We are at the first race to see how much the new aero dynamic rule changes have affected the racing. See, the teams all said that they couldn’t make drastic changes from their notebooks from the west coast swing due to all three of their cars already being setup and loaded onto the trucks.
But, now that we’re back east, they’ve had time to adjust.
So, who’s hot and who’s not heading into this weekend’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 (3 p.m. ET/FOX/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at the Texas Motor Speedway.
He’s the quietest hot driver out there. Keselowski, led 446 of 500 laps last Sunday in Martinsville en route to his second win of the 2019 season. The Team Penske driver now has four top three finishes in his last five starts in his No. 2 Ford.
He’s right there with Keselowski. Combined, they’ve won the last three weeks as Busch won in Phoenix and Fontana. He also has finished in the top six in all six races this season including five top three efforts in his No. 18 Toyota.
After the bad luck has diminished, Blaney is proving to us that he’s a legitimate championship contender. The Penske driver has three straight top five finishes on the year in his No. 12 Ford. It’s not like the speed wasn’t there in the three races prior either. He was caught up in the “Big One” in the Daytona 500 which presided two straight races with tire problems. He had a top five car in both before those instances. Now, it appears that they’ve righted the ship.
Martin Truex Jr.
The newest member of Joe Gibbs Racing has been close. He’s either finished second or eighth in each of the last five races in his No. 19 Toyota.
He’s been really good this season too. Hamlin, won the season opening Daytona 500 and has since scored three consecutive top seven finishes. His worst result all year is 11th.
Martinsville was supposed to be the place to where Johnson shined. Instead, his teammate Chase Elliott finished runner-up while Johnson, a nine time Martinsville winner, came home two laps down in 24th. The Hendrick Motorsports driver has finished 17th or worse in four of his last five starts.
The start of the year looked promising, but Byron isn’t faring much better than last season. The HMS driver has just one top 15 finish and that was 15th place run at that. He’s finished 21st, 17th, 16th, 24th, 15th and 22nd respectively in 2019.
After a hot start to the year, he’s since cooled off. Jones’ last three finishes are 29th, 19th and 30th respectively. His first three finishes were third, seventh and 13th respectively. Combine that with how well his teammates are running, and you have a job status in jeopardy.
He’s had fast race cars, but not the finishes. The rookie driver has a best finish of 18th in 2019 with his other five finishes being 34th, 20th, 23rd, 33rd and 27th respectively.
He’s not had the greatest start either. Larson, finished seventh in Daytona and sixth in Phoenix, but he was 12th in Atlanta, Vegas and Fontana and 18th last weekend in Martinsville. That’s four finishes of 12th or worse in six tries.