Kyle Busch: Busch started on the pole at Charlotte and led 377 of 400 laps on his way to the win in the Coca-Cola 600. With the victory, Busch became the first driver to win a points race at every track on the NASCAR schedule.
Stars. Many are called, but few are worthy. Each week, NASCAR provides somewhere between 34 and 40 entries out on the track, but fewer than 25 have any legitimate shot at making a difference. We know the names of those who have succeeded, those who have made and earned, a place in the spotlight.
NASCAR needs more crossover stars. It's a time-honored tradition in the sport to bring in drivers from across the pond (mostly on NASCAR's dime) and put them in our cars not only to perform but to draw in the fans. This is usually met with success more on the fan side of things, although former F1 drivers Mario Andretti and Juan Pablo Montoya did find a bit of success in NASCAR.
Kevin Harvick: Harvick started second and sported the best car for much of the day. But two pit road incidents, a loose lug nut and a penalty for too many crewman over the wall, cost him the win. He still finished second and is fourth in the Monster Energy Cup points standings.
Nose to tail, side by side, just inches apart, ripping around a 2.66-mile tri-oval that is 48 feet wide with 33-degree banking in the corners at speeds of over 190 miles per hour. It is obvious to anyone watching what could happen. It is amazing when it does not.
This weekend the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the second playoff race in the Round of 16. Martin Truex Jr. secured his spot in the next round with his win at Chicagoland while Kurt Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman are below the cutoff for transfer into the Round of 12.
Everyone is super excited about going to Loudon, New Hampshire for the big event on Sunday. Okay, Alan Gustafson is not. Is not going, that is. Chase Elliott was second in Chicago, leaving him sixth in points. That was then. Now, he is eighth in points. If your car fails post-race inspection, sometimes they take away 15 points, along with your crew chief for a week.
Win and automatically advance to the next round. There are four rounds, each consisting of three races. Four drivers will be eliminated at the end of each round leaving four contenders to battle for the championship crown at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November.