We’re only two weeks into the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season and already there have been plenty of surprises.
With 34 points races to go, obviously, a lot can change in the weeks and months ahead.
With that said, here are five of the biggest surprises of 2017:
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Old dogs, new tricks
Richard Childress Racing and Roush Fenway Racing, two of NASCAR’s legendary teams that have fallen on hard times in recent years, have shown greatly improved speed so far this year. The results haven’t always been there, but so far the speed has. And without speed, results are hard to come by.
Nigel Kinrade/LAT Photo USA
Driving for the small TriStar Motorsports Toyota team, Cole Whitt is 17th in points, ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin and just one spot back of JGR’s Matt Kenseth. Great job, driver, and team.
Kurt Busch wins Daytona 500
Make no mistake about it, Busch is an elite driver and a past NASCAR champion. But what made his Daytona 500 victory so improbable was that coming into the race, Busch was 0-for-63 in restrictor-plate races for his career.
, LAT Images www.latphoto.co.ukRusty Jarrett
Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Daniel Suarez are 25th and 31st, respectively in points, but Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are even worse: Johnson is 32nd, one position ahead of Earnhardt.
Mike DinovoMike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
So far, Ford Motor Co. drivers have won the Advance Auto Parts Clash (Joey Logano), the Daytona 500 (Kurt Busch) and the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta (Brad Keselowski). And Ford drivers Kevin Harvick, Busch and Keselowski are 1-2-3 in the points. The Fords are kicking the stuffing out of Chevrolet and Toyota right now.