‘NASCAR Race Hub’ showcased the best moments from 2017 in the clip posted above so we wanted to complement that piece with a ranking of the seven biggest moments as NASCAR comes off of its first bye week of the season.
Check out the moments ranked below:
When NASCAR’s most popular driver and one of its rising stars go at it, people start talking. The fact that Ryan Blaney lives on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s property made this even more interesting. It started with Blaney having some words for Earnhardt at Phoenix and came to a head when the two made contact at Martinsville.
They were never going to throw punches but when social media got involved and Earnhardt ignored Blaney’s call, the saga was definitely one of the best storylines through the first seven races.
The veteran driver and 2003 Cup Series champion has taken some hard licks to start 2017. After getting swept up in a Daytona 500 accident, Kenseth blew a tire and hit the wall hard at Phoenix and once again blasted the wall hard at Auto Club.
The first seven races of 2017 have been full of surprises. Kurt Busch started the season off by ending an 0-for-62 restrictor-plate drought and Ryan Newman ended a 112-race winless drought at Phoenix a few weeks later.
Along with those surprising wins have been a majority of races where the dominant car didn’t seal the deal with a victory. It’ll be interesting to see if this trend continues going forward.
LAT ImagesMatthew T. Thacker
Stage racing strategy
One of the biggest reasons for surprising finishes has been stage racing. With strategy moves to win stages altering end race strategy, the door has opened for unlikely winners. A late-race gamble by Newman helped him win Phoenix and Ryan Blaney’s gamble to win Stage 2 at Texas likely cost him a race win.
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Stenhouse moves Kyle Busch at Martinsville
The addition of stage racing has brought a lot of mid-race excitement. Specifically at Martinsville, when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. moved Kyle Busch to stay on the lead lap at the end of the stage.
Nigel Kinrade/LAT Photo USA
Kyle Larson no longer Cinderella
Dominant runs without closing the deal started to become the narrative around Kyle Larson after finishing runner-up three straight races to start the season. He finally broke through and grabbed the checkered flag at Auto Club and looks poised to get multiple victories this season.
Joey Logano vs. Kyle Busch fight
Logano and Busch raced hard to the finish line at Vegas and when Busch spun after the two made contact, he headed straight for Logano on pit road. Did the punch land? Would NASCAR discipline Busch? The answer to both ended up being no but it was a fun following week.