2018: What a year! It feels like just yesterday
— Austin Dillon won the Daytona 500 and dabbed on them haters The “Big 3” became a thing Martin Truex Jr. was named 2017 champion ol’ Richard Petty replaced his driving helmet with a bedazzled cowboy hat Ryan Blaney moved to Team Penske Chase Elliott changed his car number Ford was racing the Fusion ISM Raceway was called Phoenix International Raceway . This year, we saw the emergence of the Big 3: — Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Austin Dillon, — Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Dale Earnhardt, and — Kevin Harvick Kyle Busch Martin Truex Jr. some other guy . This trio won over half the races in 2018.
2018 also brought us new first-time race winners. My favorite was
— Erik Jones Chase Elliott Clint Bowyer, oh wait Aric Almirola, oh wait Ryan Blaney, oh wait . The most memorable part of the season was the race at — Daytona the Charlotte road course Chicagoland the Martinsville playoff race a NASCAR track , where — Brad Keselowski forgot to turn and led the entire field into the Turn 1 wall Ricky Stenhouse Jr. crashed the Kyles battled it out there was a last-lap pass for the win Austin Dillon won Kevin Harvick won Martin Truex Jr. won Clint Bowyer won Kyle Busch won Joey Logano won Erik Jones won Chase Elliott won Kurt Busch won Brad Keselowski won Ryan Blaney won Aric Almirola won . No one saw that coming!
Can you believe
— three different drivers won three consecutive races Jimmie Johnson won zero races Denny Hamlin won zero races Clint Bowyer returned to Victory Lane my fantasy team was a total dumpster fire my fantasy team was not a total dumpster fire the speed of the Ford teams ? Maybe next year — Ford Chevrolet Toyota my favorite driver my least favorite driver AJ Allmendinger Aric Almirola Trevor Bayne Ryan Blaney Clint Bowyer Chris Buescher Kurt Busch Kyle Busch William Byron Landon Cassill Derrike Cope Matt DiBenedetto Austin Dillon Ty Dillon Jeffrey Earnhardt Chase Elliott Joey Gase Brendan Gaughan Gray Gaulding Denny Hamlin Kevin Harvick Jimmie Johnson Erik Jones Kasey Kahne Matt Kenseth Brad Keselowski Corey LaJoie Kyle Larson Joey Logano Michael McDowell Jamie McMurray Paul Menard Ryan Newman David Ragan Reed Sorenson Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Daniel Suarez Martin Truex Jr. Bubba Wallace Cole Whitt , the — greatest and my favorite worst and my least favorite , will follow suit.
The end of the season also meant we bid farewell to
— Jimmie Johnson’s win streak Furniture Row Racing the driver-adjustable trackbar the old Sonoma Raceway track layout Denny Hamlin and Mike Wheeler Kasey Kahne AJ Allmendinger Spencer Gallagher Ryan Newman’s time at Richard Childress Racing Kurt Busch’s time at Stewart Haas Racing , which makes me feel so — sad angry excited entitled annoyed confused heartbroken ecstatic excited . The only thing I may miss even more is — the Ford Fusion Denny Hamlin’s win streak Trevor Bayne the current speedway racing package the beautiful marriage of Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus Matt DiBenedetto at Go Fas Racing Cole Whitt the Hollywood Hotel Matt Kenseth, for real this time Daniel Suarez’s time at Joe Gibbs Racing , to be honest.
I know William Byron won Rookie of the Year, technically, but I would have given
— Bubba Wallace William Byron Gray Gaulding Bill Elliott Announcer Dale Jr. Alex Bowman the award instead. My favorite finish of 2018 was — Austin Dillon smashing Aric Almirola’s ham in the Daytona 500 Erik Jones winning, boys and girls Kyle vs. Kyle at Chicagoland Kevin Harvick’s bump-and-run on Kyle Busch at New Hampshire Chase Elliott winning at Watkins Glen Jimmie Johnson moving Martin Truex Jr. at the Charlotte road course, only for Ryan Blaney to win Joey Logano moving Martin Truex Jr. at Martinsville Joey Logano winning at Homestead . I was — thrilled displeased surprised, to say the least, very happy with the result.
The Championship 4 came down to the Big 3 and
— Joey Logano the Small 22 some other team Gray Gaulding The Driver Who Shall Not be Named JOLO NUMBER 22 WOOO BABY GO JOEY! in the end. While I expected — Kyle Busch Kevin Harvick Martin Truex Jr. Joey Logano the parachuter stuck in the Homestead-Miami Speedway catch fence to win the championship, I’m totally — OK with not OK with in denial about pumped with psyched about surprised about in disbelief over Joey Logano winning it.
If I had to guess, next year is
— Aric Almirola Ryan Blaney Clint Bowyer Chris Buescher Kurt Busch Kyle Busch William Byron Landon Cassill Derrike Cope Matt DiBenedetto Austin Dillon Ty Dillon Jeffrey Earnhardt Chase Elliott Joey Gase Gray Gaulding Denny Hamlin Kevin Harvick Daniel Hemric Jimmie Johnson Erik Jones Kasey Kahne Brad Keselowski Corey LaJoie Kyle Larson Joey Logano Michael McDowell Paul Menard Ryan Newman Ryan Preece David Ragan Reed Sorenson Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Daniel Suarez Matt Tifft Martin Truex Jr. Bubba Wallace ’s season, mostly because we almost witnessed — a Championship 4 run a playoff berth a race win total disappointment a new high a new low in 2018. Next year, though, I’m mostly looking forward to — the new speedway racing package Rookie of the Year contender Ryan Preece Rookie of the Year contender Daniel Hemric Rookie of the Year contender Matt Tifft Chad Knaus + William Byron Jimmie Johnson driving a purple car Kurt Busch’s new ride full-course Sonoma Raceway the Roval, Part II Dale Jr. screaming “SLIDE JOB!” again Martin Truex Jr. driving the No. 19 car engines being fired in Daytona and most importantly, the revenge of — Martin Truex Jr. toward Jimmie Johnson Martin Truex Jr. toward Joey Logano Ricky Stenhouse Jr. toward Kyle Busch Aric Almirola toward Joey Logano the parachute guy toward the catch fence Trevor Bayne toward the his former crew chief who used bad language on the radio THE TURTLES . Bring on 2019!