Another step for NASCAR youth movement

It’s worth mentioning:

That the two most recent winners in NASCAR’s Monster Energy Cup Series are under the age of 25. Chase Elliott, 22, won Sunday at Dover while Ryan Blaney, a winner at Charlotte two weeks ago, is 24. Both “kids” now have two career wins in the series.

That it’s not unheard of for more than one driver under 25 to win in the series during the same season, even though I thought it was and that’s what sent me to the record book. In ’16, Chris Buescher and Kyle Larson won for the first time and both were under 25. When Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Austin Dillon won last year, they weren’t exactly over the hill – Stenhouse was about to turn 30 while Dillon is 28.

That Jimmie Johnson’s hopes at ending a career-long winless streak aren’t over just because he failed to snap the skid at Dover, where he has 11 victories. It would be wise to remember the seven-time champion has an equally impressive record at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Nine of his 83 career wins have come at the .526-mile track.

That the last time Chevrolet failed to put up double-digit wins in Cup during a season was 2000 when teams won nine times. Elliott’s win on Sunday was just the third for the automaker this year. In the meantime, Ford teams have 15 wins, Toyota 12.

That Sunday’s Dover race marked the seventh time Kevin Harvick has led the most laps in a race this season. It was only the third time he didn’t come away with the win. Martin Truex has been the lap leader on six occasions, Kyle Busch on four this year. Brad Keselowski, on the other hand, hasn’t led the most laps in a race all year, but has three wins.

That the last six winners at Talladega, site of Sunday’s 500, have come out of the Ford camp. And six of the last eight have been a Team Penske driver, either Keselowski (3) or Joey Logano (3).

That beginning in 2019, drivers will no longer be able to make track bar adjustments from inside the car. Such changes will once again be handled by crewmen during pit stops. According to Scott Miller, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition, drivers ask for the rule change.

That Leavine Family Racing has scheduled a press conference for Wednesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The organization is expected to address its 2019 driver situation and manufacturer status. Kasey Kahne drove the No. 95 Chevrolet until recently, when he stepped aside to deal with a medical issue. Regan Smith has been the team’s interim driver for the past five races. Kahne has said he will not compete full-time in the series after ’18.

That while this weekend isn’t a cutoff race for the Cup series, it is for the Camping World Truck folks. Justin Haley and Grant Enfinger are guaranteed to advance to the round of six (Martinsville, Texas, Phoenix) thanks to wins in the opening round. On the outside as the series heads to Talladega are Ben Rhodes (-7) and Stewart Friesen (-10). Two-time series champ Matt Crafton, sixth in points, holds the final transfer spot.

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