NASCAR season full of unpredictable winners and fun storylines

We’ve reached the 1 and only break in the NASCAR Cup Series season. 37 scheduled weekends if you include the All-Star race in May and all will take place in a 38 week span between February and early November. The 1 off week?

Now.

But, when NASCAR returns next weekend in Nashville, they’d have done so with the NBC Sports portion of the schedule. Fox’s 16 points paying races are over. NBC and USA will handle the remaining 20.

However, the 16 races that FOX or FS1 aired were drama filled with unpredictability. This new car has changed everything and opened up more parity than we’ve been accustomed to seeing.

Through 16 races, we’ve already seen 12 different winners. Between two teams in their sophomore seasons in the sport, they’ve won 25% of the events thus far with Kurt Busch’s triumph for 23XI Racing in Kansas and Ross Chastain (COTA, Talladega) and Daniel Suarez (Sonoma) for Trackhouse Racing.

Hendrick Motorsports though has won 5 times but that number was at 7 leaving Sonoma in 2021. They don’t look as dominant now as they did then.

Joe Gibbs Racing has seen Denny Hamlin win twice but also finish outside the top 20 9 times too. Kyle Busch has their other win (Bristol Dirt). What’s wild is, Hamlin only led the final 5 laps in his Richmond win and Busch led just the final few feet for his only lap led in Bristol.

That’s this season though.

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 20: Austin Cindric, driver of the #2 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Cup Series 64th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 20, 2022 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

You have a rookie in Austin Cindric winning the Daytona 500. 3 races later you have his buddy Chase Briscoe scoring his 1st Cup win at Phoenix. Briscoe went from sleeping on couches to victory lane in Cup driving for his childhood racing hero. Cindric was a 28-1 Daytona 500 winner with Briscoe 50-1 at Phoenix.

In COTA you got Ross Chastain bumping AJ Allmendinger out of the way for his 1st career win at 25-1. A few races later you got Briscoe and Tyler Reddick making contact in Turn 3 of the last lap on dirt at Bristol which allowed Busch to skate by.

Talladega saw Chastian lead only the final lap too.

You get a mega crowd for the inaugural race at World Wide Technology Raceway only to see Daniel Suarez win a week later in Sonoma.

From a guy sleeping on a couch to a guy that learned English by watching cartoons, this season has been full of fun storylines.

You have drama (Denny Hamlin vs. Ross Chastain or Chase Elliott vs. Chastain or Elliott vs. Kyle Larson, Logano vs Byron) you have 4 1st time winners, you have 14 of the 16 races won by drivers who were 12-1 or lower odds. You have new teams winning, new careers being revitalized and ones being validated, this season has been full of joy and making me think Fox dubbing the 2021 season as “the best one ever” may have been premature. This one has been so far and one that I don’t see anything changing between now and Phoenix.

Elliott is your points leader but he’s had 3 top 5’s all season. Ryan Blaney is 4th and winless. Martin Truex Jr. is 6th and too is winless with just 2 top 5’s all year. Larson went from double digit wins in 2021 to 1 in 16 races in 2022.

Kevin Harvick is 12th in points has 5 top 10’s in his last 7 starts, 3 top 4’s in the last 5 and has never missed out on the playoffs but is on the outside looking in for the postseason standings if it started today.

You get a big win from the Clash at the LA Coliseum, a big rating in front of a sold out crowd in Daytona, a huge unveiling for the new Atlanta, a home run in St. Louis and a future as bright as ever.

Enjoy the rest because the final 20 week marathon to the finish will be like a sprint.

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