FORT WORTH, TX – We’re seven races down in the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. With 19 races remaining in the regular season, here’s who’s hot and who’s not after Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver went 47 races without a victory. With a new crew chief and a reset for 2019, Hamlin now has two wins in the first seven races to the season. Also, he hasn’t finished worse than 11th all year. Hamlin’s last four finishes are fifth, seventh, fifth and first respectively.
No, he didn’t win Sunday’s race and yes it was his worst finish of the season, but Busch still finished in the top 10. Busch, led a race high 66 of 334 laps in the race itself but after getting into the wall while leading on Lap 275, he had to pit for service. He’d fall one lap down to 23rd.
Despite that, Busch still charged up to a 10th place run in his No. 18 Toyota and now has finishes of second, sixth, third, first, first, third and 10th respectively in 2019.
He’s the quietest driver out there. Busch, heads to Bristol with five top 10 finishes over his last six starts on the season. His worst result since Atlanta in February was a 12th place finish at Martinsville.
Busch, may not have scored a top 10 finish at Texas since 2010, but he has five consecutive top 10 finishes now and seven in his last eight there overall.
He was mad leaving Texas as his three race streak of top two finishes on the 1.5-mile track comes to an end. Harvick, does have 10 consecutive top 10 finishes there and six straight top 10 finishes in his No. 4 Ford on the season. He’s still quick.
Almirola is off to the best start of his career. He leaves Texas with his second straight top 10 finish on the track and sixth consecutive top 10 finish on the season. While he only has one top five finish in that time frame, he’s rattling off top 10 after top 10.
The SHR driver is heating up. Suarez, finished 10th in Atlanta in the second race of the season. He was 13th in Fontana. The next week after that he brought his No. 41 Ford home 10th in Martinsville. Then, he led nine laps and scored the second most stage points of the race at Texas en route to a third place run. With four top 13 finishes in his last six starts on the year, Suarez is heating up.
Larson’s Chip Ganassi Racing teammate of Kurt Busch is thriving. Larson, not so much. After crashing out in Sunday’s race at Texas, Larson has five finishes outside of the top 10 in seven tries in 2019. Sunday was his third finish of 36th or worse in his last four Texas starts.
The Team Penske driver is feast or famine in 2019. When he’s on, he’s on. In three races, he finished fourth (Daytona 500), first (Vegas) and second (Fontana). In the other four races, he’s had bad luck.
In Atlanta, he had a loose wheel and finished 23rd. In Phoenix and Martinsville he was a non factor in 10th and 19th place finishes respectively. On Sunday, he had a fast car at Texas but a part broke on his hood and he’d finish 17th as a result.
That’s three finishes of 10th or worse in his last four starts.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver has struggled lately too. Bowman, was fast on Friday only to crash in qualifying later on in the day at Texas. The rest of the weekend, he was chasing his car. He’d finish 18th for his fourth finish of 18th or worse in his last five starts.
Darrell Wallace Jr.
In what looked like a strong start to the weekend, ended like the others have for Wallace. Unfortunately, RPM can’t give him cars to compete still. Wallace, finished 23rd on Sunday for his sixth sub 20th place finish in seven tries this season.
The rookie finished eighth in the season opening Daytona 500. In the next race in Atlanta, he was in the top 10 until making a costly mistake late in the race on pit road. Preece, would finish 35th as a result. It’s been all downhill since.
Preece, brought his No. 47 Chevrolet home 22nd on Sunday for his fifth finish of 22nd or worse in his last six races.