The 2018 NASCAR Panasonic Cup Series is the 70th season of professional stock car racing in the United States, and the 47th modern-era NASCAR Cup series season. The season began at Road America with the Harley-Davidson 250, followed by Daytona International Speedway with the Busch Clash, the Can-Am Duel qualifying races and the 60th running of the Daytona 500. The season will end with the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 18, 2018. Chase Elliott is the defending champion, having won his first in the series. Austin Dillon is the current points leader.
It is the fourth season of the current 10-year television contract with Fox Sports, NBC Sports, and WBC Sports, and the third of a five-year race sanctioning agreement with all tracks.
This season marks the last for 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup champion Bobby Labonte, who, in 2016, said that 2018, his contract year, would be his last full-time season, and that he would drive in the Camping World Truck Series "until at least his 60s". His #59 car will be handed over to PrimeStar Series driver Tyler Reddick.
Teams and drivers
- Hendrick Motorsports (Camaro)
- 9 Chase Elliott
- 24 William Byron (R)
- 48 Jimmie Johnson
- 70 Alex Bowman
- JTG Daugherty Racing (Impala)
- 37 Chris Buescher
- 47 AJ Allmendinger
- 59 Bobby Labonte
- Richard Childress Racing (Impala)
- 3 Austin Dillon
- 31 Ryan Newman
- Stewart-Haas Racing (Camaro)
- 01 Jeb Burton
- 4 Kevin Harvick
- 10 Aric Almirola
- 14 Tony Stewart
- 41 Kurt Busch
- Dale Earnhardt Inc. (Camaro)
- 8 Jeffrey Earnhardt
- 15 Macy Waltrip
- StarCom Racing (Impala)
- 00 Greg Biffle, Joey Gase
- Front Row Motorsports (Mustang)
- 34 Michael McDowell
- 38 David Ragan
- Go FAS Racing (Lincoln Continental)
- 32 Matt DiBenedetto
- Roush Fenway Racing (Roush Mustang)
- 6 Trevor Bayne, Matt Kenseth
- 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
- 97 Carl Edwards
- Wood Brothers Racing (Shelby GT500)
- 21 Paul Menard
- Rick Ware Racing (Lincoln Continental)
- 51 Justin Marks, Harrison Rhodes, Cole Custer, Timmy Hill, Cody Ware
- Junior Johnson Racing (Mustang)
- 27 BJ McCleod (R)
- Kenny Bernstein Racing (Lincoln Continental)
- 26 Harrison Rhodes (R)
Toyota (Only Fields Camry)
- BK Racing
- 73 Gray Gaulding
- 83 Robert Richardson Jr.
- 84 Amber Lucky
- Joe Gibbs Racing
- 11 Denny Hamlin
- 18 Kyle Busch
- 19 Daniel Suarez
- 20 Erik Jones
- 81 Ryan Preece (R)
- Team Penske (Charger)
- 02 Ryan Blaney
- 2 Brad Keselowski
- 22 Joey Logano
- Richard Petty Motorsports (Challenger)
- 43 Darrell Wallace Jr. (R)
- 44 Billy Johnson
- Evernham Motorsports (Charger)
- 93 Kasey Kahne
- Chip Ganassi Racing (Challenger)
- 1 Jamie McMurray
- 39 Bryan Clauson
- 42 Kyle Larson
- Orange County Racing (Accord)
- 86 Jed Thomas
- 90 Luke George
- Doug Yates Racing (Civic)
- 28 Elliott Sadler
- Leavine Family Racing (Accord)
- 95 Ryan Reed
BMW (Only Fields M3)
- Furniture Row Racing
- 78 Martin Truex Jr.
- Team Ohio
- 64 Kelly Walker
- 65 Rodney Clay
- Germain Racing
- 13 Ty Dillon
- Delma Cowart Racing
- 0 Noah Howe (R)
- 100 Chris Vallely (R)
- Travis Carter Racing
- 23 Ben Rhodes (R)
Nissan (Only Fields Sentra)
- MAG Incorporated
- 58 Lyle White
- 59 Bill Fuller
- 71 Randall Parker
- 77 Randy Norton (R)
- Stash Motorsports
- 91 Bo Abraham
- 92 Beau Philips
- Cale Yarborough Racing
- 98 Simon Stevens (R)
Buick (Only Fields Regal)
- Bobby Allison Racing
- 12 Dakoda Armstrong
- 152 Clint Bowyer
- 153 Alvin Shields (R)
- Rossi Racing
- 50 BJ Fisher
- 53 Tyson Golston
Cadillac (Only Fields CTS-V)
- Red Tiger Motorsports
- 170 Tracy Johnson
- Tri-Star Motorsports
- 58 Stephen Leicht
- 67 Landon Cassill
- 72 Corey LaJoie, Cole Whitt
- Premium Motorsports
- 16 Ross Chastain
- Beard Motorsports (Impala)
- 62 Brendan Gaughan
- StarCom Racing (Gen-6 Chevrolet SS)
- 99 Derrike Cope, Garrett Smithley
- Stewart-Haas Racing (Camaro)
- 98 Cole Custer
- Team Hiromi (Impala)
- 63 Kyle Clayton
- Premium Motorsports (Camaro)
- 7 Danica Patrick
- Richard Childress Racing (Impala)
- 81 Daniel Hemric
- Hendrick Motorsports (Camaro)
- 94 Bill Elliott
- JTG Daugherty Racing (Impala)
- 74 Tyler Reddick
- RBR Enterprises (Lincoln Continental)
- 92 David Gilliland, Timothy Peters
- Gonzalez Bros. Racing (Lincoln Continental)
- 186 Chip Simpson
- 199 Jon Hamilton
- Espnoza Racing (Mustang)
- 139 Michael Fernandez
- 177 Walt Espnoza
- 198 Dave Hawkins
- MBM Motorsports (Challenger)
- 66 Mark Thompson, Chad Finchum, Timmy Hill
- Goode Racing (Charger)
- 40 Katrina Goode
- 45 Skip Garrett
- 46 Jackson Zimm
- Circle Sport Racing (Challenger)
- 33 Alex Kennedy, Alon Day, Timmy Hill
- Brian Keselowski Racing (Charger)
- 29 Brian Keselowski
- Rusty Wallace Racing (Charger)
- 66 Steve Wallace
- Gaunt Brothers Racing (Civic)
- 96 DJ Kennington, Parker Kligerman
- DRK Racing
- 182 Tyler Ferris
- 300 Kip Branch
- MAG Incorporated
- 56 Woody Irving
- Team Marmalade
- 176 Jake Mitchell
- Ken Schrader Racing
- 52 Ken Schrader
- NY Racing Team
- 7 JJ Yeley
- Premium Motorsports
- 7 DJ Kennington, Jimmy Means
- 55 Joey Gase, Reed Sorenson, JJ Yeley, Timmy Hill
- Faith Motorsports
- 89 Morgan Shepherd
- Team Penske will expand to a three-car team with the addition of Ryan Blaney in the No. 02, previously with Wood Brothers Racing in the No. 21 in 2017.
- On August 29, 2017, Hendrick Motorsports announced that the current No. 24 team driven by Chase Elliott would be changing to the No. 9 team, while the No. 5 would become the new No. 24 team to be driven by rookie William Byron, and the current No. 88 team, driven by Alex Bowman, would become the No. 70 team for 2018, similar to how Hendrick changed the No. 25 team to No. 50 for 1998. The team will become the No. 25 in 2019, and bore that number in the Busch Clash.
- Furniture Row Racing will downsize from a two car team to a one car team, shutting down the No. 77 team as sponsor 5-Hour Energy moves to the No. 78 team.
- On September 25, 2017, it was announced that a new Chevrolet team, StarCom Racing, would open and run the No. 00 car full-time, with driver Derrike Cope, moving from Premium Motorsports. Cope was planning to drive the majority of the 2018 schedule with other drivers possibly running races, however, Greg Biffle was later announced as the driver for the season. Cope will instead run a second car later in the season, the No. 99 Chevrolet SS (the same Frankenstein's Gen-6-SSC hybrid the team ran in two races in 2017). After Fontana, Biffle and StarCom mutually agreed to part ways. Joey Gase would take over the 00 for Martinsville, Rockingham, Bristol, Richmond and possibly the rest of the season. The No. 99 would debut with Cope at the first Dover race of the season.
- On November 22, 2017, Rick Ware Racing announced an expansion from a 30-race part-time team to a full-time team for Ray Black Jr., and a part-time team for Cody Ware, Kyle Weatherman, BJ McCleod and John Graham. However, before the season began, the deal with Black fell through. RWR has instead fielded the No. 51 for several drivers, including Justin Marks, Cole Custer, Harrison Rhodes, Timmy Hill, Cody Ware, and BJ McCleod.
- On December 12, 2017, it was announced that Circle Sport Racing and The Motorsports Group, who became one team in 2017, parted ways. Both teams will field a car for 2018. Circle Sport will continue with the No. 33, but Jeffrey Earnhardt was released after signing with his uncle's team, Dale Earnhardt Inc. Both teams will have different drivers and sponsors.
- On January 17, 2018, it was announced that RBR Enterprises will join the Cup series and will field the No. 92 Lincoln Continental to attempt the Daytona 500 with David Gilliland behind the wheel. The team spent the past eight seasons competing 79 races in the Truck series.
- On January 22, 2018, it was announced that Gaunt Brothers Racing will return to the Daytona 500 with DJ Kennington driving the No. 96 Honda Civic Type-R. The team entered the spring ISM Raceway race, which would be their first appearance on a non- restrictor track.
- On January 23, 2018, Richard Childress Racing announced that it will downsize to two full-time teams and one part-time team for 2018, the No. 27 team will be renumbered as the No. 81 and it will run two races with Daniel Hemric.
- On April 25, 2018, Roush Fenway Racing announced that Matt Kenseth will reunite with RFR and will share the #6 car with Trevor Bayne for the 2018 season in preparation for Kenseth to drive a fourth Roush Ford, the #60, for 2019, his final season, to "warm up the seat" for PrimeStar Series driver Kaz Grala to drive starting in 2020.
- In another "Great Team Boom", Delma Cowart, Junior Johnson, Cale Yarborough, Kenny Bernstein, and Travis Carter all resurrected their respective teams; this was a move in anticipation of Chrysler, Kia, Porsche, Hyundai, and Jaguar entering NASCAR. Cowart will field Aston Martins, Johnson will field Kias, Bernstein will field Porsches, Carter will field Jaguars, and Yarborough will field Chryslers.
- On April 25, 2017, Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced that he would retire from full-time racing. On July 20, 2017, his nephew Jeffrey Earnhardt was announced as his full-time replacement. Earnhardt Jr. will remain as team owner.
- On July 11, 2017, it was announced that Erik Jones will be replacing Matt Kenseth in the No. 20 car for Joe Gibbs Racing. On November 4, 2017, Kenseth announced he would be stepping away from full-time racing and will not compete in any 2018 events. On April 25, 2018, it was announced that Kenseth would drive the No. 6 part-time along with Trevor Bayne for Roush Fenway Racing.
- On July 26, 2017, it was announced that Paul Menard will replace Ryan Blaney in the No. 21 car for Wood Brothers Racing.
- On August 1, 2017, it was announced that Kurt Busch will become a free agent after driving the No. 41 car for Stewart-Haas Racing. However, on December 11, 2017, it was announced that Busch had re-signed with Stewart-Haas Racing on a 1-year deal.
- On August 7, 2017, it was announced that Kasey Kahne would be leaving the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports car at the end of 2017. On August 8, 2017, it was announced that William Byron was named as his full-time replacement in the renumbered No. 24 car and will be running for Rookie of the Year honors. On September 19, 2017, it was announced that Kahne would be returning to Evernham Motorsports, driving the No. 93 Dodge Charger.
- On September 12, 2017, Danica Patrick announced that she would not be returning to Stewart-Haas Racing and returning to IndyCar in 2018. Later that day, Richard Petty Motorsports announced that Aric Almirola would not be returning to the No. 43 team in 2018. On October 25, 2017, Richard Petty Motorsports announced that Darrell Wallace Jr. would drive the No. 43 and compete for Rookie of the Year Honors. In 2017, Wallace Jr. was going to run the full NASCAR PrimeStar Series schedule driving the No. 6 Ford Roush Mustang for Roush Fenway Racing, but the team shut down in June due to a lack of sponsorship. Wallace would also drive the No. 43 in the Cup series, filling in for Almirola when he was injured in a crash at North Wilkesboro. Wallace also drove the No. 98 BMW M3 for Biagi-DenBeste Racing in the PrimeStar Series at Chicago, and the No. 99 Chevrolet Silverado for MDM Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck at Michigan.
- On September 25, 2017, Derrike Cope announced he would leave the No. 55 car of Premium Motorsports to drive the new No. 00 for StarCom Racing. Cope also serves as Team Manager, and the team will run the full schedule after securing a charter and Cope will drive the majority of the schedule.
- On October 10, 2017, Front Row Motorsports announced that Landon Cassill would not return to drive the teams No. 34 entry in 2018. On December 14, 2017, it has been confirmed that Michael McDowell will drive full-time in the No. 34, and David Ragan is returning to FRM in the No. 38.
- On November 8, 2017, Stewart-Haas Racing announced that Aric Almirola would take over the No. 10 Ford full-time in 2018, replacing Danica Patrick.
- On November 15, 2017, it was announced that Danica Patrick would be returning to IndyCar. She plans to race in the 2018 Daytona 500 before making the return.
- On November 22, 2017, it was announced that Ray Black Jr. would compete full-time and challenge for Rookie of the Year with Rick Ware Racing's No. 51 entry. RWR also announced a part-time No. 52 team with drivers Cody Ware, Kyle Weatherman, BJ McCleod and John Graham. However, in early February, it was announced that Justin Marks would drive the No. 51 in the Daytona 500, even though Ray Black Jr. was announced as the full-time driver. It is rumored that the deal fell through. Marks, Cole Custer, Harrison Rhodes, Timmy Hill, Cody Ware, and BJ McCleod all made starts in the car.
- On January 30, 2018, StarCom Racing signed Greg Biffle to drive its chartered No. 00 Chevrolet for the season. Biffle replaces Derrike Cope, who will remain as team manager and also will drive a second car for the team later in the year. Biffle previously drove for Stewart-Haas Racing full-time in 2017. After the first 5 races, Biffle was replaced by Landon Cassill. Joey Gase was later announced as the driver for Talladega.
- On February 5, 2018, TriStar Motorsports announced that Corey LaJoie would split the chartered No. 72 team with Cole Whitt, with sponsorship from Schluter Systems. LaJoie previously drove for BK Racing's Nos. 23 and 83 in most of the races in 2017.
- On March 20, 2018, Richard Childress Racing announced that Daniel Hemric would drive a part-time No. 81 car in the Cup Series during the Richmond spring race and the new Fairgrounds Speedway race.
- On August 2, 2018, it was announced that Bill Elliott would drive a fifth Hendrick Motorsports Chevy, the No. 94, during the Tokyo and Homestead races, in addition to driving the No. 23 Chevrolet Camaro for GMS Racing during the PrimeStar Series race at Road America.
The final schedule – comprising 37 races, as well as exhibition races, which are the Busch Clash, Can-Am Duels qualifying duel races for the Daytona 500, the All-Star Race, and the Daytona Late Model Classic – was released on May 23, 2017. Key changes from 2017 include:
- The Daytona 500 is held one week earlier. As a result of this, all races from Atlanta until Talladega (spring), and also Motegi and Tokyo in June will move one week earlier than 2017.
- The Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway will move from Sunday afternoon to Saturday night due to attendance issues.
- The AAA 400 Drive for Autism will move after the GEICO 500 and before the Tyson Holly Farms 400. Due to Daytona moving a week earlier, Dover was forced to move to May, similar to 2016 and (some) years before that when Daytona was on Presidents Day Weekend.
- The Overton's 400 at Chicagoland Speedway which moved back to July before the Coke Zero Sugar 400. That means the Coke Zero Sugar 400, Quaker State 400 and Foxwoods Casino Resort 301 will move one week later than 2017.
- The 25th Annual Big Machine Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will move to September while the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway will move to later in the month.
- The Fall Charlotte race will be replaced by a revival of the Music City USA 420 at Fairgrounds Speedway. That means the Dover 400 at Dover International Speedway will move one week later. Originally, this weekend would stay at Charlotte Motor Speedway and use the "roval", but Tim Johnson rejected it for "cheating" in terms of adding another road course.
- In broadcasting changes, an additional off week in June was added for the Father's Day weekend between Tokyo and Sonoma so that WBC won't have to compete with the US Open and the 2018 FIFA World Cup (it will instead show a marathon of reruns of old NASCAR races). The third off week will be after Bristol's August race.
|1||Harley-Davidson 250||Road America, Lake Elkhart||WBC|
|Busch Clash||Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach||WBC|
|Can-Am Duel||Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach||WBC|
|2||Daytona 500||Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach||WBC|
|3||Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500||Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton||Fox|
|4||Pennzoil 400||Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas||Fox|
|5||TicketGuardian 500||ISM Raceway, Avondale||Fox|
|6||Auto Club 400||Auto Club Speedway, Fontana||Fox|
|7||STP 500||Martinsville Speedway, Ridgeway||FS1|
|8||Chevron 400||Rockingham Speedway, Rockingham||WBC|
|9||Food City 500||Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol||Fox|
|10||Toyota Owners 400||Richmond Raceway, Richmond||Fox|
|11||GEICO 500||Talladega Superspeedway, Lincoln||WBC|
|12||AAA 400 Drive for Autism||Dover International Speedway, Dover||FS1|
|13||Tyson Holly Farms 400||North Wilkesboro Speedway, North Wilkesboro||WBC|
|Panasonic Open||Charlotte Motor Speedway, Charlotte||FS1|
|NASCAR Panasonic All-Star Race||Charlotte Motor Speedway, Charlotte||FS1|
|14||Coca-Cola World 600||Charlotte Motor Speedway, Charlotte||WBC|
|15||Motegi 400||Twin Ring Motegi, Motegi||WBC|
|16||Tokyo 500||Tokyo Superspeedway, Tama||WBC|
|17||Toyota/Save Mart 350||Sonoma Raceway, Sonoma||WBC|
|18||Overton's 400||Chicagoland Speedway, Joliet||NBC|
|Daytona Late Model Classic||Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach||WBC|
|19||Coke Zero Sugar 400||Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach||Fox|
|20||Quaker State 400 Presented by Advanced Auto Parts||Kentucky Speedway, Sparta||NBC|
|21||Foxwoods Resort Casino 301||New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon||NBCSN, WBC|
|22||Gander Outdoors 400||Pocono Raceway, Long Pond||WBC|
|23||Go Bowling at the Glen||Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen||WBC|
|24||Consumer Energy 400||Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn||WBC|
|25||Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race||Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol||NBC|
|26||Southern 500||Darlington Raceway, Darlington||WBC|
|27||Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard||Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Speedway||WBC|
|28||Ralph Breaks the Internet 400||Walt Disney World Speedway, Lake Buena Vista||ESPN|
|29||Federated Auto Parts 400||Richmond Raceway, Richmond||NBC|
|30||Music City USA 420||Fairgrounds Speedway, Nashville||WBC|
|31||Dover 400||Dover International Speedway, Dover||NBC|
|32||1000Bulbs.com 500||Talladega Superspeedway, Lincoln||WBC|
|33||Hollywood Casino 400||Kansas Motor Speedway, Kansas City||NBC|
|34||Iowa Corn 400||Iowa Speedway, Newton||WBC|
|35||AAA Texas 500||Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth||NBC|
|36||Neptunia 400||Tokyo Superspeedway, Tama||WBC|
|37||Ford EcoBoost 400||Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead||NBC|
Round 1: Harley-Davidson 250
Macy Waltrip won the pole. On a picture-perfect day compared to last year, Jeffrey Earnhardt, in his first start with DEI, scored his first career win. To start NASCAR's 70th anniversary, Tim Johnson himself waved the green flag, and Richard Petty was the grand marshal.
Daytona Speedweeks started with the Busch Clash. Austin Dillon drew the pole as Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski led the majority of the race. Jamie McMurray crashed and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. received a penalty. Keselowski led the last half to win over Joey Logano as Jimmie Johnson crashed after contact with Kyle Larson with Chase Elliott, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr. also getting involved.
In Daytona 500 qualifying, Alex Bowman won the pole while Denny Hamlin qualified second. Bowman won the pole for his first race since taking over the #88 car from Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2016. This was the fourth consecutive Daytona 500 pole won by Hendrick Motorsports.
In the Can-Am Duels on Thursday, Bowman was on pole for race one. In the early laps, Jimmie Johnson lost a tire and crashed along with Aric Almirola. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was moving around the entire race, but got into both William Byron and David Gilliland, taking them out. Joey Logano led the majority of laps, but was passed for the lead by Ryan Blaney as Brad Keselowski crashed with Jamie McMurray, sending the race into overtime. In overtime, Blaney held off Joey Logano and Darrell Wallace Jr. to win the first Duel. In the second Duel, Hamlin was on pole. Early in the race, Erik Jones spun and collected Kyle Larson and Matt DiBenedetto. Hamlin and Chase Elliott led most of the race. Elliott led the most laps to win his second straight Duel race over Tony Stewart.
Round 2: Daytona 500
Alex Bowman started on pole. Early on, Kyle Busch had a tire go down and had to pit. Later, Busch had another tire down and got into the wall and collected Jamie McMurray and DJ Kennington. Erik Jones spun and collected Kyle Larson, Jimmie Johnson, Daniel Suarez, William Byron, and Ty Dillon. Byron later got into the wall after having a tire go down. Brad Keselowski got into Chase Elliott and collected others including David Ragan, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, and Danica Patrick, who finished 35th in her final NASCAR race. In the closing stages, Blaney had the lead. In the closing laps, Byron again had a tire go down and spun. With two laps to go, Kurt Busch got turned around and collected Blaney, Matt DiBenedetto, Brendan Gaughan, and others, sending a Lend-Lease Infiniti M, driven by Al Unser Jr., into a barrel-roll and the race to overtime. In overtime, Aric Almirola was leading at the white flag, and tried to block Austin Dillon, but the block was late and Almirola ended up in the wall. Dillon held off Darrell Wallace Jr. and won the Daytona 500 in the #3 twenty years after Dale Earnhardt won his only 500 in 1998. The win also came seventeen years to the day of Earnhardt's death.
Round 3: Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
Kyle Busch led the field to the green flag after an hour delay from rain. Ryan Newman jumped out to an early lead, but Busch was able to reclaim the lead. After the end-of-stage caution, Newman had a tire go down and hit the wall. Close to halfway, Harvick, Kurt Busch, and Brad Keselowski all led as Jimmie Johnson spun on lap 206. In the closing stages, Harvick continued to dominate as Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano tried to win on a different strategy as the rest of the field. Late in the final stage, Trevor Bayne had an engine failure as Darrell Wallace Jr. plowed into Ricky Stenhouse Jr. trying to avoid the smoke, sending Stenhouse sliding on his roof. Harvick continued to lead and won over Keselowski for his first win at Atlanta since 2001.
Round 4: Pennzoil 400
Ryan Blaney started on pole. Kevin Harvick took the lead at the beginning and dominated the first two-thirds of the race, which ran caution-free. In the final third, Jamie McMurray got into the wall after a flat tire. Kurt Busch got loose and crashed along with Lyle White. Harvick led over 200 laps, but couldn't hold off a hard-charging Ryan Blaney, who passed him on the last lap for his second career Cup Series win, and first with Roger Penske.
Round 5: TicketGuardian 500
Martin Truex Jr. started on pole. Kyle Larson shot out to the lead early and led most of the early stages. Larson later spun on the apron. Chris Buescher had a tire go down and got into the wall. Denny Hamlin took the lead just past halfway as Paul Menard had a tire go down and got into the wall. Kyle Busch regained the lead until green flag pit stops. Brad Keselowski stayed out to stretch it out until the end, but had to pit. Tony Stewart was able to pass Chase Elliott during the green flag cycle to take the lead from Ryan Newman and hold off Kyle Busch for his first win of the season.
Round 6: Auto Club 400
Martin Truex Jr. started on pole for the second straight week. Early, Kevin Harvick got into the wall and spun through the grass after contact with Kyle Larson. David Ragan brought out the final caution as Chase Elliott was able to beat out Macy Waltrip on pit stops and pulled away from Larson for his first win of the season.
Round 7: STP 500
Martin Truex Jr. started on pole for the third straight week as qualifying was cancelled due to rain and snow. The race was postponed from Sunday to Monday due to snow. Jamie McMurray spun after contact with Austin Dillon. Tony Stewart took the lead from Ryan Blaney and dominated the remainder of the race, leading 215 laps. McMurray, Trevor Bayne, and Harrison Rhodes all had tires go down, but there was no caution. Stewart held off Kyle Busch for his second win of the season.
Round 8: Chevron 400
Kurt Busch started on pole after qualifying was cancelled just after the first heat due to rain. As soon as the race began, Alex Bowman spun and collected Aric Almirola, Austin Dillon, and Paul Menard. Early in the going, Martin Truex Jr. had a tire go down and got into the wall. Before halfway, Kyle Larson had a tire go down and he got into the wall. Early in the closing stages, Denny Hamlin spun and collected David Ragan, Brad Keselowski, and Jimmie Johnson. Menard and Ryan Newman both got into the wall. Trevor Bayne and Harvick, both with older tires, were able to stay out front and Bayne was able to hold Harvick off for his first win since the 2011 Daytona 500, and first with Roush Fenway Racing.
Round 9: Food City 500
Kyle Busch started on pole. Michael McDowell spun on the third lap and collected others including Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. The race was stopped three different times due to rain and a wreck by Lyle White. Ryan Blaney led most of the first half of the race, but was caught up in an accident while leading, ending his race. After another red flag due to rain, the remainder of the race was postponed to Monday. Once again, the race was shown on WBC in the San Francisco Bay Area (using the Fox feed) due to KTVU wanting to move the race to sister channel KICU to avoid angering viewers of The Wendy Williams Show. After a small delay due to rain, the race continued. Kyle Larson took back the lead and continued leading until spun after making contact with Ryan Newman. Kyle Busch got the lead when the caution was displayed for rain, but it was a brief yellow. On the final restart, Larson got back in the lead, and cruised to his first win of the year.
Round 10: Toyota Owners 400
Martin Truex Jr. won the pole. Joey Logano dominated the first two-thirds of the race. Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart took turned swapping the lead. Truex regained the lead and lead a race high of 121 laps. Ryan Blaney and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. got together and spun. Jamie McMurray got into the wall and made contact with Ryan Blaney, who blew up. David Ragan had a tire go down and got into the wall. Stenhouse spun again to send the race into overtime. On the restart, Chase Elliott passed Kyle Busch for his second win of the season.
Round 11: GEICO 500
Kevin Harvick started the race from the pole. Erik Jones caused a multicar wreck that collected Jamie McMurray, Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr., and Trevor Bayne. Numerous drivers experienced speeding penalties on pit road including Denny Hamlin, who was caught speeding on pit road multiple times. Late in the race, Jimmie Johnson got loose in front of teammate William Byron and caused a 14-car accident that also collected Keselowski, Menard, Clint Bowyer, Michael McDowell, Ryan Blaney, Darrell Wallace Jr., and AJ Allmendinger, a wreck that saw McDowell flip violently. Jeffrey Earnhardt led in the closing laps of the race and went to score his second career win.
Round 12: AAA 400 Drive for Autism
Kyle Larson started on pole. Michael McDowell spun and Derrike Cope crashed early as Kurt Busch led the first two-thirds of the race. Kyle Busch went to the garage after suffering a broken driveshaft. Tony Stewart was leading when the race was halted by a red flag due to rain. After the delay, Bill Fuller passed Bowyer for the lead and pulled away for his first career win, as well as Nissan's first Cup Series victory.
Round 13: Tyson Holly Farms 400
Kevin Harvick started on pole. Harvick led early, but Ryan Blaney took the lead. Kyle Larson came from the rear of the field to dominate the race, winning the second stage. Alex Bowman and Daniel Suarez got together and both got into the wall. Larson and Blaney got into each other, putting Blaney in the wall. On the restart, William Byron had a tire go down caused a wreck featuring Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, Ty Dillon, Jamie McMurray, Chris Buescher, and Matt Kenseth, competing in his first race of the year, bringing out the red flag. On the restart, Chase Elliott pulled away from the field, but Macy Waltrip was able run down Elliott to take the lead for her first win of the season.
Exhibition: NASCAR Panasonic All-Star Race
First, it was the Panasonic Open. Aric Almirola started on pole due to qualifying being rained out. Almirola led early, but Alex Bowman took the lead and won the first stage to transfer. In the second stage, Paul Menard got into the wall. Bo Abraham had the lead, but Daniel Suarez took the lead and won the second stage to transfer. Daniel Suarez led in the final stage, but Abraham got back into the lead. Alimrola and Lyle White got into each other as AJ Allmendinger took the lead and held off Abraham to win his second Open to transfer. Darrell Wallace Jr. won the fan vote for the final transfer spot.
Matt Kenseth won the pole for the race. Kurt Busch spun early as Trevor Bayne won the first stage and Chase Elliott won the second stage. In the third stage, Kasey Kahne got into the wall. Martin Truex Jr. got into Clint Bowyer and they crashed with Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, and Brad Keselowski, with Kyle Busch having the misfortune of hitting the same manhole Erik Jones hit in the Panasonic Open last year and being sent flying onto his roof. Harvick got by Daniel Suárez to win the third stage. In the final 10 laps, Harvick was out front as Kyle Larson spun after contact with Joey Logano. In a two lap shootout, Suarez bumped Harvick out of the way for his first All-Star Race win and the $1 million, becoming the first driver of Mexican descent to win at the Cup Series level.
Round 14: Coca-Cola World 600
Kyle Busch started on pole. Defending winner Austin Dillon got in the wall after having a tire go down early. Kevin Harvick got into the wall, taking him out of the race. William Byron had a tire go down and got into the wall. Jimmie Johnson spun after contact with Denny Hamlin and also sent Joey Logano spinning into that same manhole, and he, too, went flying. The red flag was shown to both clean up the crash and cover up the manhole. In the third stage, Gray Gaulding crashed and Chris Buescher spun. Kyle Larson spun and Ryan Blaney blew an engine and caught fire. Kyle Busch blew his engine on the last lap and hit the wall hard, allowing Elliott Sadler to score his first Cup Series win since 2004, as well as Honda's first Cup Series win.
Round 15: Motegi 400
Defending race winner Ryan Blaney started on pole. Blaney led early until he had a problem and had to pit, giving the lead to Martin Truex Jr. Tony Stewart got to the lead after halfway. In the closing stages, Matt DiBenedetto had brake issues and it caused a tire to catch fire as Kasey Kahne and Darrell Wallace Jr. both had transmission issues. Derrike Cope spun after contact with Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin spun and crashed into the wall after contact with Alex Bowman. On the restart, Erik Jones spun after contact with Joey Logano. On the restart, Tracy Johnson pulled away from Larson, Harvick, and Kyle Busch for his first career win, and first win for Cadillac.
Round 16: Tokyo 500
Kurt Busch started on the pole. Once again, the race broadcast was "run" by Johnson characters; this year, Yui Hirasawa (Stephanie Sheh) was replaced by Neptune (Melissa Fahn). Chase Elliott's four-win streak at Tokyo Superspeedway came to an end when his engine blew early in the going. Macy Waltrip, seeking to start a new streak, also failed to finish after being collected in a multi-car crash with Kasey Kahne and a Lend-Lease entry. The "big one" came on lap 192 involving 18 cars and sending Kelly Walker into a very violent barrell-roll. The race was red-flagged while Walker, who had blacked out from the g-forces of the flip, was cut from the car; she awoke at a local hospital, but will be replaced by John Hunter Nemechek at Sonoma, making his Cup Series debut. On the final restart, Tony Stewart passed his teammate Kevin Harvick for his fourth win of the season.
Round 17: Toyota/Save Mart 350
Kyle Larson started on pole. Erik Jones had problems early as Martin Truex Jr. led in the early stages, but pitted allowing AJ Allmendinger to take the lead just as the yellow came out for a bizarre crash involving Lyle White flipping onto the dragstrip. On the restart, Allmendinger blew an engine while Jamie McMurray went to the garage with low oil pressure. Ryan Blaney had to make several stops to fix damage. Kevin Harvick had the lead late until he decided to pit in case of a late caution. Macy Waltrip stayed out during green flag pit stops and got her second win of the season and first at Sonoma with a ten second lead over Harvick.
Round 18: Overton's 400
Paul Menard started the race on pole. Clint Bowyer led early in the race before getting two speeding penalties on pit road. Aric Almirola led the most laps the race, but had to pit under green for a loose wheel, giving the lead to Kevin Harvick. Harvick would continue to lead until losing it to Kyle Busch during a round of pit stops under caution. Kyle Busch continued to lead in the closing laps as Kyle Larson was catching him. Larson caught up to Kyle Busch on the final lap and the two made contact twice, with Kyle Busch holding on to win the race with Larson finishing second. However, shortly after the race, it was discovered that Busch had intentionally spun Larson on the last lap in retaliation for the first instance of contact, which was because Larson had gotten loose. As a result, Busch was disqualified, and Larson was awarded the win, his second of the season. Busch will be parked for the Coke Zero Sugar 400, and will be replaced by Matt Crafton.
Exhibition: Daytona Late Model Classic
The second edition of the 60-lap feature, Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the win in his first NASCAR race since the 2017 Ford EcoBoost 400.
Round 19: Coke Zero Sugar 400
Chase Elliott started on pole. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. dominated much of the race. Paul Menard got turned and into the grass, going airborne and flipping wildly. Brad Keselowski got turned around and collected Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Elliott, and others. Matt Crafton, filling in for Kyle Busch after he was parked for intentionally wrecking Kyle Larson the previous week, got turned into William Byron and also involved Jamie McMurray. In the closing stages, Larson got turned into Stenhouse. Jimmie Johnson was leading until he received a penalty on pit road. Stenhouse had a tire go down and spun, ending his chance of back-to-back wins. On the restart, Aric Almirola lost a wheel and crashed along with Michael McDowell and Johnson. In overtime, Kevin Harvick took the lead from Kasey Kahne, but Clint Bowyer spun and collected Harvick, Bill Fuller, and others. On the second restart of overtime, Erik Jones drove past former teammate Martin Truex Jr. to score his second career win, and first with Joe Gibbs Racing.
Round 20: Quaker State 400
Martin Truex Jr. started on pole. Truex dominated by leading the most laps. Alex Bowman had a tire go down and got into the wall and JJ Yeley lost an engine. Teammates Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson suffered mechanical problems. Truex couldn't hold off a charging Ryan Blaney, who took the checkers for his second win of the season.
Round 21: Foxwood Resort Casino 301
Kurt Busch started on pole. The start of the race was delayed due to rain, and ultimately had to be moved to WBC (since the fiasco of the 2016 AAA Texas 500, WBC has always kept its broadcasting team on standby; as it was short-notice, all NBC logos were literally covered with construction paper). Busch dominated the majority of the race. AJ Allmendinger got into the wall, ending his day. Martin Truex Jr. took the lead. Chase Elliott took the lead from Truex past halfway. Tony Stewart got into the wall and went to the garage. Kyle Busch had the lead late, but Aric Almirola moved Busch to take the lead and get his first career win.
Round 22: Gander Outdoors 400
Kevin Harvick originally won the pole. Thirteen cars including Harvick failed post-qualifying inspection, disallowing their times and forcing them to start in the back, thus Daniel Suarez won the pole. A few had tire problems including Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, and Brad Keselowski. Keselowski got into the wall, sending him to the garage. Darrell Wallace Jr. lost his brakes and hit the wall hard at a high rate of speed, resulting in a red flag. On the restart, Aric Almirola spun after contact with Matt DiBenedetto, sending the race to overtime. Kyle Busch couldn't hold off Daniel Suarez, who got his first career win.
Round 23: Go Bowling at the Glen
Denny Hamlin started on pole. Aric Almirola got into the wall early and Joey Logano spun and went to the garage. Martin Truex Jr. led the early laps. Chase Elliott dominated the second half of the race. Ryan Newman spun and Jimmie Johnson spun after contact with AJ Allmendinger. Martin Truex Jr. caught Elliott, but ran out of fuel which allowed Chase Elliott to get the win.
Round 24: Consumers Energy 400
Chase Elliott started on pole. He led the early laps. Kevin Harvick dominated most of the race before a costly pit stop for a loose window net cost him any chance of winning. Chase Elliott and Alvin Shields battled for the lead in the final laps before Shields ran out of fuel on the last lap. Elliott looked like he would win, before he and Austin Dillon battled neck-and-neck going into turn 3. Dillon won the race in one of the closest finishes in NASCAR history, even resulting in broadcaster Ken Squier initially declaring Elliott the winner, before a slow-motion clip was played, which resulted in Squier, Ned Jarrett, and Wally Dallenbach, Jr. declaring Austin Dillon the winner.
Round 25: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race
Kyle Larson started on pole. Ryan Blaney dominated the race until his engine blew out with 10 laps to go. Macy Waltrip and Kurt Busch battled for the lead until Busch, with Tony Stewart's help, overtook Waltrip to win the race.
Round 26: Southern 500
Denny Hamlin started on pole. Kyle Larson dominated before settling for third. In a close finish, Brad Keselowski won the race with Joey Logano, his teammate, in second.
Round 27: Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard
Kyle Busch started on the pole. The race was rained out and postponed to Monday.
|No.||Race||Pole Position||Most Laps Led||Winning Driver||Manufacturer/Model|
|1||Harley-Davidson 250||Macy Waltrip||Jeffrey Earnhardt||Jeffrey Earnhardt||Chevrolet Camaro|
|Busch Clash||Austin Dillon||Brad Keselowski||Brad Keselowski||Dodge Charger|
|Can-Am Duel 1||Alex Bowman||Joey Logano||Ryan Blaney||Dodge Charger|
|Can-Am Duel 2||Denny Hamlin||Chase Elliott||Chase Elliott||Chevrolet Camaro|
|2||Daytona 500||Alex Bowman||Ryan Blaney||Austin Dillon||Chevrolet Impala|
|3||Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500||Kyle Busch||Kevin Harvick||Kevin Harvick||Chevrolet Camaro|
|4||Pennzoil 400||Ryan Blaney||Kevin Harvick||Ryan Blaney||Dodge Charger|
|5||Ticket Guardian 500||Martin Truex Jr.||Kyle Busch||Tony Stewart||Chevrolet Camaro|
|6||Auto Club 400||Martin Truex Jr.||Martin Truex Jr.||Chase Elliott||Chevrolet Camaro|
|7||STP 500||Martin Truex Jr.||Tony Stewart||Tony Stewart||Chevrolet Camaro|
|8||Chevron 400||Kurt Busch||Kyle Busch||Trevor Bayne||Ford Roush Mustang|
|9||Food City 500||Kyle Busch||Kyle Larson||Kyle Larson||Dodge Challenger|
|10||Toyota Owners 400||Martin Truex Jr.||Joey Logano||Chase Elliott||Chevrolet Camaro|
|11||GEICO 500||Kevin Harvick||Joey Logano||Jeffrey Earnhardt||Chevrolet Camaro|
|12||AAA 400 Drive for Autism||Kyle Larson||Kevin Harvick||Bill Fuller||Nissan Sentra|
|13||Tyson Holly Farms 400||Kevin Harvick||Kyle Larson||Macy Waltrip||Chevrolet Camaro|
|Panasonic Open||Aric Almirola||Daniel Suarez||AJ Allmendinger||Chevrolet Impala|
|NASCAR Panasonic All-Star Race||Matt Kenseth||Kevin Harvick||Daniel Suarez||Toyota Camry|
|14||Coca-Cola World 600||Kyle Busch||Kyle Busch||Elliott Sadler||Civic Type-R|
|15||Motegi 400||Ryan Blaney||Kevin Harvick||Tracey Johnson||Cadillac CTS-V|
|16||Tokyo 500||Kurt Busch||Kevin Harvick||Tony Stewart||Chevrolet Camaro|
|17||Toyota/Save Mart 350||Kyle Larson||Martin Truex Jr.||Macy Waltrip||Chevrolet Camaro|
|18||Overton's 400||Paul Menard||Aric Almirola||Kyle Larson||Dodge Challenger|
|Daytona Late Model Classic||Darrell Waltrip||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS|
|19||Coke Zero Sugar 400||Chase Elliott||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Erik Jones||Toyota Camry|
|20||Quaker State 400||Martin Truex Jr.||Martin Truex Jr.||Ryan Blaney||Dodge Charger|
|21||Foxwood Resort Casino 301||Kurt Busch||Kurt Busch||Aric Almirola||Chevrolet Camaro|
|22||Gander Outdoors 400||Daniel Suarez||Kyle Busch||Daniel Suarez||Toyota Camry|
|23||Go Bowling at the Glen||Denny Hamlin||Chase Elliott||Chase Elliott||Chevrolet Camaro|
|24||Consumers Energy 400||Denny Hamlin||Kevin Harvick||Austin Dillon||Chevrolet Impala|
|25||Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race||Kyle Larson||Ryan Blaney||Kurt Busch||Chevrolet Camaro|
|26||Southern 500||Denny Hamlin||Kyle Larson||Brad Keselowski||Dodge Charger|
|27||Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard||Kyle Busch||
|Brad Keselowski||Dodge Charger|