LAS VEGAS, NV – It’s way too early to overexaggerate how the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season will go. We’ve had three different races with three different aero packages. But, as we know in the NASCAR world, you can’t afford too many bad finishes.
For the drivers on this list, they’ve not started off 2019 on the best footing. We’ve seen the final bubble spots to make the playoffs come down to just a few points. If these drivers won’t win in the 2019 regular season, then they need to get going on better finishes.
Here are the drivers who need to show more in the coming weeks.
We had high hopes for Richard Childress Racing this weekend. In both practice sessions, they were 1-2 in each. They qualified 4-5 as well. Unfortunately, Daniel Hemric slid down the order pretty quickly and finished a disappointing 23rd. He was 34th in the season opening Daytona 500 and due to a bout with some bad luck in Atlanta, he finished 20th after being in the top five inside of 20 to go.
Yes, he had speed in Atlanta and was a pleasant surprise. But, this is a result driven business and the harsh reality is that the rookie has three finishes of 20th or worse in as many tries. For someone with playoff aspirations, that’s not good.
Dillon started off strong but was caught with a pit road penalty after a questionable penalty. But, Dillon went from the top 10 to 24th, one lap down after. He’d struggle to make up for that as well and would bring his No. 3 Chevrolet home 20th on Sunday.
Dillon’s finishes in 2019 are 16th, 21st and 20th respectively.
That’s not going to cut it either.
He led 21 laps but that was a gamble in the second stage to stretch his fuel. It nearly worked but he finished one spot out of points (11th) in that stage. He faded to a 16th place finish, his best of the year for him too. He was 27th in Daytona and 17th in Atlanta.
The No. 24 Chevrolet isn’t used to running like this.
He’s showing us that it doesn’t matter what package we race in, he’s just struggling. He finished 24th, two laps down last weekend in Atlanta and 19th, one lap down on Sunday in Vegas. He never truly was a contender either. Its been 26 races since his last top five finish.
Last weekend, Blaney had a car to win. Unfortunately, a costly final pit stop and having to pit again in the closing laps for a tire going down relegated him to a 22nd place finish. On Sunday in Vegas, Blaney had to pit on Lap 51 for a left rear tire that went down. It cost him two laps. He’d never make up for it and finish 22nd again.
Counting being caught up in the “Big One” at Daytona, Blaney’s finishes in 2019 are 31st, 22nd and 22nd respectively.
His teammates meanwhile have each won a race already.
Darrell Wallace Jr.
His sophomore campaign isn’t going to plan. Wallace, finished 38th in Daytona, 27th in Atlanta and now 26th in Vegas. That’s not a good start.