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NASCAR’s ‘old farts’ dominating ‘young lions’ in early season

Updated March 29, 2018 - 12:06 pm

Remember when the NASCAR season started and a big marketing campaign was launched around its so-called “young lions?” And Kyle Busch of Las Vegas complained that stock car racing’s old farts needed a little promotional love for their sponsors, too?

(Busch really didn’t say old farts. I believe he said “older guys who have paid our dues.” But it’s easier just to say old farts.)

With NASCAR taking a rare weekend off, it’s a good time to analyze how the young lions stack up against the old farts in season points after six races:

SHORT DESCRIPTION (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

— 1. Kyle Busch (old fart)

— 2. Martin Truex Jr. (old fart)

— 3. Ryan Blaney (young lion)

— 4. Joey Logano (old fart)

— 5. Brad Keselowski (old fart)

— 6. Denny Hamlin (old fart)

— 7. Kevin Harvick (old fart)

— 8. Clint Bowyer (old fart)

— 9. Kyle Larson (part old fat, part young lion)

— 10. Kurt Busch (old fart)

According to my lap chart, that’s eight old farts, one young lion and one part old fart/part young lion. Kyle Larson is only 25, but you still could put him with the old farts, because he has been around awhile and NASCAR wasn’t exactly tooting his horn during the run-up to Daytona, either.

Other than Blaney, the only young lions within shouting distance of the Top 1o are Erik Jones in 12th, Daytona 500 winner Austin Dillon in 13th and Alex Bowman in 14th. Fan favorite Chase Elliott stands a distant 18th and trails points leader Kyle Busch by 142 points, which seems like a lot of points even this early.

Overnight sensation Bubba Wallace, who finished second at Daytona, is in 23rd place.

Kevin Harvick has won three of the first six races. The 2014 series champion predicted during his winning streak that the next time the young lions would roar would be at the next level-the-playing-field restrictor plate race, at Talladega Superspeedway on April 29.

Y’all should listen to your elders.

Green, white, checkered

— Doug Hamm set a track record in qualifying and won the 35-lap feature in NASCAR Modifieds, highlighting Saturday’s action at the blustery Las Vegas Motor Speedway Bullring. It was Hamm’s 48th career win at the 3/8ths-mile oval. Jimmy Parker Jr. and Tyler Fabozzi set the pace in twin NASCAR Super Late Models features. Racing returns to The Bullring April 14 when the Canadian-based North American Big Rig Racing series kicks off its 2018 season.

— Noah Gragson didn’t follow up his October NASCAR Truck Series victory at Martinsville Speedway with another one in Monday’s snow-delayed race but finished a respectable fifth. The Las Vegas teenager is also fifth in season points. The Xfinity Series didn’t race in Virginia’s winter wonderland, so Las Vegan Spencer Gallagher remains seventh in the early season standings with zero starts or finishes outside the top 15 heading into next weekend’s stop at Texas Motor Speedway.

— Dale Earnhardt Jr., on Kyle Busch: “The sport needs people like Kyle. We can’t have 40 Captain Americas out there competing against each other. You gotta have a Batman, you gotta have a Robin, you gotta have a Superman, you gotta have a Joker. You gotta have all of that to create storylines and create rivalries.” Junior, a man of many interests, also gave two thumbs up to the musical documentary “Searching for Sugar Man.” Couldn’t agree more.

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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