You may think it’s surprising there are just six winners in the first 16 races of 2018. Kevin Harvick certainly doesn’t.
Harvick has won five of the season’s first 16 races and has the most victories of anyone in the Cup Series, though Kyle Busch has four and Martin Truex Jr. has three. Add in Clint Bowyer’s two wins and the four drivers have combined for a whopping 14 of the 16 wins so far.
They’ve also led a bunch of laps. Harvick is already seven laps away from 1,000 laps led this season. Busch has 888 laps led. The Cup Series has completed 4,705 laps in 2018. The script — no, not a real actual script. If there was one, NASCAR would certainly have some variation in it — hasn’t changed much from week to week.
“The previous couple years, I think that should be more of a surprise than the cars and teams you see running well this year,” Harvick said Friday at Chicago. “When you look back at the last couple of years there have been what I would call some surprise winners in unique situations to win superspeedway races or a fuel mileage race or something. A road race. Something along those lines. I think as you look at the way this year has played out, I don’t really feel like it is a whole lot different other than maybe [Jimmie Johnson’s team] is not running as well as they have in the past and they are not in the mix but I think as you look at really the past few years for sure I think it is pretty consistent as to who the good teams and cars have been.”
The only real surprise winner in 2018 has been Austin Dillon, who led the final lap of the Daytona 500 to win the season-opening race. Joey Logano won at Talladega and is third in the points standings while completing all but two laps this season. That’s the most laps completed of any driver.
Harvick referenced Johnson’s team and it’s not just the No. 48 bunch that’s slow(er) this year. The entire Chevrolet camp is. The manufacturer’s only win is courtesy of Dillon. It’s Chevy’s worst streak in modern Cup Series history.
Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott said the team had some upgrades that they wanted to try out this weekend. Elliott ran well a year ago at Chicago but got a points penalty for tape on his car’s spoiler.
“I feel as if we have certainly a good baseline from a general set-up perspective, so I think that is encouraging and we have some upgrades coming for this race this weekend,” Elliott said. “We had a week off from our intermediate program to improve and make our cars better, so hopefully that shows up. If it does, great, and if it doesn’t then we will go back to work.”
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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