Write your own 2018 season recap, fill-in-the-blank style

Steve Luvender
NASCAR.com

2018: What a year! It feels like just yesterday
Austin Dillon won the Daytona 500 and dabbed on them hatersThe “Big 3” became a thingMartin Truex Jr. was named 2017 championol‘ Richard Petty replaced his driving helmet with a bedazzled cowboy hatRyan Blaney moved to Team PenskeChase Elliott changed his car numberFord was racing the FusionISM Raceway was called Phoenix International Raceway
. This year, we saw the emergence of the Big 3:
Kevin Harvick,Kyle Busch,Martin Truex Jr.,Austin Dillon,
Kevin Harvick,Kyle Busch,Martin Truex Jr.,Dale Earnhardt,
and
Kevin HarvickKyle BuschMartin Truex Jr.some other guy
. This trio won over half the races in 2018.

2018 also brought us new first-time race winners. My favorite was
Erik JonesChase ElliottClint Bowyer, oh waitAric Almirola, oh waitRyan Blaney, oh wait
. The most memorable part of the season was the race at
Daytonathe Charlotte road courseChicagolandthe Martinsville playoff racea NASCAR track
, where
Brad Keselowski forgot to turn and led the entire field into the Turn 1 wallRicky Stenhouse Jr. crashedthe Kyles battled it outthere was a last-lap pass for the winAustin Dillon wonKevin Harvick wonMartin Truex Jr. wonClint Bowyer wonKyle Busch wonJoey Logano wonErik Jones wonChase Elliott wonKurt Busch wonBrad Keselowski wonRyan Blaney wonAric Almirola won
. No one saw that coming!

Can you believe
three different drivers won three consecutive racesJimmie Johnson won zero racesDenny Hamlin won zero racesClint Bowyer returned to Victory Lanemy fantasy team was a total dumpster firemy fantasy team was not a total dumpster firethe speed of the Ford teams
? Maybe next year
FordChevroletToyotamy favorite drivermy least favorite driverAJ AllmendingerAric AlmirolaTrevor BayneRyan BlaneyClint BowyerChris BuescherKurt BuschKyle BuschWilliam ByronLandon CassillDerrike CopeMatt DiBenedettoAustin DillonTy DillonJeffrey EarnhardtChase ElliottJoey GaseBrendan GaughanGray GauldingDenny HamlinKevin HarvickJimmie JohnsonErik JonesKasey KahneMatt KensethBrad KeselowskiCorey LaJoieKyle LarsonJoey LoganoMichael McDowellJamie McMurrayPaul MenardRyan NewmanDavid RaganReed SorensonRicky Stenhouse Jr.Daniel SuarezMartin Truex Jr.Bubba WallaceCole Whitt
, the
greatest and my favoriteworst and my least favorite
, will follow suit.

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The end of the season also meant we bid farewell to
Jimmie Johnson‘s win streakFurniture Row Racingthe driver-adjustable trackbarthe old Sonoma Raceway track layoutDenny Hamlin and Mike WheelerKasey KahneAJ AllmendingerSpencer GallagherRyan Newman‘s time at Richard Childress RacingKurt Busch‘s time at Stewart Haas Racing
, which makes me feel so
sadangryexcitedentitledannoyedconfusedheartbrokenecstaticexcited
. The only thing I may miss even more is
the Ford FusionDenny Hamlin‘s win streakTrevor Baynethe current speedway racing packagethe beautiful marriage of Jimmie Johnson and Chad KnausMatt DiBenedetto at Go Fas RacingCole Whittthe Hollywood HotelMatt Kenseth, for real this timeDaniel Suarez‘s time at Joe Gibbs Racing
, to be honest.

I know William Byron won Rookie of the Year, technically, but I would have given
Bubba WallaceWilliam ByronGray GauldingBill ElliottAnnouncer Dale Jr.Alex Bowman
the award instead. My favorite finish of 2018 was
Austin Dillon smashing Aric Almirola‘s ham in the Daytona 500Erik Jones winning, boys and girlsKyle vs. Kyle at ChicagolandKevin Harvick‘s bump-and-run on Kyle Busch at New HampshireChase Elliott winning at Watkins GlenJimmie Johnson moving Martin Truex Jr. at the Charlotte road course, only for Ryan Blaney to winJoey Logano moving Martin Truex Jr. at MartinsvilleJoey Logano winning at Homestead
. I was
thrilleddispleasedsurprised, to say the least,very happy
with the result.

The Championship 4 came down to the Big 3 and
Joey Loganothe Small 22some other teamGray GauldingThe Driver Who Shall Not be NamedJOLO NUMBER 22 WOOO BABY GO JOEY!
in the end. While I expected
Kyle BuschKevin HarvickMartin Truex Jr.Joey Loganothe parachuter stuck in the Homestead-Miami Speedway catch fence
to win the championship, I‘m totally
OK withnot OK within denial aboutpumped withpsyched aboutsurprised aboutin disbelief over
Joey Logano winning it.

If I had to guess, next year is
Aric AlmirolaRyan BlaneyClint BowyerChris BuescherKurt BuschKyle BuschWilliam ByronLandon CassillDerrike CopeMatt DiBenedettoAustin DillonTy DillonJeffrey EarnhardtChase ElliottJoey GaseGray GauldingDenny HamlinKevin HarvickDaniel HemricJimmie JohnsonErik JonesKasey KahneBrad KeselowskiCorey LaJoieKyle LarsonJoey LoganoMichael McDowellPaul MenardRyan NewmanRyan PreeceDavid RaganReed SorensonRicky Stenhouse Jr.Daniel SuarezMatt TifftMartin Truex Jr.Bubba Wallace
‘s season, mostly because we almost witnessed
a Championship 4 runa playoff bertha race wintotal disappointmenta new higha new low
in 2018. Next year, though, I‘m mostly looking forward to
the new speedway racing packageRookie of the Year contender Ryan PreeceRookie of the Year contender Daniel HemricRookie of the Year contender Matt TifftChad Knaus + William ByronJimmie Johnson driving a purple carKurt Busch‘s new ridefull-course Sonoma Racewaythe Roval, Part IIDale Jr. screaming “SLIDE JOB!” againMartin Truex Jr. driving the No. 19 carengines being fired in Daytona
and most importantly, the revenge of
Martin Truex Jr. toward Jimmie JohnsonMartin Truex Jr. toward Joey LoganoRicky Stenhouse Jr. toward Kyle BuschAric Almirola toward Joey Loganothe parachute guy toward the catch fenceTrevor Bayne toward the his former crew chief who used bad language on the radioTHE TURTLES
. Bring on 2019!

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