Rookie Stripe: Five Things to Know About the 2019 NASCAR Season

Photo credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
February might be the type of month that has some people bundled deep inside a thermal down jacket, hiding from the frosty frigidness of the waning winter. But for NASCAR fans, February marks more than just a dwindling season of weather. It’s a spark of something hot, and something loud. It’s the sweltering start of what promises to be a year of blazing fast racing.

It’s NASCAR season.

The 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup schedule has begun with speedy swagger as it usually does, but with some notable changes this year. Rookies should know that the NASCAR season starts each February (and lasts through November), the longest season in professional sports. Though the season stretched out ahead of them is long with races almost every weekend, drivers with a full-time ride in 2019 are already in cutthroat competition to see who will lead the pack to a championship berth.

As rookies we’re still learning the sport. But it helps to have talking points to drop into conversation with your NASCAR-obsessed buddies while wearing your favorite driver t-shirt, so here you go.

You’re welcome.

What to know about the 2019 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup season as a rookie fan:

1. There is a new rules package. NASCAR likes to shake up its rules from year to year, and 2019 is no exception. The rules package that the sport’s governing body used during the 2018 All-Star race resulted in better racing and less dominance by a single car, so they’ve brought it back permanently in 2019. On tracks longer than 1.2 miles cars will be forced to go slower as those races use engines where air flow creates 550 horsepower. That’s 200 horsepower less than in 2018, and helps keep the leader from breaking away from the pack. The notable exception to the rule is the first race of the season, the Daytona 500, which will have 400 horsepower and restrictor plates. Read more.
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2. Drivers can no longer adjust the track bar from inside the car. Pit crews have to make the adjustment, as they did in seasons past, prior to the implementation of the driver-adjustable track bar. What is a track bar?

3. Some drivers have shifted teams. Just like we do in our own careers, NASCAR drivers want to be with a team who supports them, positions them to win and gives them the tools to be a champion. Drivers shift teams every year. This year is no exception. Daniel Suarez has moved to the No. 41 for Stewart Haas Racing, Ryan Newman has moved to the No. 6 for Roush Fenway and Kurt Busch has moved to the No. 1 for Ganassi Racing.

4. There are new sponsors. Sponsors are an imperative part of NASCAR and without their cash flow, teams and the sport couldn’t race. Sponsorships vary from year to year and sponsors may opt to sponsor only one race, or a few races, or the whole season, depending on their contract. A big sponsorship change in 2019 is Ally Bank, who becomes the full-time (full season) sponsor of the No. 48 driven by Jimmie Johnson.

5. And of course, there is a new rookie class. 2019 rookies include Daniel Hemric (No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet), Ryan Preece (No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet), Matt Tifft (No. 36 Front Row Motorsports Ford) and Tanner Berryhill (No. 97 Obaika Racing Toyota). Wear that stripe proudly, guys.

Who’s your bet for 2019 Sunoco Rookie of the Year?

Photo Credit: Lisa Janine Cloud for Skirts and Scuffs

Rookie Stripe: Five Things to Know About the 2019 NASCAR Season Rookie Stripe: Five Things to Know About the 2019 NASCAR Season Reviewed by Logan Stewart on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 Rating: 5