By Toby Christie, Editor – Follow on Twitter @Toby_Christie
The first 1.5-mile speedway test of the year is over, and with just two cars in the top-10 finishing order (Kyle Larson in 9th and Chase Elliott in 10th) Chevrolet’s Camaro ZL1 had a forgettable day. But what does the bad day in Atlanta mean going forward for the bowtie brigade? Simply, not much.
A year ago, this same race was dominated by Ford, the same manufacturer that made minced meat of everyone on Sunday. In last year’s edition of the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Ford race cars led all but 12 of 325 laps.
Toyota only was able to muster two cars in the top-10 in 2017’s first “true” test. Hell, when the checkered flag was displayed in the July Daytona race, Toyota only had two trophies on the mantle through the first 17 races. How did last season end for the Toyota bunch?
Well they won 14 of the final 19 races of the year, Toyota also went on to win the Manufacturer’s Championship and they ended with the top-two drivers in the year-end championship standings (Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch).
Point being, it’s far too early to say that a manufacturer is out of the picture, especially one that has been as historically dominant as Chevrolet. Before Toyota won the last two Manufacturer’s Championships, Chevrolet had won the last 13-straight (a NASCAR record for a manufacturer).
Remember, the Chevrolet teams are working with a new body style and there are a bunch of new young drivers in their stable as well.
Once the season gets rolling expect guys like Alex Bowman, William Byron and Bubba Wallace to have some strong performances at 1.5-mile tracks. Oh, and that seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion (Jimmie Johnson) who is mired 35th in the 2018 championship standings after two races, will get his act together eventually as well.
Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Toby Christie is the Editor of TheFinalLap.com and Social Media Director of all things @TheFinalLap. He is the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly radio show and podcast, and he is the writer and co-host of the Racing Legends podcast. Additionally, Christie is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has covered the sport as a media member since 2007. Christie began his love for NASCAR as a fan in 1993. You can Tweet Toby at Toby_Christie, or email him at email@example.com.