NASCAR Cup Series Expectations Check

NASCAR Cup Series Expectations Check: One-third of the way into the 2020 season is time to do a check on the drivers and whether they're meeting expectations to this point of a unique year.
HOMESTEAD, FLORIDA – JUNE 14: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Cup Series Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on June 14, 2020 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

NASCAR Cup Series Expectations Check: One-third of the way into the 2020 season is time to do a check on the drivers and whether they’re meeting expectations to this point of a unique year.

As crazy as the 2020 season has been, normalcy is gradually returning to NASCAR. Eight races have been run since the ten-week-long hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the season to its one-third completion mark. Drivers needed an adjustment period to the post-pandemic era of the sport; no practice, no qualifying, no fans, two races in one weekend, the list goes on and on. As the races continue to roll on by, these adjustments have allowed some drivers to surprise, and caused others to disappoint. With the season at a bit of a junction heading into Talladega, here’s a quick look at which drivers are exceeding expectations, and which drivers are flopping. 

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Xfinity Series is NASCAR Ready for Daytona

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With the racing ‘graduation’ of several of the last two season’s championship contenders – including two-time Xfinity champion Tyler Reddick, Cole Custer, Christopher Bell, and John Hunter Nemechek all to the NASCAR Cup Series this year – the 2020 Xfinity championship field has a distinctive new competitive look.

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Zane Smith Earns Top-Five Finish with JR Motorsports at Iowa

Zane Smith has five starts so far with JR Motorsports in 2019 and has earned one top-ten at Dover (ninth) and one top-five at Iowa (fifth). Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Zane Smith is our guest on Fan4Racing NASCAR & Race Talk Review at 9 pm ET on Monday, June 17, 2019. Call 929-477-1790 or tweet @Fan4RacingSite with any questions or comments during our LIVE broadcast.

Heading into his fifth NASCAR Xfinity Series start with JR Motorsports at Iowa Speedway on Sunday, Zane Smith had confidence and momentum on his side. Including the last time Smith was behind the wheel of the No. 8 at Dover International Speedway on May 4th, the team has three out of four finishes inside the top-ten. Along with Smith’s ninth-place finish at Dover, Ryan Preece earned a top-five at Pocono with a fourth-place finish, and John Hunter Nemechek earned an eighth-place finish at Michigan.

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Quick Pit Stop Launches Christopher Bell to $100,000 Win at Dover

DOVER, DE – MAY 04: Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 Rheem Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Dash 4 Cash and the NASCAR Xfinity Series Allied Steel Buildings 200 at Dover International Speedway on May 4, 2019, in Dover, Delaware. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

DOVER, Del. – Christopher Bell won the battle that counted by a few feet—and that small victory launched him to his third NASCAR Xfinity Series triumph of the season in the Allied Steel Buildings 200 at Dover International Speedway.

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Bell Rings Up Bristol Win, Banks Xfinity Dash 4 Cash Bonus

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BRISTOL, Tenn. – Christopher Bell overtook Brandon Jones with less than 20 laps remaining to capture Saturday’s Alsco 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race and pocketed a $100,000 bonus for his efforts.

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NASCAR Xfinity Series at ISM Raceway Preview

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After a spectacular event in Las Vegas last weekend, the NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Phoenix, Arizona for the NASCAR Xfinity Series race the iK9 Service Dog 200 at ISM Raceway this Saturday, March 9 at 4 pm ET with pre-race coverage at 3:30 pm ET on FS1 MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio for the fourth race of the 2019 season. The defending winner is Brad Keselowski.

Distance:  200 miles (200 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 45),

Stage 2 (Ends on lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on lap 200)

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Kyle Busch Sets Up Possible Vegas Weekend Sweep with NASCAR Xfinity Win

LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 02: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Extreme Concepts/iK9 Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinty Series Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 2, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

LAS VEGAS – It took successful a gamble, a serendipitous caution and a couple of overtimes for Las Vegas native Kyle Busch to win a second NASCAR Xfinity Series race on his home track, but Busch beat the odds in Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300.

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Tyler Reddick Wins at Homestead in Stunning Xfinity Championship Run


Tyler Reddick, driver of the #9 BurgerFi Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 17, 2018 in Homestead, Florida.
Photo – Robert Laberge/Getty Images

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Tyler Reddick was the only driver of the Championship 4 who really liked it on top, and his willingness to run the wall paid off with a race win and a NASCAR Xfinity Series title.

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Brett Moffitt Cruises to First Truck Series Title at Homestead


Brett Moffitt, the driver of the #16 AISIN Group Toyota, celebrates in victory lane with the trophy after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 and the NCWTS Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway 
Photo – Jared C Tilton/Getty Images

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Brett Moffitt, a kid with a moustache reminiscent of Leo DiCaprio—yet already a journeyman driver at age 26—is the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion after a decisive victory in Friday night’s Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

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Christopher Bell Wins All-or-Nothing Race to Clinch Xfinity Championship Berth


Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 GameStop Just Cause 4 Toyota, poses with the winner’s decal on his car in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Whelen Trusted To Perform 200 at ISM Raceway on November 10, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona 
Photo – Jared C Tilton/Getty Images

AVONDALE, Ariz. – In a Playoff round that has been feast or famine for Christopher Bell, the driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry gorged to his heart’s content on Saturday at ISM Raceway.

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