You would think at some point this nonsense would end.
I wrote a few months ago that, at that point, the dominance of Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. wasn’t an issue;that soon other people would start winning and the scales would balance out. My exact words were:
For me, it’s not that big of a deal. It just tells me everyone not driving the No. 4 or the No. 18 (or the No. 78) just need to get to better. If you get your butt kicked that regularly, you have no choice but to.
The reason I’m not overly concerned about it is because these things have a way of working themselves out as a season goes along and fans of everyone get their happy day when their guy wins. Going beyond victories, a bunch of guys have run well in2018, they just haven’t made their way to victory lane yet.
As usual, I was wrong.
Since that column, there have been eight races. Of those eight, Harvick, Busch and Truex have won six. (On May 30, I wrote about the “Big 2;” since then, Truex has thrown his hat in the ring of dominant cars). The other two were won by Clint Bowyer(Harvick’s teammate) and Erik Jones (Busch’s teammate). For the year that’s 15 wins for the “Big 3” and five for the rest of the field. If you’re the math type, that’s 75 percent of this year’s Cup races won by 7.5 percent of the total field.
This is a problem. While historic what these three guys are doing, it’s kind of sucking the energy out of everything else going on in the sport. There have been a total of seven race winners this year: our three, Bowyer with two wins, Joey Logano, Austin Dillon and Jones. I mean, at this point, even I’m losing interest and I’m becoming a Kevin Harvick fan.
I also wrote in May:
I guess my theory is this: If Harvick or Busch (but not both) continue to run away with 2018, it will have a negative impact on NASCAR. Both are polarizing figures with, especially in Busch’s case, more people not liking them than liking them (there are 30-something more drivers every week). But for now, it’ll be fun to watch everyone else try to catch up.
Now here we are almost in August — there are six races left in the regular season — and we still have the same dominance. It’sturning people off; at least the people I talk to (I’d love to hear your thoughts).
At New Hampshire last week, it came down to a duel between Harvick and Busch for the race win, with the driver of the No. 4putting a little bumper to the No. 18 for Harvick’s sixth win of 2018. Busch had some words after the race about Harvick and it may lead to the only thing that can save this season: a good rivalry between two of these drivers.
About the little bump and run, Busch told NASCAR.com:
“He did that because of Chicago. I think that he had a fair game. Everybody has fair game on Kyle Busch, that’s for sure, when it comes to the fan base. That’s fine; (if) that’s how they want to race, that’s how I’ll race back.”
So, Busch said he would bump if it came down to it. Honestly, how is that any different than how he normally races?
Whether or not this leads to revenge is yet to be seen, but I’m hoping it does, because the only drama is picking which of the three will win on a given week. Having two of them going after each other on the regular is a good story versus them winning going away.
At this point, it may be 2018’s only salvation.
Andy Cagle, a former spokesman for Rockingham Speedway and motorsports public relations consultant, writes about NASCARin a weekly column. Follow him on Twitter @andy_cagle.