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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
While it’s not quite the blazing speed of the Christopher Bell–Cole Custer–Tyler 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.
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
Got my favorite dog on the side of our @nutri_chomps Ford at my favorite track, gonna be a good day! 👍🏼 pic.twitter.com/JnrZPLnSoN
— Chase Briscoe (@ChaseBriscoe_14) June 16, 2019
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.
This guy makes a good point about Ross Chastain‘s non-win in the Truck Series.
Truck: Passes tech
Truck: Passes tech again
Truck: Isn’t touched within 24 hours
Truck: Races 200 laps on a short(er) track with lots of action
Truck: Fails tech
NASCAR: Yeah he definitely cheated
— Ryan Pistana (@ryanpistana) June 16, 2019
Totally unacceptable behavior. Run hard, turn hard, push the limit but find the clear line between right and wrong. It was crossed. Not my call and it’s good that it’s not. #gandertrucks #respect @USATODAY @FOXSports @NASCAR_Trucks @NASCAR @NASCARONFOX https://t.co/H5tQ0rnkL7
— Marcus Lemonis (@marcuslemonis) June 17, 2019
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.
Very impressive in their truck debut was @CSmithDrive, who led 55 laps, the only other driver besides Chastain to lead more than three laps today.
— Dustin Albino (el-bee-no) (@DustinAlbino) June 16, 2019
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.
Everyone, meet Blu & Maizey Kristl! Here’s to hopefully 12+ years of laughter, love, stories, & adventures with our two golden retrievers pic.twitter.com/ovKnxsWTGb
— Mark Kristl (@MarkKristl) June 16, 2019
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.