We didn’t know it then, but when Jimmie Johnson won the 2016 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship, it would be Chevrolet’s last. Over the last two years, not only has Chevy not had a title, they have failed to make the Championship 4 even.
Right now, they have two drivers still left fighting for this year’s championship. The problem is, if either are to get to Homestead with a chance at the title, they have to win Sunday’s race at the ISM Raceway in Phoenix.
The good news is, both have a chance to win though.
Kyle Larson was sixth back in the spring race in Phoenix and third in last year’s playoff race too. Also, Larson has four top six finishes in his last six Phoenix starts. The numbers favor an upset win by him since none of the champions under his new playoff format that was adopted in 2014 has made it past the second round the year prior. Also, we’ve had five straight champions, from five different teams. Larson, fits every category.
Also, don’t count out Chase Elliott either. He too is in a must win and we’ve seen what he’s done these playoffs with his back against the wall. He won the ROVAL in the first round and finished second at Kansas in the second round. Plus, Elliott has two top three finishes in his last four Phoenix starts.
Chevrolet is getting tired of not competing for championships anymore. From 2005 through 2016, the bowties captured 10 championships in the 12 year span.
If you go back to 1984 even and end it at 2016, Chevrolet had 23 tiles compared to Ford’s 5, Pontiac’s 3, Toyota’s and Dodge’s 1 a piece. At the time of Jimmie Johnson hoisting his seventh Cup championship trophy in 2016, Dodge and Pontiac were out of NASCAR while Ford hadn’t won a title since 2004.
It was pure domination.
Chevy had won at least 10 races for 16 straight seasons. They had won at least nine races every year from 1993 though 2016 too. In fact, from 2003 through 2016, they won 15 races in a single season in 12 of 14 years.
But, that’s when the bottom started dropping out.
They won just 10 times in 2017, their lowest since having nine victories in 2000. In 2018, they won only four times, their smallest amount since only scoring three wins in 1982. This year, they’ve rebounded to win seven times, but their 11 trips to victory lane the last two years combined is smaller than every single single’s total other than 2017 (10) from 2001 on.