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Happy new year & welcome one & all to the 2018 NASCAR season thread!

 

 

Well its that time once again folks, counting the days down to the clash & then the Great American race. 2017 had been a very interesting season, with the dominance of Martin Truex Jr. the points system that was put into place, Monster Energy becoming the sponsor & last but not least, saying goodbye to Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth (who knows how long) & Danica Patrick as well as the Chevrolet SS.

 

With 2018, we see some changes happening, along with almost a changing of the guard. Chevrolet brought in the Camaro ZL1 unexpectedly (& happily surprised) but also we see William Byron jump up to Monster & Alex Bowman taking over the 88 but we also see Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr. join Richard Petty Motorsports & RPM form an alliance with Richard Childress Racing & switching to Chevrolet.  I think Byron vs. Wallace will make for a really good battle for ROTY

Now let's get down to nitty gritty. 2018 we restart at Daytona & a new schedule for the playoffs including Las Vegas, Richmond & the Roval in Charlotte, will we see the same dominance from Truex & or Toyota, or will Chevy say enough is enough? Will Chase Elliott finally get that first win that he has before hand only to slip away before. Will Jimmie break the barrier & get his 8th championship? Will Kyle Busch shurg off his 2nd place finish to get his 2nd championship?

So many questions, so little time...

 

So a run down that has happened (thanks again to @DNAsports & many others)


Monster Energy:
-Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr. join Richard Petty Motorsports as RPM forms an alliance with Richard Childress Racing & Chevrolet

- William Byron will drive the 24, while Chase Elliott will drive the 9

- Aric Almiorla joins Stewart Haas Racing & Kurt Busch resigned with SHR

- Ryan Blaney joins Team Penske in a 3rd car

- Paul Menard joins Wood Brothers Racing

- Erik Jones joins Joe Gibbs Racing

- Kasey Khane goes to Leavine Family Racing

 

Predicitions

ROTY: William Byron

Regular season champion: Martin Truex Jr.

Playoff champion: Jimmie Johnson

Will Ford switch cars in 2019? Yes, I see the Mustang coming in, especially if the reports of Ford discontinuing the Fusion are true.

Any new manufacture plans? I think we may see Dodge announce something if the muscle cars have anything to say.

 

Welcome to 2018, let the fun begin!

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You forgot Michael McDowell going from Leavine to Front Row, leaving Landon Cassill as a free agent.

 

Also, Circle Sport and The Motorsports Group split, leaving Jeffrey Earnhardt out of a ride.

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http://nascar.nbcsports.com/2018/01/09/nascar-president-discusses-status-of-monster-energy-new-manufacturers/

 

Asked about Monster Energy’s status, Dewar told the MRN radio show:

“They signed late in the season (Dec. 2016). I worked with them very closely in bringing them to the sport. They were just looking to have a full season. They had to Dec. 31 (to determine if to agree to the renewal). We’ve given them an extension to go through the evaluation.

 

Dewar was asked by host Mike Bagley about the interest of other manufacturers and when any might come to NASCAR:

“Nothing to announce right now on the manufacturer front,’’ Dewar said. “We have a cadence to come in. The earliest one would be able to join would be 2020. We have entry ramps that come in. We have been in conversations with a number of manufacturers. … The platform is strong and it shows a strong (return of investment) potential for manufacturers to bring their products and come race with us.’’

Asked if NASCAR had a magic number of how many manufacturers it would like in Cup, Dewar said:

“I think optimally four or five is the right number for what we’re looking at. We’ve got a great series in sports car that focuses primary on the luxury brands. That is the IMSA Series. The NASCAR series is the mass brands, the Toyotas the Chevrolets,  and the Fords and their competitors. We think there are a couple of more brands in America that would be perfectly suited to come join us and race against their competitors. We work very hard at keeping the sport in front of them. We had a number of them at the track last year, joining us, seeing the events and the direction where we’re taking the sport. It’s a work in progress and it’s one of the ones that I personally lead.’’

 

Dewar on any tweaks to stage racing in 2018:

“We’re really happy with stage racing. I think it was a good example of the collaboration where the industry came together with the idea of stage racing, so we’re very happy with that.’’

 

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Bumping for a bit of a shocker in the camping world truck series....

 

https://www.nascar.com/news-media/2018/01/16/thorsport-racing-toyota-agree-to-part-ways/

 

After a successful six-year relationship with Toyota, ThorSport Racing announces today that the two partners have agreed to part ways ahead of the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season.

 

Hoping they get some equipment from Ford. They're hurting for a team since Brad shut his team down & Kyle Busch Motorsports has kind of become the defacto Toyota team.

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Looks like we have the final design for the Roval in Charlotte

 

DULATfuWAAEynui.jpg

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Good, because I've tried the course on iRacing, and the 7-8-9 section is off camber and you can't see where you are going. 

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On 1/16/2018 at 10:59 PM, rvrdgsfn said:

Bumping for a bit of a shocker in the camping world truck series....

 

https://www.nascar.com/news-media/2018/01/16/thorsport-racing-toyota-agree-to-part-ways/

 

After a successful six-year relationship with Toyota, ThorSport Racing announces today that the two partners have agreed to part ways ahead of the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season.

 

Hoping they get some equipment from Ford. They're hurting for a team since Brad shut his team down & Kyle Busch Motorsports has kind of become the defacto Toyota team.

They are now a Ford team.

 

Also, Jeffrey Earnhardt will drive the 00 for StarCom Racing (a venture with Derrike Cope as team manager) with sponsorship from VRX Simulators. This means that for the 40th consecutive year, that last name will be in the field at the Daytona 500.

https://www.yahoo.com/sports/jeffrey-earnhardt-drive-starcom-racing-164119767.html

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Alex Bowman & Denny Hamlin are your starting row for Daytona

 

Keselowski predicted that he would win the clash starting last ....

He was right as he won the clash.

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Well, that race sucked.  A little disappointing having so much anticipation for a stinker.  Not sure why the cars in the back (Dillon, Elliott) waited so late to make a move to the front.

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The Saturday ARCA race was the race which sucked.

 

ARCA rules must have a clean white flag/checker, so the final lap took over an hour with two red flags. The final two laps took as much time as the first 78.

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34 minutes ago, dfwabel said:

The Saturday ARCA race was the race which sucked.

 

ARCA rules must have a clean white flag/checker, so the final lap took over an hour with two red flags. The final two laps took as much time as the first 78.

 

 

Yeah, that was a bit too much, every final restart was just IMO overkill, hopefully they'll change the rules to that next year.

The Captain spoke, a new body is coming to Ford for next season...

http://www.racer.com/nascar/item/147359-ford-not-at-disadvantage-new-body-in-2019-penske

 

"We'll have a new body next year. I think one thing that's going to be different is that this LIS system is going to be sure that all the cars are on the same platform, and I think that's going to bring us closer together.

"I think that Ford understands that, but we are absolutely all over this from the standpoint of our aero program, our engine, and certainly from a handling [standpoint]. But just think about that one piece, it starts to bring everybody together, and I think that'll certainly help us if we have any disadvantage. But I'm not going in crying the blues for sure."

Asked if that meant the Penske team would have a development lead, Keselowski would only say: Trust my boss.

"Well, they don't tell me those kind of things because they know I've got a little bit of a big mouth, and they don't trust me, which is probably smart," he said. "So if he says it, I would say, go with him.  He's always pretty trustworthy."

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49 minutes ago, rvrdgsfn said:

 

 

Yeah, that was a bit too much, every final restart was just IMO overkill, hopefully they'll change the rules to that next year.

The Captain spoke, a new body is coming to Ford for next season...

http://www.racer.com/nascar/item/147359-ford-not-at-disadvantage-new-body-in-2019-penske

 

 

Ford CEO Jim Hackett canceled the  2020 Fusion redesign last October, so this isn't real news. 

 

The Fusion is a fleet vehicle by sales (government and rental), but sales have still dropped by 20% since 2014.

 

The Mustang has to be what's next for the Cup Series.

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Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott won their respective Duel races last night.

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The end of the Xfinity race was super entertaining, although it felt like it took forever for it to come to an end. 5 overtimes and a photo finish victory for Tyler Reddick. 

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Daytona did it again with the final five laps taking an hour.

 

The dessert was great, but nearly everything leading up to the dessert and service really was unacceptable.

 

Sunday, I'll just tune in two hours after the green as they'll delay themselves in the last 30 laps.

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