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This NASCAR season shaping up as year of feel-good stories

MARTINSVILLE, VA – MARCH 26: Clint Bowyer, driver of the #14 Haas Automation Demo Day Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the weather delayed Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 26, 2018 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

The 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season is shaping up to be the feel-good-win season, at least it’s looking that way, six races into the 36-race schedule.

Okay, so Kevin Harvick went on a tear, winning three-consecutive races at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and ISM Raceway near Phoenix, meaning he has wins in exactly half the races, so far. But take a look at the other three — the Daytona 500 and the last two races at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., and Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Two of those three races, extactly two-thirds, had feel-good feels in victory lane.

Most recently, Clint Bowyer snapped a 190-race winless streak, the third-longest span between wins in NASCAR history, spanning approximately five-and-a-half wins, with his trip to victory lane at Martinsville on Monday.

In February, there was Austin Dillon’s Daytona 500 win. I get it; a lot of fans loathe Dillon in the No. 3 car, but put that bitterness aside for a minute. Dillon returned the No. 3 to victory lane at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway approximately 20 years after the late Dale Earnhardt’s one and only Daytona 500 victory in 1998 after 20 years of trying to win NASCAR’s marquee race.

Heck, even throw Harvick’s first of his three consecutive wins into the feel-good category. That win came at Atlanta. It was his second-career Cup Series win at the track and reminded Harvick and fans, alike, of that first win. To refresh your memory, that first win was Harvick’s third-career start after climbing into the No. 3-turned-No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet following the death of the larger-than-life Earnhardt in 2001. And how did Harvick commemorate that historic first win after his latest win at Atlanta? With three fingers out the window on his victory lap, much like he did back in 2001.

What are some other potential feel-good stories for 2018? How about a first-career win for Chase Elliott? I mean, haven’t we been waiting a couple seasons for that now? Surely, it’s going to happen sometime.

How about a win for Darrell Wallace Jr. and Richard Petty Motorsports? That would be a feel-good story on at least two fronts, feel-good because of both driver and team.

Speaking of Wallace and feel-good stories, how about his runner-up finish in the Daytona 500?

Really, I guess any first-time winner is a feel-good story.

But, hold on just a minute. This season, at least so far, is shaping up to be the season of the veteran driver.

“In case anyone was wondering average age of the winners in the first six races 38.5 #oldguysrule,” Kevin Harvick (@KevinHarvick) tweeted Tuesday.

Of course, Harvick, at the age of 42 has driven up that average by winning three of the first six races. Still, of the three other winners, Austin Dillon is the only one under the age of 30 and the only one with fewer than 10 full-time seasons of Cup racing under his belt.

So, how about a potential “old guy” feel-good story?

A history-making eighth title for Jimmie Johnson? Okay, so that one’s not looking likely, at least not right now, or for 2018, unless Johnson and the No. 48 team, or Hendrick Motorsports for that matter, get back on track and soon. Well, actually, I guess Team Hendrick could take until near regular-season end, get Johnson into victory lane, allowing for Johnson to go on a tear in the 10-race playoffs. I don’t really see that happening, at least not this season.

I’m sure there are some potential “old guy” feel-good storylines out there; they’re just slipping my mind at the present. Besides, Dillon broke through for that Daytona win, so don’t completely count those “young guns” out.

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Posted by on March 29, 2018. Filed under Blog by Amanda Vincent,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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