The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series enjoyed a Father’s Day weekend break and here’s a look at the top teams before racing picks back up at Sonoma Raceway.
Joe Gibbs Racing
The margin is closing but JGR is still the best organization in the garage after 15 races. Nine of those have gone to a Gibbs driver with Kyle Busch leading the way and his four wins. Three for Martin Truex Jr. and two by Denny Hamlin round out the box score for JGR, which is still waiting for Erik Jones to join the party.
Joey Logano’s Michigan win brought the Penske victory mark to five so far this season. Rarely are Logano, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney too far away from the front of the field. Blaney continues to look for answers and snap out of a still winless drought but overall Roger Penske’s stable is looking very strong.
There is frustration creeping into SHR as the organization still looks to find Victory Lane. Kevin Harvick needed the Father’s Day weekend break maybe more than any other driver in the series after his Michigan outing. Clint Bowyer wasn’t too far behind as his emotions bubbled over after a disappointing Michigan as well. Daniel Suarez has been coming on strong and Aric Almirola found his consistency again but SHR remains on the outside looking in of the win column.
Chip Ganassi Racing
Kurt Busch remains the leader of this team with a second-place finish at Michigan his latest impressive outing. Kyle Larson has been better of late but is still not the same powerhouse of a year or so ago. The summer stretch will be important for this operation to get both cars headed in the right direction.
Better but not yet great. That’s the best way to sum up the year so far for Hendrick. Chase Elliott is the leader in performance and the only non-JGR or Penske driver to win this season. Alex Bowman fell off a little bit but remains a presence in and around the top-10. William Byron is working on turning stellar qualifying efforts into good finishes. Jimmie Johnson has stalled out some after looking like there was some life in the 48 team earlier in the year. There’s still work to be done.
Roush Fenway Racing
Ryan Newman has proved his consistency is not a fluke by any means. He worked his way back into the top 10 at Michigan before the break and finished there for the fourth time this year. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has tumbled to 20th in the series point standings and has to find a way to stop heading the wrong way.
Richard Childress Racing
Things have gone better for the RCR Xfinity Series program than the Cup effort so far this year. Austin Dillon and Daniel Hemric are 21st and 24th in the series standings, respectively, with a combined three top-10 finishes. Qualifying speed has been good, race finishes have not.
Wood Brothers Racing
A pair of top-10 finishes on short tracks is what Paul Menard has to his credit so far for the Wood Brothers. He’s been stuck on that number for a while and the Woods operation continues to look for answers to get the famed No. 21 Ford running more competitively.
Stage wins and a top-10 finish are the highlights of Ty Dillon’s year to date. It’s better but the solo car effort is going to need to up the ante in the summer stretch to fulfill their longshot hopes of making the playoffs.
JTG Daugherty Racing
Chris Buescher has continued to impress with solid outings and has racked up three top-10 finishes so far. His rookie teammate Ryan Preece has a top-five and two top-10 runs as well. This team has the feel of one capable of stealing a win and a playoff berth.