Hard to believe but we’re already a full month into the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. And while points aren’t of the same magnitude in years past, with wins counting more in terms of punching Chase tickets, they still matter.
Here’s a few observations of those in great, good, and not-so-good shape through four rounds (last week’s linked here).
IN GREAT SHAPE
Add Bristol winner Carl Edwards to the list that includes Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. And as the only driver with four top-10s in four races, Jeff Gordon is off to a phenomenal start as well in his elusive, seemingly eternal “drive for five.”
OFF AND RUNNING
Those from fifth through 11th in points – Jimmie Johnson down to Kasey Kahne – are in good shape. With second on Sunday night in Bristol, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is on a mission too. He’s driving like a man possessed and has already made key strides through the opening month of the season in his second year for Roush Fenway Racing; he’s currently 10th in points. Could he be NASCAR’s next first-time winner?
Additionally, how cool is it that Stenhouse, in the 17, and Aric Almirola, in the 43 were battling in the top three at Bristol? Two of NASCAR’s iconic numbers in contention at one of its most iconic tracks was a nice modern day throwback.
CLOSE, BUT NOT THERE YET
The group P12-23 have all had at least one really good run but not a string as yet. Big names here include Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Jamie McMurray, Tony Stewart and rookie Kyle Larson among others.
MORE WORK TO DO
Through four races, those big names without a top-10 finish include Clint Bowyer, AJ Allmendinger, Martin Truex Jr., Danica Patrick and Kurt Busch. For Kurt, it has just not been the start he needed to his new relationship with Stewart-Haas Racing, despite running well at times. Same story for Truex, now in the Furniture Row 78 car.
Adam Cianciarulo (450) and Dylan Ferrandis (250) swept both motos of their divisions Saturday in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship event at Spring Creek MX Park in Millville, Minnesota, significantly impacting the points standings.
“Man, what a dream come true,” Cianciarulo said. “I really wanted to go 1-1 last round at RedBud and had that silly mistake. Today, we got the job done and made it happen. Two consecutive victories in the 450 Class just feels really good. I just want to keep the ball rolling.”
With three rounds remaining, Cianciarulo is ranked second in the standings at a 15-point deficit to Zach Osborne, who won three of the first five rounds.
In the 250 standings, Dylan Ferrandis jumped ahead of Jeremy Martin (who won three consecutive events earlier in the season) by three points (257-254).
Ferrandis beat third-ranked RJ Hampshire in the first moto and nipping Martin by 0.4 seconds in the second.
“That was a difficult race in the second moto and the pressure was on,” Ferrandis said. “It was really good for me to have that battle and come out on top in the second moto. The championship is really close and I think that we were able to put on a good show for everyone today. Jeremy [Martin] and I have a good relationship I think and we congratulated each other and talked about the battle after the race.”
NEXT: The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will hold its seventh round Sept. 26 with the Geico Motorcycle WW Ranch National at Jacksonville, Florida.
Thor Spring Creek National (Spring Creek MX Park, Millville, Minnesota)
450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)
Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki (1-1)
Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM (2-2)
Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha (5-4)
Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (8-3)
Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (6-5)
Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (3-10)
Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Honda (7-6)
Joey Savatgy, , Suzuki (9-7)
Max Anstie, United Kingdom, Suzuki (10-8)
Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna (4-16)
450 Class Championship Standings
Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna – 235
Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki – 220
Marvin Musquin, France, KTM – 215
Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 196
Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha – 194
Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM – 190
Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 173
Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Honda – 141
Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Yamaha – 134
Joey Savatgy, Tallahassee, Fla., Suzuki – 122
250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)
Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha (1-1)
Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda (5-2)
Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Suzuki (4-4)
Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (3-6)
Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (9-3)