Joey Logano was honored for his 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship on Thursday night in Las Vegas. This week was a celebration to crown the season champion. While most thought that the title would go to either of the “Big 3” Logano came in and stole the show.
While the “Big 3” were certainly frustrated, Kevin Harvick put it best in Vegas.
“The best team doesn’t always win the championship.”
Logano, was far from the top team this season. Heading into the month of August, he had just one victory all year. But, from Michigan on, he got hot. They had the best average finishing position over the final three months and played the system the best.
He earned the title and gives NASCAR a young champion they’ve been wanting.
Plus, Chase Elliott won the Most Popular Driver award. Again, great for NASCAR but not surprising. Since 1991, a driver named Elliott or Earnhardt has won this award each season.
Now that the teams though have celebrated their seasons, the focus turns to 2019 and the uncertainty that will come.
Ford won more races and led more laps in 2018 than they have in decades. Chevrolet, won less races and led less laps than they have in decades. Chevy, brought out a new car in 2018. Ford, will do so in 2019.
Does a second year with the Camaro (Chevrolet) and the first year with the Mustang (Ford) close the gap a bit between the two? What about Toyota (Camry) for a third straight year? They struggled in the first half of the season with the Camry in 2017. With how Chevy struggled in 2018, trends say Ford may be a little slow out of the gates.
Or will they?
We have a completely new racing package for 2019. The new rules are supposed to change up the racing for a new level that we’ve never seen in this sport. Every week will have a drafting package which will create racing where drivers can’t get any separation.
Goodyear is warning that the tire wear will be low. The grip levels will be high. With the new aero package, we don’t know what we’re going to get in terms on who’s going to be good or not.
We have some new rookies and new drivers in new rides with the youth having some experience now.
Elliott, finally won a race and is set to be the face of the sport that NASCAR has needed. But, what does this new package do for him?
Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus have split up. Knaus, shifts to William Byron. Can this past year’s Rookie of the Year benefit?
Martin Truex Jr. and Cole Pearn join Joe Gibbs Racing. Does their production remain the same or do they drop a bit?
Can Kyle Larson get back to his 2017 form? He will have a new teammate in the Ganassi camp too.
What about the leadership up top? Is Brian France coming back or will Jim France run the show?
This offseason and the first few races of 2019 are going to be crucial. All of these things are big news going into next season.