As a rule, by the time the NASCAR Cup series takes place on July 4, it becomes clear who is the championship favorite. So often the summer months are a simple formality, sometimes logging, when good teams just get better, and everyone in the garage makes their way to fall and to the most responsible part of the season.

Usually. But not so this season.

There has been a lot of hype about the Next Gen car as a great equalizer to bring the competition together, and some of them turn out to be true. The best organizations of the series still see the greatest success, but there is no denying that the machine has undergone a steep bloody training and four months in competition, no one has expressed this in their interests. Of the 12 different winners only five were repeated, and no team is a clear favorite.

“I don’t feel like there’s really been a dominant car in the race all season that I can come up with,” said Alan Gustafson, head of crew at Hendrick Motorsports of Chase Eliot.

Hendrick Motorsports and Trackhouse Racing are leading the way in Chevrolet. But the order of biting changes weekly. Toyota teams went from rest to lunch and a boring day on the Sonoma Raceway, to all six cars that looked similar to the ones you could beat on the Superspeedway in Nashville. Toyota pilots conducted 253 out of 300 laps.

The pendulum is constantly swaying to and fro. Well one week, far, next. There is a bit of unpredictability around who will unload quickly and competitively on the racetrack and who will not. For the Penske team, it can be argued that they are average on most tracks, but superior on flatter and shorter tracks.

“It depends on the track,” Joey Lagana said of the riders they won this season. “There are certain tracks that I feel are very good, and there are certain tracks that we need to work on a bit. Same for others. I see there are teams that are really good at a mile and a half and I think, ‘God, how do they do it?’ And then some teams are good everywhere. There are a few of them that you can probably determine which ones are, so we just need to work on a certain sequence on all the racetracks right now. ”

Eleven riders held 200 or more laps in 17 races. The multiple winners of the season have won only twice – Elliott, Ross Chastain, Joey Lagana, William Byron and Danny Hamlin. It seems a little strange that in the distant season the drivers of magic numbers are trying to win № 3.

A year ago Kyle Larson has already won four times so far. Martin Trueks Jr. was a three-time winner. Alex Bowman had a couple of wins.

This time last year Kyle Larson has already become a four-time winner. This time Danny Hamlin and Ross Chastain (above) are part of a group of drivers stuck on two wins. Images of motorsport

But this time, leaving June, parity among the best teams is alive and well. Truex is still a win-win. The same goes for Ryan Blaney, who invariably sat at the top of the championship points standings.

And if we talk about the points, then there is also no clear gap. Everything changes not only in racing.

“Certainly there doesn’t seem to be a single guy taking off with the season, so he’s still wide open,” said Alex Bowman, going on a racing weekend in Nashville. “Hopefully, when the playoffs start, we are in better shape.”

Elliott, Chastain and Byron scored the most points in the playoffs – 13. Lagan and Hamlin 12. Next are seven playoff points for Larson, Kurt Bush and Daniel Suarez.

“We’ve seen in previous years how the guys were gaining a lot of wins and a lot of playoff points to lean on,” Bowman said. “As a rule, they’re still the best guys in the playoffs. So it’s a little interesting. But now it is quite open. I think you will have the teams to flare up and then cool down even between now and the playoffs.

“With this racing car so much is changing. It’s not like in an old car where we find fault, make small changes and small events. We can’t change the details, but it’s big fluctuations when we study a racing car and when teams improve racing cars. These are big improvements, and I think they will continue to be so. ”

Logic says that eventually, the team will hit him and start coming off. It is doubtful that there will be a team or two or three that will start winning three, four and five races. But it’s a nice change of pace that hasn’t happened yet. And so it’s a good change of pace that so far the championship field will be a little closer to each other when things start in September.

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