Ryan Newman’s victory at Phoenix Raceway was huge for the sport. A brave call by Newman’s crew chief, Luke Lambert, to stay out on old worn out tires left the number 31 Grainger Chevrolet leading the race for an Overtime Green, White, Checkered finish. Ryan Newman drove the last two laps like a man possessed and stole a victory from a fast Kyle Busch and a smoking hot Kyle Larson. Seeing Childress, Newman, and the 31 team celebrate was very exciting sight to see.
There is something special about seeing RCR back in victory lane. Richard Childress Racing is NASCAR royalty. Any time NASCAR is a topic of discussion you can’t get very deep into conversation before RCR comes up.
Newly inducted Hall of Famer Richard Childress has been on a winless streak in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series since November 10th, 2013, when Kevin Harvick took the checkered flag at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Ryan Newman hasn’t been to Victory Lane since the Brickyard 400 on July 28th, 2013. At that point in his career he was driving for Stewart-Haas Racing.
It’s been a tough few years for RCR but late last season we could tell that they were closing the gap. They have been competitive in every race of the 2017 season and it was apparent that it was only a matter of time before they overcame the drought. This win was not a fluke, and I highly doubt that it with be RCR’s only visit to Victory Lane this season.
More teams being represented in victory lane shows the overall health of the sport. It shows that NASCAR is heading in the right direction with the lower downforce packages and Stage racing. Sunday’s win marks a trip to Victory Lane for all three manufactures, and even more importantly, four different organizations in four races.
Remember the Joe Gibbs Racing stronghold of the 2016 season? Those days are gone, and we are seeing more teams contending week in and week out for the win. If racing continues in the direction it has over the first four weeks, I think we’re in store for the best race season in many, many years.
My hope is that we will see more than 16 different winners this season. We’re off to a promising start. With the resurgence of teams like RCR and Roush, and the early performance shown by Ganassi and Furniture Row, I think that 16 winners is more than possible.
As always, please let me know what you think. Are you as excited as I am about the win?