Drivers, Rivalries & A Continuing Legacy

Drivers, Rivalries & A Continuing Legacy
NASCAR ‘Gears Up’ For 2018


As football fades into the sunset, the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will gear up to celebrate its 70th anniversary – seventy seasons of professional stock car racing in the United States, as well as the 47th modern-era Cup series season.

Kicking it off, for the 60th consecutive year, is the DAYTONA 500, being held on February 18th. It is universally agreed upon that Daytona is the core of racing, a location that brought forth heroes, villains, rivalries, and everything else that went into the recipe to create “The Great American Race.” To begin this thrilling season fans will get more speed, new cars, old names and new talent, as drivers’ battle against each other to earn the coveted title of DAYTONA 500 Champion.


Among the new sights and sounds that will abound this season, one classic, beloved name will still be competing: Earnhardt. This legendary family will continue with a driver in the DAYTONA 500 marking this clan’s 40th consecutive year, as the grandson of the late Dale Earnhardt and nephew of the now-retired Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – Jeffrey – gets behind the wheel.


Another new position on the NASCAR stage, however, makes it so all of the die-hard fans of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won’t have to miss out on him completely. In fact, he is now going to join the NBC crew in the booth and will be just as skilled as he was in his car. (Seeing as that Jeff Gordon will be with FOX, fans may have another ‘odd’ little rivalry to look forward to.)


When speaking about the new cars on the racetrack, you can thank Chevrolet for putting together the Camaro ZL1; a brand new auto that NASCAR fans will be thrilled to see race around that track for the very first time. Competitors are already wondering if this will be the ‘one’ that allows Chevy’s teams to speed across the finish line faster than ever before.


When talking about the racing realm, there is one very definite thing that all fans have in common with those NFL lovers: rivalries. No matter what the year was, there were always two drivers duking it out around every turn as their own mass of fans cheered them on (while booing someone specific.) Petty vs. Pearson, Earnhardt vs. Gordon…they all did something to put the DAYTONA 500 into the record books. This time out it seems to be Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin. It was last season during NASCAR Playoffs where the first run-in occurred between these two at Martinsville, and it will be more than interesting to see how legendary this particular rivalry gets.


Elliott will also have a little help in 2018, as Xfinity Series champion William Byron and Alex Bowman join forces with Chase and seven-time Monster Energy Series champion Jimmie Johnson. All of those names, along with the younger drivers, such as Ryan Blaney, Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones, will be racing to knock the new champ off his throne. Martin Truex, Jr. is at the top of the NASCAR world and even though you couldn’t meet anyone nicer, according to teammates and fans, Martin also has the talent to stay on top of that throne for a good, long while.


However, there’s one driver in the spotlight after last season, and that is Christopher Bell. Moving up to the Xfinity Series after recently winning his second Chili Bowl and a Camping World Truck Series title, Bell is quickly becoming the name NASCAR fans are cheering for.


Fans will also take note of the new pit strategies to be introduced this season. Utilizing five members instead of six, the pit crews will need to strategize in order to maintain and try to accelerate their quick changes on the pit road. All teams have kept quiet in regards to how they’re doing, so Daytona will be their first test to see if their plan actually works.


Thus, as the cars gear up and the drivers take their spots, the flags will wave, the fans will cheer, and “The Great American Race” will kick the season into gear.


For more information on the upcoming schedule of races and events, as well as the latest news follow:


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