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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Who’s Hot & Who’s Not in NASCAR: Yellow Light

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series was off this past weekend, leaving the Xfinity Series and Gander Outdoors Truck Series to contest an eventful Sunday doubleheader following a rainout on Saturday night at Iowa Speedway.

So we’ll look at how Cup drivers are doing with their new teams for the trends worth tracking this week.

HOT

Taking over the No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro for Chip Ganassi Racing, Kurt Busch has been in the mix up front, posting four top-five finishes and nine top 10s through 15 races, comfortably sitting in the playoffs at eighth spot. Last season in the same car, Jamie McMurray had just three top 10s and was 19th in the standings at this point.

NOT

Busch left the No. 41 Ford Mustang of Stewart-Haas Racing, which was taken over by Daniel Suarez. While posting two top fives and six top 10s through 15 races isn’t bad (in fact, it’s his best Cup start ever), and neither is sitting 13th in the standings, comparing that to Busch’s two poles, three top fives and eight top 10s from last year is not so great.

HOT

Suarez was replaced by Martin Truex Jr. in the No. 19 Toyota Camry at Joe Gibbs Racing, who has racked up three wins, six top fives and nine top 10s to this point, which is much better than Suarez’s one top five and three top 10s at this point of the season.

HOT

Ryan Newman has taken over the No. 6 Mustang for Roush Fenway Racing from Trevor Bayne and Matt Kenseth, a move that’s gone well so far. He has four top 10s, an average finish of 15th and no DNFs. Through 15 races, Bayne and Kenseth had a best finish of 13th and four DNFs last season.

NOT

Rookie Daniel Hemric replaced Newman in the newly renumbered No. 8 Camaro for Richard Childress Racing, and that hasn’t gone so well so far. Hemric has just one top 10 — a fifth at Talladega — and six finishes inside the top 20, with an average finish of 22.1. Newman had three top 10s and six top 20s in the No. 31 at this point, and that’s with three DNFs.

HOT

While it’s not quite the blazing speed of the Christopher BellCole CusterTyler Reddick triumvirate, John Hunter Nemechek, running the No. 23 Camaro in the Xfinity Series for GMS Racing, finished eighth on Sunday, his 10th top 10 of the season through 14 races.

NOT

Fresh off having his rookie Truck Series campaign cut short due to lack of funding, Tyler Ankrum found a ride for Iowa in the No. 87 Silverado for NEMCO Motorsports. But as it’s mostly a start-and-park entry, he finished next to last in 31st after completing just 17 laps.

Paint Scheme of the Week

Chase Briscoe‘s Nutri Chomps No. 98 always has a dog or two riding along on the side of his Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang, which is pretty awesome. He’s a dog person, as he explained to the canine sports, entertainment and lifestyle website Dog O’Day earlier this season. And this weekend the dog of honor was his own Boston Terrier, Ricky (named after Will Ferrell’s Talladega Nights character, of course).

So that wins the spot for Paint Scheme of the Week this time. Besides, the green, white and orange is a design that’s pretty distinctive out on the track.

Socially Speaking

This guy makes a good point about Ross Chastain‘s non-win in the Truck Series.

Gander RV CEO Marcus Lemonis weighed in on the Johnny Sauter vs. Austin Hill battle:

My Fronstretch colleague Dustin Albino was impressed with Chandler Smith’s driving in his NGOTS debut, starting on the pole with a result of eighth in his first race for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

New puppies joined the Fronstretch family of pets this Father’s Day as Mark Kristl welcomed the Golden Retrievers Blu and Maizey to his home.

Predictions

Road course racing takes place this weekend as the Cup Series goes to Sonoma Raceway for the Toyota/Save Mart 350. It will be Darrell Waltrip’s final race as a broadcaster, and Fox’s final weekend of the season before NBC takes over the top two series for the rest of 2019.

Meanwhile, the Gander Outdoors Truck Series will be in St Louis, Missouri for the Gateway 200 presented by CK Power at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway on Saturday, June 22 at 10 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. Look for Ross Chastain to finally get a win that counts this time — third time has to be the charm, right?

In Cup, I think a Stewart-Haas veteran finally gets into the win column for the year.

The Toyota/Save Mart 350 will be on Sunday, June 23, at 3 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

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