Through five races this year, there has been a noticeable trend in NASCAR; only one Chevy has cracked the top five. In contrast, the 2018 season saw a Chevrolet win, and finish runner-up–the Richard Childress Racing #3, Austin Dillon and Richard Petty’s #43, Darrell Wallace Jr–in the Daytona 500, then in a continued show of form, finished top 5 in the next three of four races.
Now that the stats are laid out, let’s delve into 2019. As previously mentioned, one Chevrolet has found the top 5, Kurt Busch, driver of the Chip Ganassi no. 1 Monster Energy Chevrolet. Meanwhile, Kurt’s younger brother, Kyle Busch, driver of the no. 18 M&M’s Toyota, has dominated the sport, being a major contender in every race this season, and currently on a two race winning streak in his Joe Gibbs Toyota. Busch’s teammates, Denny Hamlin (no. 11 FedEx Toyota), Martin Truex Jr (no. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota) , and Erik Jones (no. 20 Sports Clips Toyota), have either found victory lane (Denny Hamlin in the Daytona 500) or finished top 5 in every race this season. Along with JGR, Penske Racing’s Joey Logano (no. 22 Pennzoil Ford) , Brad Keselowski (no. 2 Discount Tire Ford), and Ryan Blaney (no. 12 PPG Paint Ford) have dominated this season, as they claim all other victories this season in the Monster Energy Cup Series.
Alright, now that we know what teams Chevrolet is facing, let’s talk about the manufacturer in question. Time to address the elephant in the room; Hendrick Motorsports. Team Hendrick consists of seven-time MENCS champion, Jimmie Johnson (no. 48 Ally Bank Chevrolet), prodigy Chase Elliott (no. 9 NAPA Chevrolet), Alex Bowman (no. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet), along with the youngest member of the team William Byron (no. 24 Axalta Chevrolet). Hendrick recently underwent a rebuild in the last 5 years, as legend Jeff Gordon, and Dale Earnhardt Jr retired from the team, leaving two open cars that were filled by Bowman and Byron; both under the age of 25. Despite age, Byron was fresh off an Xfinity Series championship when he was hired to drive the number 24 for Hendrick, so expectations were high…and frankly, not met. So, that begs the question: Is it the car or the driver?
The car. Camaro’s have not adjusted well to the new aerodynamics package. While Ford’s and Toyota’s are able to keep their position at the front of the field, all Chevy’s–regardless of team–cannot keep up with the leaders once they reach the front of the field. The issue could come from the drop in horsepower this season in NASCAR. Chevy seems to have not prepared accordingly to the changes, which focus more on back-drafting and downforce of cars, other than just raw power.
Chevrolet is in trouble, the problem needs to fixed soon, since the embarrassment is not ok nor going to be tolerated.