The 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series package has been a topic of conversation every single week this season, and now that we are 13 races into the year, it is time to make an assessment on the kind of racing it has produced.
Has it lived up to the expectations that were set at the beginning of the year? Which races have been the best for the package?
Will the racing improve as the series gets further into the summer or will the competition level off as teams adjust to the new rules?
Meanwhile, after his victory on Sunday night in the Coca Cola 600, Martin Truex Jr. now has won three of the last five points races in the Cup Series. There is no doubt that Truex and his team are starting to fit in with the entire Joe Gibbs Racing organization and are beginning to gel the way we all thought they would.
Will this season prove to be as strong as his 2017 championship season… and wind up with the same results?
Q: Can we consider this Cup package a success and improvement for intermediate tracks so far now that we are halfway until the playoffs? Andrew E., Coral Springs, FL
A: I would not go as far as saying it has been a success, but there have certainly been some good takeaways from this package. Ratings seem to be improving and it is putting people in the stands, more than the previous couple of seasons from the looks of it.
As for the racing, it certainly has not been awful. There have been some races where we have seen lackluster racing, but for the most part, I cannot say it has been a complete disaster. Yes, there are those who want the horsepower back and the downforce gone, and that would most likely produce the best result if NASCAR went that direction. However, the sanctioning body seems to be set on the direction this package is going.
Restarts at almost every single track have been incredible, no matter what version of the package is being run. Many will argue that after about 10-15 laps, the racing dies down because of the dreaded aero push coming into play, which seems to be one thing this package still struggles with.
This package is still very much aerodynamically dependent, more than before, and clean air still gives a huge advantage to the leader.
Most recently, though, that does not seem to be the case. The May 11th race at Kansas Speedway was very competitive, as were the races at Charlotte Motor Speedway the last couple of weeks with the All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600.
I would like to see more out of these cars, meaning I hope NASCAR adds horsepower, bringing throttle control back into play. But at the same time, running wide open for several laps has not produced horrible racing at all at these intermediate tracks.
The package has been and continues to be a topic of conversation from week to week. “How was the package this week?” or “Did it produce the kind of racing we wanted?” seem to be the common questions. Hopefully, as time goes on, we will not have to ask this any longer. It is time we just enjoy what we have and stop judging the package. It may not be the same every week, but racing is racing and if it is good, then there is no need to question it.
We all have our opinions on what we want done, but right now, we have what we have and the racing has lived up to expectations.
Q: Do you see Martin Truex Jr. duplicating his 2017 season after the strong run he has been on? Carrie S., Marietta, GA
A: It would be very difficult for Truex to duplicate his 2017 season with as dominant as he was that year, but there is a chance it could be done again. He has now won three out of the last five races and is on one of the hottest streaks of his career.
It only took a couple of months for Truex and Cole Pearn to work their magic in the Joe Gibbs Racing stable. They were off to a very slow start at the beginning of the season, putting up good but not great results, and certainly not living up to the expectations the pairing had set in the past few years at the now-defunct Furniture Row Racing.
After the first win of the season at Richmond, it seems as if they are now unstoppable.
Even after a blown tire on Sunday night at Charlotte, Truex still recovered and had the fastest car, dominating the last portion of the race.
There is just no stopping this team at the moment, as the confidence for Truex and company has to be through the roof. He is (officially this year) with one of the best organizations in the sport with JGR, and is at the peak of his career.
He has arguably been better than Kyle Busch the last month even though Busch has 12 top 10’s in the first 13 races, an otherwise phenomenal statistic.
Truex can definitely keep this up, especially with the series soon going to tracks where he has won at before, like Pocono and Sonoma. It would not surprise me at all to see him win at least three to four more races throughout the summer and be the championship favorite by the time we reach the playoffs in September.