First, let me apologize for dropping the ball this season. I enjoyed the "Quick Hits" pieces after each race earlier this season and I appreciate the kind comments so many gave me. Life gets in the way of our best intentions sometimes. Just to let some of you know I'm still around, I thought I'd share some random thoughts, rumors and maybe some thoughts about rumors at this point in the season.
Admit it, it's been a good season to this point, hasn't it? It's almost hard to remember all the whining about the rules package back when 2019 started. It's been interesting to see it play out so far. Kyle Busch started strong but has been quiet since June. Of course, he’s blaming his recent slump on the package. You know, the same one he won those races with earlier in the season.
Denny Hamlin has come on strong as of late. Something tells me he's going to be in the mix for the title at Homestead. Speaking of the title, at this point I'm betting on two Gibbs drivers to be a part of it. Whether the other driver is Martin Truex, Jr. or Busch, I'm not willing to bet on yet. I'll also take Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick to round out the final four.
I think most of the "Silly Season" news this year is going to come from the Ford teams. There may be a new alliance or partnership in the works, which if it comes true, I think will be a good one. There's also a rumor that a Cup team may close its doors, but we'll see.
Speaking of Ford, it looks like Corey LaJoie is probably leaving GoFas Racing. I personally hate to see that because I was looking forward to watching both team and driver grow together. Word is he'll be David Ragan's replacement. It will then be interesting to see who lands in the 32.
On the Xfinity side, I like Chase Briscoe for my championship pick. He just seems smooth and doesn't seem to get ruffled. His teammate Cole Custer gets the bulk of the media attention. He'll be a factor as well but as the weeks click off the schedule, one has to believe the pressure will continue to mount. Can he handle it? If not, watch Briscoe.
Speaking of Custer, where will he land for 2020? This is being written two days before the Brickyard 400. I say that as a qualifier because Sunday's race will affect this statement. It's my belief that if Clint Bowyer can't make playoffs, he's out at Stewart-Haas. Making the field of 16 has to be the minimum requirement for a driver in that organization. If he goes, Custer is in the 14 next season. If Bowyer is in the playoffs and returns, I think Custer will still be in Cup next year. The question then, is where?
A pretty well funded Xfinity Series team is shutting down. No, I'm not talking about H2 Motorsports. It sounds like after this week, they're on their way out but another team will soon shut their doors.
I won't be surprised if a big-name Cup driver retires after this season. Heck, I won't be surprised if more than one calls it a career.
What a sport this is! So much to pay attention to both on and off the track. Enjoy it.