he has managed to maintain it aggressive within the early going. Preece was one in every of 4 drivers (Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Michael McDowell the others) to complete within the prime ten in every of the primary two races. He’s additionally one in every of 11 drivers who’ve run on the end of every of the seven occasions run up to now.
In the meantime, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. got here to the crew’s No. 47 after a disappointing tenure at Roush Fenway Racing. He has earned prime 20 finishes in all seven races so far, capping it off with a runner-up posting at Bristol. The crew at present holds one of many 16 playoff spots, a fantasyland that JTG Daugherty has not seen since its lone look in 2014 (A.J. Allmendinger). Stenhouse will undoubtedly be able to successful at Talladega later this month. He gained the 2017 spring occasion and drove the No. 47 to a slender runner-up end there final season.
Including to their consistency, each Preece and Stenhouse have finished an important job conserving their automobiles clear this season. The 2 have failed to finish solely a mixed six of a doable 3,388 laps.
Anybody who has stored a watch on the NASCAR Xfinity Collection would know that Kaulig Racing was on the rise by its victorious triumvirate. Such consistency has continued on the developmental stage (Allmendinger gained the Las Vegas race whereas he, Justin Haley, and Jeb Burton have united for 13 prime tens). However their Cup program took some steps ahead within the early showings as they inch nearer to full-time standing. Issues received began when Kaz Grala raced his method into the Daytona 500’s important occasion (even main 10 laps) earlier than Allmendinger earned a prime ten run on the ensuing street course occasion.
“I believe it’s been the worst-kept secret that they’ve aspirations to get to the Cup Collection, racing it full-time down the street, attempt to be a multi-car crew down the street,” Grala stated following his success on the Bluegreen Trip Duels. “That is the primary small step in direction of a giant image. I do know (racing at Daytona) a victory for everyone on the crew.”
It was honest to maintain expectations low for Trackhouse Racing. Even with sturdy backing from recording artist and philanthropist Pitbull, new groups have typically struggled to realize their footing in trendy NASCAR. Behind the wheel was Daniel Suarez, who struggled mightily, even by low-budget requirements, in Gaunt Brothers Racing’s No. 96 final season.
However Suarez has loved a slight resurgence within the seat of the crew’s No. 99 Chevrolet. Indicators of progress have been obvious even earlier than his prime 5 run on the Bristol grime occasion. The crew in all probability would’ve earned a prime ten end at Atlanta if not for Suarez’s rushing penalty on pit street. He earned prime 20 runs within the subsequent two races after getting caught up within the early “Massive One” in Trackhouse’s Daytona debut. The No. 99 at present sits in twentieth within the standings, finest amongst new groups and 28 factors out of a playoff spot.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags