2019 NASCAR Panasonic Cup Series (Johnsonverse)

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Noah Howe, the 2019 series champion.

The 2019 NASCAR Panasonic Cup Series was the 71st season of professional stock car racing in the United States, and the 48th modern-era NASCAR Cup series season. The season began at Road America with the Harley-Davidson 250 on January 27, 2019, followed by Daytona International Speedway with the Busch Clash, the Can-Am Duel qualifying races and the 61st running of the Daytona 500. The season ended with the PrimeStar 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on November 17, 2019. Macy Waltrip entered the season as the defending champion. Noah Howe won the championship, becoming the first rookie to ever do so in the Cup Series, as well as the youngest driver in the Cup Series to win the championship at 18 years, 11 months, and eight days, while Delma Cowart won the owner's championship. Chevrolet clinched the Manufacturer's Championship at the Iowa Corn 400 with 18 wins; Dodge had a breakout year with 11 wins, Toyota had 8 wins, returnee Aston Martin made a big statement with 5 wins, Jaguar had a win at Las Vegas, also returning, and in an incredible upset, Ford only managed a single win, ironically with a model that was discontinued before the season began; Nissan won the Busch Clash, while Honda, BMW, Cadillac, Kia, Buick, Lincoln, Audi, Maserati, Porsche, and Hyundai all went winless (though Honda, BMW, Buick, and Porsche picked up many top-tens); Oldsmobile, Plymouth, Mercury, Pontiac, Studebaker, and Geyser did not declare eligibility for the Manufacturer's Champion, instead entering four races each to collect data for their returns in 2020 (though a Plymouth Superbird led the most laps at Rockingham in February, and would have won had it not been for aerodynamic instability caused by debris off of Kyle Busch's car causing a violent accident).

It is the fifth season of the current 10-year television contract with Fox Sports, NBC Sports, and WBC Sports, and the fourth of a five-year race sanctioning agreement with all tracks.

It was the first season in which the Cup Series has raced at Lucas Oil Speedway (replacing the August Bristol race), Nazareth Speedway (falling on the former Father's Day off-weekend), The Milwaukee Mile (replacing the September Richmond race), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Complex (replacing the October Dover race), and Brands Hatch in Kent, England (falling on the former August off-weekend), marking the first international points-paying Cup Series race since 1958. The Brands Hatch, Mid-Ohio, and Nazareth races will be broadcast by WBC (Nazareth has been owned and operated by Johnson Industries (Johnsonverse) since 2003), while the remainder will remain on NBC. This season will be the first time the season finale will have been held at Atlanta since 2000; Rockingham will host the third race on the schedule, after the Daytona 500 as it was from 1987 to 2001, with its old spot in the schedule occupied by Homestead-Miami.

In addition, this season saw Audi, Hyundai, and Kia enter NASCAR competition with the A7, Aslan and Optima, respectively; it will also see the return of Porsche (with the Boxster and 991), which last competed in NASCAR in 1954, Jaguar (with the XE), which last competed in 1956, Aston Martin (with the DB11 Superleggera), which entered an unknown model in 1953, and Johnson-owned Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Plymouth, Mercury, Studebaker, and Geyser (with a company-owned Grand Prix, Cutlass, Roadrunner, Cyclone, Commander, and Hawk entering four races to collect data for a full comeback in 2020; Pontiac plans to field both the Grand Prix and Firebird in Cup, Busch, AutoZone, K&N, and ARCA competition, with Oldsmobile, Plymouth and Mercury doing the same), which entered multiple models between 1959 and 2004, 1949 and 1994, 1949 and 1974, the 1950s and the 1980s, 1950 and 1962, and 2000 and 2006, respectively. In addition, Toyota will begin fielding a second model, the Avalon, and Chrysler will field a third model, the Maserati GranTurismo, marking the first time a grand tourer has been used in NASCAR. Chevrolet and Ford will replace the Impala and Taurus with the Malibu and Lincoln Continental, respectively. Lincoln had run in NASCAR from 1949 to 1957.

2019 also saw NASCAR introduce the Summer Shootout, which will see Cup, Busch, and SuperTruck drivers competing in SSCs via a fan vote. The first Summer Shootout was raced at Pikes Peak International Raceway.

Teams and drivers

Complete schedule

Chevrolet

  • Hendrick Motorsports (Camaro)
    • 5 Alex Bowman
    • 9 Chase Elliott
    • 24 William Byron
    • 48 Jimmie Johnson
  • JTG Daugherty Racing (Malibu)
    • 37 Chris Buescher
    • 47 Ryan Reed
  • Richard Childress Racing (Malibu)
    • 3 Austin Dillon
    • 29 Daniel Hemric (R)
  • Stewart-Haas Racing (Camaro)
    • 4 Kevin Harvick
    • 10 Aric Almirola
    • 14 Tony Stewart
    • 41 Daniel Suárez
  • Dale Earnhardt Inc. (Camaro)
    • 8 Jeffrey Earnhardt
    • 15 Macy Waltrip
    • 146 Michael Annett
  • StarCom Racing (Malibu)
    • 99 Ralph Higgins (R)
  • Phoenix Racing (Camaro)
    • 09 Scott Heckert (R)
    • 50 Brian Vickers
    • 67 Brennan Newberry (R)
    • 74 Manny Brown (R)
  • Premium Motorsports with Scuderia Corsa (Camaro)
    • 158 Ross Chastain
  • Timber Racing (Malibu)
    • 125 Rachel Bolan (R)
    • 128 Robert Sheehan (R)
    • 138 Robert Lord (R)
  • Plucked Feathers Motorsports (Malibu)
    • 134 Chris Hanson (R)
  • Spire Motorsports (Camaro)
    • 178 Jamie McMurray, Garrett Smithley, Reed Sorenson, Quin Houff (R), DJ Kennington, Justin Haley, TBA

Ford

  • Front Row Motorsports (Mustang)
    • 34 Michael McDowell
    • 36 Lorne Roth (R)
    • 38 David Ragan
  • Go FAS Racing (Taurus, Mustang)
    • 32 Matt DiBenedetto
  • Roush Fenway Racing (Roush Mustang)
    • 6 Ryan Newman
    • 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
    • 99 Carl Edwards
  • Wood Brothers Racing (Shelby GT500)
    • 21 Paul Menard
  • Brown Hornet Racing (Mustang)
    • 164 Hal Dixon (R)

Toyota

  • GMS Racing (Avalon)
    • 82 Spencer Gallagher (R)
    • 84 Amber Lucky
    • 85 Luke Trigger (R)
  • Joe Gibbs Racing (Camry)
    • 11 Denny Hamlin
    • 18 Kyle Busch
    • 19 Martin Truex Jr.
    • 20 Erik Jones
  • Hillman Racing (Camry)
    • 04 Landon Cassill

Dodge

  • Team Penske (Charger)
    • 2 Brad Keselowski
    • 12 Ryan Blaney
    • 22 Joey Logano
  • Richard Petty Motorsports (Challenger)
    • 43 Darrell Wallace Jr.
  • Evernham Motorsports (Charger)
    • 93 Kasey Kahne
  • Chip Ganassi Racing (Challenger)
    • 1 Kurt Busch
    • 42 Kyle Larson
  • Rusty Wallace Racing (Charger)
    • 102 Steve Wallace (R)

Honda

  • Orange County Racing (Accord)
    • 86 Jed Thomas
    • 90 Luke George
  • Doug Yates Racing (Civic)
    • 28 Elliott Sadler
    • 88 Vinnie Miller (R)
  • Leavine Family Racing (Accord)
    • 95 Ryan Reed

BMW (Only Fields M4)

  • Team Ohio
    • 64 Kelly Walker
    • 65 Rodney Clay
  • Germain Racing
    • 13 Ty Dillon
  • Dar-Wal Inc.
    • 117 Ray Black Jr. (R)

Nissan (Only Fields Sentra)

  • MAG Incorporated
    • 58 Lyle White
    • 68 Bill Fuller
    • 71 Randall Parker
    • 177 Randy Norton
  • Stash Motorsports
    • 91 Bo Abraham
    • 92 Beau Philips

Buick (Only Fields Regal)

  • Bobby Allison Racing
    • 12 Dakoda Armstrong
    • 152 Clint Bowyer
    • 153 Alvin Shields
  • Rossi Racing
    • 50 BJ Fisher
    • 53 Tyson Golston

Cadillac (Only Fields CTS-V)

  • Red Tiger Motorsports with Sterling Marlin
    • 170 Tracy Johnson
  • Parsons Motorsports
    • 16 T.J. Bell (R)
    • 49 Ned Shannon (R)
    • 66 Tanner Berryhill

Lincoln (RETURNING; Only Fields Continental)

  • Rick Ware Racing
    • 51 Cody Ware (R)
  • Hedrick Racing
    • 141 Dexter Bean (R)
  • Spinner-Marcis Auto Racing
    • 171 Zack Brady (R)

Audi (NEW; Only Fields A7)

  • NY Racing Team
    • 174 J.J. Yeley
    • 175 Matt Mills (R)
  • Marchesi Racing
    • 176 Mark Marchesi (R)

Maserati (NEW; Only Fields GranTurismo)

  • Cale Yarborough Racing
    • 98 Simon Stevens
  • Slick Poly Racing
    • 69 Mike Maier (R)

Jaguar (RETURNING; Only Fields XE)

  • Travis Carter Enterprises
    • 23 Ben Rhodes
    • 55 Matt Carter (R)
    • 61 Kyle Krisiloff (R)
  • Ken Schrader Racing
    • 52 Josh Berry (R)

Porsche (RETURNING)

  • Kenny Bernstein Racing (Boxster)
    • 26 Harrison Rhodes
  • NEMCO Motorsports with Carl Long (991)
    • 187 John Hunter Nemechek (R)

Kia (NEW; Only Fields Optima)

  • Junior Johnson Racing
    • 27 BJ McCleod
  • Labonte Bros. Racing
    • 96 Justin Labonte (R)

Aston Martin (RETURNING; Only Fields DB11 Superleggera)

  • Delma Cowart Racing
    • 0 Noah Howe
    • 100 Chris Vallely
    • 180 Dave Hawkins (R)
  • Rudd Performance Motorsports
    • 110 Mike Murphy (R)
  • Butch Jones Enterprises with Geoffrey Bodine
    • 162 Clay Jones (R)
    • 163 Katie Bell (R)

Hyundai (NEW; Only Fields Aslan)

  • Tri-Star Motorsports
    • 72 Cole Whitt
    • 79 Corey LaJoie (R)
    • 158 Stephen Leicht
    • 167 Timothy Peters (R)
  • Stavola Bros. Racing
    • 08 Carl Maggio (R)
  • Robby Gordon Motorsports
    • 07 Takuma Sato (R)
    • 107 Kimi Raikkonen (R)

Limited schedule

Chevrolet

  • StarCom Racing (Gen-6 Chevrolet SS)
    • 99 Kip Branch (R)
  • Beard Motorsports (Impala)
    • 62 Brendan Gaughan
  • Tommy Baldwin Racing (Camaro)
    • 7 Ryan Truex

Dodge

  • Arrington Racing (Charger)
    • 167 Bayley Currey
  • MBM Motorsports (Challenger)
    • 66 Timmy Hill
    • 166 Carl Long

Honda

  • Obaika Racing (Accord)
    • 101 Sheldon Creed (R)

BMW

  • Germain Racing
    • 127 Casey Mears

Aston Martin

  • Gaunt Brothers Racing
    • 96 D.J. Kennington

Pontiac (RETURNING)

  • Pontiac Racing Development (Grand Prix)
    • 192 Hailie Deegan

Oldsmobile (RETURNING)

  • Oldsmobile Racing Development (Cutlass)
    • 141 Spencer Davis

Plymouth (RETURNING)

  • Plymouth Racing Development (Superbird/Roadrunner)
    • 140 Max McLaughlin

Mercury (RETURNING)

  • Mercury Racing Development (Cyclone)
    • 125 Jeremy Clements

Geyser (RETURNING)

  • Geyser Racing Development (Hawk)
    • 193 Ryan Sieg

Studebaker (RETURNING)

  • Studebaker Racing Development (Commander)
    • 200 Jeff Green

Changes

Teams and drivers

  • On October 28, 2018, Hendrick Motorsports announced that Ally Financial signed a two-year deal to co-sponsor the new No. 5 team with Brandt starting in 2019. Ally had previously been with the Hendrick team when they were still known as GMAC.
  • On August 23, 2018, Front Row Motorsports purchased the majority of the assets of the bankrupt BK Racing for US$2.08 million. With this purchase, FRM will field a third team in the 2019 season (they have since announced two more cars).
  • On September 3, 2018, Obaika Racing announced that they will run a few races in the Cup series in 2018, before moving to full-time in 2019.
  • On September 10, 2018, it was announced that Jamie McMurray will not return to Chip Ganassi Racing in 2019. CGR had offered McMurray a contract to drive at the 2019 Daytona 500 before moving to a leadership position with the team. On December 12, 2018, Fox Sports announced that McMurray has joined its Fox NASCAR broadcast team as an analyst for NASCAR RaceDay and NASCAR Race Hub starting in 2019. Despite this, McMurray has yet to formally announce retirement.
  • On September 15, 2018, it was announced that Ryan Newman will not return to Richard Childress Racing in 2019. Later on September 21, 2018, it was confirmed that Newman will move to Roush-Fenway Racing full-time in the No. 6 Ford.
  • On September 16, 2018, it was announced that Kyle Busch would be leaving Joe Gibbs Racing to expand Kyle Busch Motorsports to the Panasonic Cup Series, buying out the assets of Furniture Row Racing. The four-car team will consist of Kyle Busch as an owner-driver, Kurt Busch, Jesse Clemons, and Matt Tifft, the latter two running for Rookie of the Year honors. The same day, Christopher Bell was announced as the new driver of the #18 car, also running for RotY honors.
  • On September 17, 2018, it was announced that Daniel Suarez would inherit the #41 car from Kurt Busch at Stewart-Haas Racing.
  • On September 28, 2018, it was announced that Daniel Hemric will run the #29 car for Richard Childress Racing and compete for 2019 Rookie of the Year honors.
  • On October 6, 2018, it was announced that Ross Chastain will be returning to the No. 158 Premium Motorsports Chevrolet on a 'handshake deal'. Team owner Jay Robinson states he will not hold back Chastain if a better opportunity presents itself.
  • On November 26, 2018, Tommy Baldwin Racing announced its rebirth, and that they would run the Daytona 500 and select other races. They will once again run the Chevrolet Camaro.

Manufacturers

  • Toyota will begin fielding a second model, the Avalon, after five seasons of exclusively fielding the Camry in the SSC era. GMS Racing will switch to the Avalon, and Kyle Busch Motorsports will also field the model, while Joe Gibbs Racing and Hillman Racing have confirmed they will continue using the Camry. This echoes a similar move for a second model in the Busch Series, with Toyota fielding the revived Supra in that series for preparation of adding the Supra to the Cup Series in 2020, as well as the AutoZone Elite Series and McDonald's Australia Series.
  • BMW switched from the M3 to the M4 after the former was discontinued. The M4 has the added benefit of being directly supported by BMW's motorsports division, whereas the M3 merely had regular factory support.
  • A "Manufacturer Boom" will take place, as Kia, Maserati, and Hyundai will enter NASCAR competition. In addition, Aston Martin, Jaguar, and Porsche, all of which competed in the 1950s, will return to NASCAR.
  • After running the Honda Civic in 2018, Gaunt Brothers Racing will switch to the Aston-Martin DB11 Superleggera in 2019. So far, it is the only confirmed part-time Aston Martin team.
  • Dodge will offer the new Neon for superspeedway races, as it had with the now-discontinued Dart for short tracks and road courses in the first two years of the SSC.
  • Aston Martin had originally announced it would field the Vanquish Volante, but switched to the DB11 Superleggera after the Vanquish line was discontinued in 2018.
  • On October 28, 2018, prior to the Iowa Corn 400, Ford announced that the Taurus would be replaced by the Lincoln Continental due to the imminent discontinuation of the Taurus. Go FAS Racing is reportedly staying with the Taurus due to money issues.
  • On November 26, 2018, GM announced that the Chevrolet Impala would cease production after the 2019 model year. In the same announcement, they stated that the Impala would be replaced by the Malibu in NASCAR competition across all series, and that any team continuing to run the Impala would not receive factory support. Beard Motorsports, the last remaining Impala team due to money issues, will receive equipment and parts from Richard Childress Racing's former Impala program to keep their team going after having their factory support cut off.
  • On February 8, 2019, Johnson Auto announced it would be fielding its own part-time teams with K&N Pro Series driver Hailie Deegan, Busch North drivers Max McLaughlin and Spencer Davis, and Busch drivers Jeremy Clements, Ryan Sieg and Jeff Green at the Daytona 500, Dodge Challenger 400, Tyson Holly Farms 400, and Toyota/Save Mart 350 to collect data for Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Plymouth, Mercury, Studebaker, and Geyser’s return to NASCAR competition in 2020. They will be using the newly-relaunched Grand Prix, Cutlass, Cyclone, Superbird (for the Daytona 500 and Dodge Challenger 400), Roadrunner (for the Tyson Holly Farms 400 and Toyota/Save Mart 350), Commander, and Hawk for these teams. Pontiac had previously run in NASCAR from 1959 to 2003, with a few surplus cars remaining in Nextel Cup competition until a few races into the 2004 season, Busch Series competition until the end of the 2005 season, ARCA as late as 2007, and NASCAR's Canadian series through 2009 (as of 2019, at least one Pontiac-engined car runs part-time in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour), Oldsmobile had run in NASCAR from its inaugural 1949 season until 1994, Mercury had run from the 1950s to the 1980s, Plymouth had run from 1949 to 1974, Studebaker had run from 1950 to 1962, and Geyser had run in the Busch Series from 2000 to 2006, after which all Geyser teams switched to Toyota in 2007.
The Panasonic Million logo.

Rule changes

  • In response to the second "Great Team Boom" of 2018 and 2019, NASCAR will expand the field to 60 cars on superspeedways, 51 cars on intermediate tracks, 48 cars on road courses, and keep the 46 car field on short tracks.
  • This season will see the return of the Winston Million, renamed the Panasonic Million to reflect Panasonic's title sponsorship. 2019 will also see the return of the No Bull 5, renamed the CompuServe 5, and for a $500,000 bonus.
  • On January 4, 2019, NASCAR announced a new post-race inspection rule in all three series, where race-winning teams found to be in violation of the rule book will automatically be disqualified. Following a race, the first-place and second-place team, along with at least one randomly selected car, will undergo post-race inspection. The car that fails the inspection will receive last-place points. When asked about the rule in a press conference before the Harley-Davidson 250, Tim Johnson responded, "Too many cars are having an unfair advantage. Remember when the winner of the first Strictly Stock race, Glenn Dunaway, was disqualified for having his car fitted with illegal springs? Brian and Mike, on the other hand, would let drivers who fail inspection get off scot-free aside from losing points. To me, that is unfair”.
  • Starting with the Daytona 500, more tire manufacturers were approved, including Pirelli, Yokohama, Bridgestone, Cooper, and Falken.
The CompuServe 5 logo.

Schedule

The final schedule – comprising 39 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 (renamed The Panasonic as a nod to The Winston), the Daytona Late Model Classic, and the Circuit City Summer Shootout – was released on April 3, 2018. Key changes from 2018 include:

  • Two of the three off-weekends (Father's Day and August) are now race weekends, occupied by Nazareth Speedway and Brands Hatch, respectively.
  • Atlanta was moved to November to become the season finale for the first time since 2000 (it was scheduled to be the season finale in 2001, before the New Hampshire 300 was delayed to the Sunday after November by 9/11). As a result, Homestead-Miami was moved to March, and Rockingham was moved to Atlanta's old spot on the schedule immediately following the Daytona 500 for the first time since 2001.
  • Several tracks lost races to other venues, none of which had ever hosted a Cup Series event (but had hosted, or do host, Busch and SuperTruck Series events). Bristol lost its August night race to Lucas Oil Raceway (formerly Indianapolis Raceway Park), Richmond lost its September date to Milwaukee Mile, and Dover lost its October date to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
  • Sonoma Raceway will return to the original 2.52 mile course configuration for the first time since 1997.
  • In broadcasting, the Walt Disney World Speedway race was moved from ESPN to WBC. With the move, the entire second half of the season will be broadcast over-the-air, barring any weather-related broadcast moves to Johnson's cable networks (i.e. Freeform, ESPN, TNN, The NASCAR Network, Cartoon Network).
No Race Title Track TV
1 Harley-Davidson 250 Road America, Lake Elkhart WBC
Busch Clash Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach FS1
Gatorade Twin 125's Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach FS1
2 Daytona 500 Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach Fox
3 Dodge Challenger 400 Rockingham Speedway, Rockingham WBC
4 Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube 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 Ford EcoBoost 400 Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead Fox
9 Food City 500 Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol Fox
10 Toyota Owners 400 Richmond Raceway, Richmond Fox
11 GEICO Talladega 500 Talladega Superspeedway, Lincoln WBC
12 Gander RV 400 Dover International Speedway, Dover FS1, WBC
13 Tyson Holly Farms 400 North Wilkesboro Speedway, North Wilkesboro WBC
Panasonic Open Charlotte Motor Speedway, Charlotte Fox
The Panasonic Charlotte Motor Speedway, Charlotte Fox
14 Coca-Cola World 600 Charlotte Motor Speedway, Charlotte WBC
15 QuikTrip Motegi 400 Twin Ring Motegi, Motegi WBC
16 Folds of Honor Tokyo 500 Tokyo Superspeedway, Tama WBC
17 SpongeBob SquarePants 400 Nazareth Speedway, Nazareth WBC
18 Toyota/Save Mart 350 Sonoma Raceway, Sonoma WBC
19 Overton's 400 Chicagoland Speedway, Joliet NBC, Cartoon Network
Daytona Late Model Classic Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach WBC
20 Pepsi Firecracker 400 Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach WBC
21 Quaker State 400 presented by Advanced Auto Parts Kentucky Speedway, Sparta NBC
22 Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon NBC
23 Gander Outdoors 400 Pocono Raceway, Long Pond WBC
24 Go Bowling at the Glen Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen WBC
Circuit City Summer Shootout Pikes Peak International Raceway, Colorado Springs WBC
25 Consumer Energy 400 Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn WBC
26 World Wildlife Foundation 500 Lucas Oil Raceway, Brownsburg NBC
27 British NASCAR Grand Prix by Domestos Brands Hatch, Kent, England WBC
28 Southern 500 Darlington Raceway, Darlington WBC
29 Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Speedway WBC
30 Star Wars: Duel of the Fates 500 Walt Disney World Speedway, Lake Buena Vista WBC
31 Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer 400 Milwaukee Mile, West Allis NBC
32 Music City USA 420 Fairgrounds Speedway, Nashville WBC
33 Susan G. Koman for the Cure 250 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington WBC
34 1000Bulbs.com 500 Talladega Superspeedway, Lincoln WBC, Cartoon Network
35 Hollywood Casino 400 Kansas Motor Speedway, Kansas City NBC
36 Iowa Corn 400 Iowa Speedway, Newton WBC
37 AAA Texas 500 Texas World Speedway, College Station NBC
38 RWBY 400 Tokyo Superspeedway, Tama WBC
39 PrimeStar 500 Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton NBC

Season summary

Race reports

Round 1: Harley-Davidson 250

Lyle White started on the pole for the 2019 season opener after Alex Bowman's time was disallowed due to a post-qualifying infraction. The race was considered the ultimate test for the new manufacturers, and incoming drivers and teams. Throughout a chaotic race that saw Dakoda Armstrong hit a wall head-on (he was uninjured), Kyle Busch triumphed in his first victory since the 2015 Quaker State 400.

Speedweeks 2019

In Daytona 500 qualifying, William Byron won the pole while Alex Bowman qualified second. This was the fifth consecutive Daytona 500 pole won by Hendrick Motorsports and the first with all four cars in the top 4.

Daytona Speedweeks started with the Advance Auto Parts Clash. Paul Menard drew the pole. The race went under a red flag after the first few laps due to rain. The race returned to green and then the field pitted for the competition caution followed by another red flag for rain. After the restart, Bo Abraham got into leader Paul Menard and collect most of the field including Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, and Clint Bowyer, and sending Jamie McMurray into a wild barrel-roll. The race went red again due to rain during the caution and it was called, giving the win to Abraham.

In the Duels on Thursday, Byron led the first Duel. Kyle Busch spun after making contact with Jimmie Johnson. Kevin Harvick took the lead after pit stops and held off Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for the win. In the second duel, Bowman started in the lead. Joey Logano made a last lap pass on Tony Stewart to win a caution-free race, marking the first victory for the Dodge Neon (a model that has yet to enter production in the US and Canada).

Controversy erupted during the week over some of the new manufacturers. Namely, Maserati, Porsche, and Aston Martin had brought cars with lower rooflines than most of the competition. Several teams, particularly those running Chevrolet or Toyota cars, complained that these cars had an unfair advantage by being able to pretty much sit behind a taller car and get as much clean air as they wanted, then slingshot past, while at the same time, punching a smaller hole in the air and causing aerodynamic instabilities for the larger cars. Other complaints were leveled against the Plymouth Superbird, which was just as aerodynamic as it was in 1969, the Dodge Neon basically being a dolled-up Dodge Dart that had the same advantages as the Maserati, Porsche, and Aston Martin cars, the continued use of a 2013 Chevrolet SS body by StarCom Racing (seen as too blocky to keep pace with the more aero-efficient SSCs), three teams (Orange County Racing, Slick Poly Racing, and Team Ohio) using Pirelli tires originally designed for Formula 1 competition, and the expansion of the field on plate tracks to 60 cars (and the resulting increase in Lend-Lease entries beyond old NASCAR vehicles and cars bought specifically to race, the main fear being the potential for unpredictable drivers or even “lemons” that could suddenly die in the middle of the pack and spark the Big One; several critics used the infamous 1960 Sportsman crash at Daytona as an example of why they considered it a bad idea). Johnson stayed mostly silent on the matter, briefly contemplating the use of wicker bills or even mandating the use of Gen-4 cars for the Daytona 500, before settling on mandating a larger spoiler for the Maserati, Porsche, and Aston Martin cars; the day after the Daytona 500, Johnson also added Pirelli, as well as Yokohama, Bridgestone, Cooper, and Falken, as approved tire manufacturers for all NASCAR series except the Nintendo Racing Series, which continues to exclusively use Goodyear Eagle Drag Slicks.

Round 2: Daytona 500

The dedication card to Stephen Hillenburg.

William Byron started on pole. Cody Ware spun when coming to pit road and collected Tyler Reddick and Jimmie Johnson. Kyle Larson and Brad Keselowski both spun after tire issues. Matt DiBenedetto led the most laps, but was involved in an accident with Ryan Blaney, Paul Menard, Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., and others, and sending Takuma Sato into a wild flip. On the restart, Clint Bowyer got turned and collected Byron, Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman, and others. In Green-White-Checkered, Tony Stewart was able to hold off Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch for his second 500 win, five years after the first.

During the pre-race ceremonies, the song "Sweet Victory" from the legendary SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Band Geeks" was performed live by songwriters David Glen Eisley (vocals) and Bob Kulick (guitar), alongside Eric Singer (drums), on a giant replica of the Bubble Bowl with the giant dome light on the center and similar pyrotechnics, with the full version of the song being played, and two screens, one on either side of the dome, showing footage from "Band Geeks" and newly-animated footage (which had been produced throughout late 2017 and early 2018, as Tim knew that creator Stephen Hillenburg would die one day from ALS) designed to blend with the existing footage featuring various members of the band, including SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward, Mr. Krabs, Sandy, Plankton, Pearl, Mrs. Puff, Karen, Bubble Bass, and various background fish, and the narrator (again voiced by Mr. Lawrence, though it was done live from California) introducing the band after the opening horns are played, ending with a ten-second-long dedication card to Hillenburg, with ten seconds of silence being held in his honor at Eisley's instructions. The song was performed in direct response to the NFL's infamous ratings trap during Super Bowl LIII's halftime show in which it was teased, but never actually performed; a similar clip of Squidward introducing the band was used, albeit with new animation, before the shot of the Bubble Bowl rising up, and Squidward saying "And now, a group of true musical geniuses who need no introduction". This performance was universally acclaimed.

Round 3: Dodge Challenger 400

Aric Almirola started on pole for the first Cup Series race held at Rockingham in February since 2004, as well as the first race to use a new package that incorporates elements from the Stock Prototype category of the as-of-yet unnamed sports car series NASCAR will introduce in 2020, such as aero ducts to pass clean air back to other cars and foster pack racing (this package will only be used at the intermediate tracks such as Charlotte and Kansas; larger tracks such as Auto Club, Michigan, and Indianapolis, short tracks, road courses, and plate tracks will continue using the package implemented under the Final Solution memo in 2016; during the pre-season, Tim Johnson discovered a rough draft for a new rule package that would entail reducing horsepower and utilizing restrictor plates and a larger spoiler, as well as tapered spacers at the plate tracks, but since the executives in question had just made these rules using the game Ultimate NASCAR, which does allow such experimentation, to see if it would work, nobody was fired, and Johnson found himself staying up into the early morning hours playing around with the package in-game). Some top runners including Almirola, Larson, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had speeding penalties. Kyle Busch got into the wall and had a tire go down. Max McLaughlin, driving a Plymouth Superbird for developmental purposes in preparation for the manufacturer's full-time return to NASCAR competition in 2020, dominated much of the race, leading 75 laps, due to the aerodynamic nature of the Superbird (seen as the start of what has been coined the “Second Aero War"), but debris from Kyle Busch's crash sheared the rear spoiler off, stripping the car of all downforce and sending it high into the air before landing hard and barrel-rolling in the trioval grass; McLaughlin was unhurt, but the car was destroyed; Plymouth stated in a post-race interview that they would reinforce the rear spoiler. During the final round of green flag pit stops, Ryan Preece ran into the back of BJ McLeod. Brad Keselowski, battling stomach flu, took the lead from teammate Joey Logano and held off Martin Truex Jr. for his second Atlanta win and his 60th win overall at Team Penske across Cup and Busch.

Round 4: Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube

Kevin Harvick started on pole. Kyle Larson and Austin Dillon suffered pit road penalties in the first stage during green flag stops. Kyle Busch had a speeding penalty while making a pit stop under green flag. In the closing stages, controversy erupted when Kyle Busch got together with Joey Logano on the backstretch and sent the latter into the same spot Jeff Gordon crashed in 2009, this time splitting the car open. Logano's crew believed Busch intentionally wrecked him in retaliation for the incident at the 2017 running of the race that saw a post-race fight on pit road, and attacked Busch's pit. A red flag was thrown to clean up the mess and de-escalate the pit road situation. Replays, however, showed that Busch hadn't intentionally wrecked Logano, but had merely gotten loose. The race ended in a major upset when Ben Rhodes, driving a Jaguar XE for returning team owner Travis Carter, who was in his first full-time NASCAR season as an owner since 2007, and his first full-time season in the Cup Series since 2003, beat Brad Keselowski in a photo-finish. It was not only Rhodes' first Cup Series victory, but also Travis Carter's first-ever points win and Jaguar's first NASCAR win since 1954.

Round 5: TicketGuardian 500

Ryan Blaney started the race from pole position. Erik Jones spun from a flat tire and Brad Keselowski hit the wall after an issue in the right front of the car caused a tire to go down. Michael McDowell and Ryan Preece were involved in wrecks while Matt DiBenedetto had a mechanical issue. Blaney was leading late in the race until Kyle Busch passed him with 17 laps to go. Kyle Busch looked to be on his way to victory, but had a tire go down with 4 to go, sending him into the gate for haulers, which a child had fiddled with and unwittingly unlocked; Busch hit the gate and was sent flying over the catchfence. Busch was uninjured, and the car had landed in an unoccupied area, but Busch's Avalon was completely destroyed, and the race was red-flagged to remove debris from the track. It marked the first time a car had gone over the outside wall since Jimmy Horton did so in the 1993 DieHard 500 at Talladega. The race went to a Green-White-Checkered finish, in which Chase Elliott beat Macy Waltrip in a mad dash to the finish for his first win of the year.

Round 6: Auto Club 400

Austin Dillon started the race on pole, who had a tire go down. Kyle Busch had a pit road speeding penalty, giving the lead to Brad Keselowski. In the final stage of the race, Darrell Wallace Jr. brought out a caution during a round of green flag pit stops, putting Kyle Busch back toward the front. On the last lap, Busch was passed by Tony Stewart, who went on to take his second win of the season.

Round 7: STP 500

Joey Logano started on pole. Michael McDowell got into the wall and Ty Dillon and William Byron got together. Kyle Larson got into McDowell, ending the day for McDowell. Brad Keselowski dominated, leading 446 laps, but couldn't hold off a charging Chase Elliott, who pulled a bump-and-run on him in turn 4 for his second win of the season.

Round 8: Ford EcoBoost 400

Jimmie Johnson started on pole for the first NASCAR race held at Homestead-Miami Speedway outside of November since the 2001 Florida Dodge Dealers 400K Truck Series race (which was held on March 4). Erik Jones spun early as Brad Keselowski had to go to the garage for several laps due to rear-end issues. Johnson led most of the early stages. Daniel Hemric had a tire go down and spun and Kyle Larson slammed the wall and caught on fire. Denny Hamlin was able to get the lead off pit road. Ryan Blaney had led until his engine expired. Kyle Busch led the most laps, but got loose and got into the wall and had to go to pit road. Hamlin, who suffered back-to-back pit road penalties, was able to get back in the lead after the final round of green-flag pit stops and held off Clint Bowyer for his first win of the season.

Round 9: Food City 500

Chase Elliott started the race on pole while Kevin Harvick had to start from the rear and serve a pass-through penalty for failing pre-race inspection. At the beginning of the race, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. got into Kyle Busch and sent him spinning, with Aric Almirola also involved in the wreck. Ryan Blaney led the most laps in the race. Elliott was spun from contact from behind toward the end of the second stage and lost power steering. In the closing laps, Kyle Larson made contact with another car and got in a wreck with William Byron, Denny Hamlin got a pit road speeding penalty while leading, and Clint Bowyer cut a tire and got into the wall. During a late caution, most of the leaders came to pit road while a few cars stayed out, giving the lead to two-time Arby's Convertible Division champion Noah Howe, who drove a paint scheme supporting the YouTuber Mark Meechan (better known under his internet name Count Dankula) and protesting his arrest. Howe held off Kurt Busch to win the race and his second career win, as well as the first points win for owner Delma Cowart, and Aston Martin's first NASCAR win.

Round 10: Toyota Owners 400

Kevin Harvick started on pole. Harvick led early, but Kyle Busch took the lead and led the early stages. Kyle Larson spun and slammed the wall. Joey Logano would take the lead and lead the middle stages. Michael McDowell had a tire go down and slammed the wall. Martin Truex Jr. took the lead and led the most laps. Tony Stewart was able to catch Truex and take the lead, but Truex regained the lead after the final round of green-flag pit stops. Stewart got to Truex's bumper and tried to take the lead, but was unable to and lost second to Logano. Truex continued to lead with Logano on his bumper and Truex was able to hold on for his first career short-track win in his first of the season, as well as his first with Chip Ganassi since 2007; it was also the first win for the #01 car in the Cup Series since the 2004 Banquet 400 presented by ConAgra Foods.

Round 11: GEICO Talladega 500

Austin Dillion started on pole. Bubba Wallace spun and collected Michael McDowell, Matt Tifft, Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, and Kevin Harvick. Most of the top runners had to pit, giving the lead to Ty Dillon. Chase Elliott led the most laps. Chris Buescher spun and collected Justin Haley (making his Cup Series debut) and Martin Truex Jr., which brought out the red flag. On the restart, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. slammed the wall (yet the race stayed green) and then David Ragan and William Byron got together and collected Jeffrey Earnhardt and Kyle Larson, who went airborne and flipped wildly. Chase Elliott was able to hold off teammate Alex Bowman for his third win of the season and first at Talladega.

Round 12: Gander RV 400

The race was postponed from Sunday to Monday due to rain, and had to be moved to WBC. Chase Elliott started on pole and dominated, leading the most laps. Martin Truex Jr. looked to be on his way to his second win of the season, before a late caution and a pit road speeding penalty banished him to the back. This allowed Noah Howe to lead the field to the final restart, and he held off Alex Bowman for his second career Panasonic Cup Series win.

Round 13: Tyson Holly Farms 400

Kevin Harvick started on pole in a rare sweep of the top positions by Stewart-Haas Racing. Denny Hamlin had a tire go down and got into the wall. Ryan Blaney got in the wall and had a tire go down, but made it to pit road. Harvick had to go to pit road due to a tire going down. Alex Bowman took the lead from Elliott and was heading to the win, but lost the lead to Brad Keselowski. Kyle Busch had a tire rub and had to pit while Matt DiBenedetto had a tire go down, sending the race into overtime. Keselowski held off a charging Bowman for his second win of the season. Hailie Deegan finished fourth in a test Pontiac Grand Prix, marking Pontiac's first top-five finish in the NASCAR Cup Series since 2003.

Exhibition: NASCAR Panasonic All-Star Race

In the Panasonic Open, Daniel Hemric started on pole. William Byron won the first stage to advance to the All-Star Race in a close overtime finish against Darrell Wallace Jr. In the second stage, Hemric and Ryan Preece wrecked and brought an overtime finish. Wallace Jr. won the second stage to advance to the All-Star Race in a close finish against Daniel Suarez, who went spinning through the grass. In the final stage, Kyle Larson passed Ty Dillon to win the race and advance to the All-Star Race. Alex Bowman won the fan vote to get into the All-Star Race.

Tony Stewart started on pole for the All-Star Race. Kyle Busch won the first stage, Kevin Harvick won the second stage, and Joey Logano won the third stage. Several drivers had issues during the race, including Erik Jones, who got into the wall multiple times, and Denny Hamlin, who went for a spin after cutting a tire. In the final stage, Larson, who raced into the All-Star Race through the Monster Energy Open, got a push from Harvick to take the lead and win his second All-Star Race, holding off Harvick and Kyle Busch.

At the conclusion of the race, Darrell Waltrip retired from the Fox NASCAR booth, though he will continue working at WBC.

Round 14: Coca-Cola World 600

William Byron started on pole, becoming the youngest Coke 600 pole winner. Erik Jones, Matt DiBenedetto, and Martin Truex Jr. had tire issues, sending them into the wall. Kyle Busch made contact with Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who spun. Daniel Hemric got into Clint Bowyer. Drivers had tire issues including Chris Buescher, Denny Hamlin, Rodney Clay, Macy Waltrip, Harrison Rhodes, and Ryan Preece. Bayley Currey slammed the wall after contact with Truex. Kurt Busch got loose and spun into brother Kyle Busch. Kyle Larson got loose on the backstraightaway and spun, collecting Austin Dillon, Ty Dillon, Bowyer, and Preece, and bizarrely sending Preece sliding down the backstretch on his roof. Hamlin cut a tire and slammed the wall and Keselowski spun coming to pit road. On the restart, Hamlin spun and slammed the wall while Tony Stewart held off both Truex and Joey Logano for his third win of the season and his second Coke 600.

Round 15: QuikTrip Motegi 400

William Byron started on pole for the second straight week and led until the competition caution. Austin Dillon made contact with Paul Menard and got into the wall. Matt DiBenedetto and Matt Tifft spun while Corey Lajoie got into the wall. Kevin Harvick got the lead after green flag pit stops, but had an uncontrolled tire penalty, giving the lead to Kyle Busch. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had a tire go down and slammed the wall. On the restart, Larson got into the wall and had to pit. Busch held off Brad Keselowski for his second win of the season.

Round 16: Folds of Honor Tokyo 500

Joey Logano started on pole. The race was delayed to Monday evening due to rain. For the WBC broadcast, Neptune was replaced on pit road by Miku Hatsune (Kristen Schaal); this was the first race where the characters actually appeared onscreen via Johnson's AnimeTronics. The race saw intense three and four-wide racing, compounded by numerous multi-car wrecks throughout the day. The Big One struck on Lap 194, involving 28 cars and sending three cars (Ryan Blaney, Kelly Walker, and Bo Abraham) on their roofs, and bringing out a lengthy red flag. On the overtime finish, Noah Howe passed Logano on the last lap for his third win of the season.

Round 17: SpongeBob SquarePants 400

Brad Keselowski started on the pole for the first-ever Cup Series race at Nazareth. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of SpongeBob SquarePants, Tom Kenny served as the grand marshal, memorably saying "Drivers, start your engines!" in his SpongeBob voice. Issues with Yokohama tires cropped up throughout the day, causing several wrecks, including a four-car wreck involving Bo Abraham, Macy Waltrip, Lyle White, and Kurt Busch. Kyle Larson dominated en route to his first points win of 2019.

Round 18: Toyota/Save Mart 350

Kyle Larson started on pole. William Byron took the lead at the start and led much of the early going. Several drivers spun including Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola, and Paul Menard, but the race was otherwise very clean. Martin Truex Jr. led the most laps, but on the final lap, he and Kyle Busch were battling for the lead when Busch tried to run Truex off the track, instead getting both of them wrecked. Third-place Ryan Blaney thus was able to get his third career Cup win, and first of 2019, as well as Dodge's fifth win of the year.

Round 19: Overton's 400

Austin Dillon started on pole. The race ran 12 laps before severe thunderstorms moved into the area, with strong winds causing minor damage to the track. Due to the delay, the rest of the race had to be moved to Cartoon Network. Clint Bowyer and Kyle Busch got into the wall with flat tires bringing out the caution. Kevin Harvick got loose and got in the wall and Bowyer spun after another flat tire. Alex Bowman took the lead and had a big gap on the field until Kyle Larson was able to run him down due to lapped traffic. Larson took the lead from Bowman, but Bowman retook the lead and held off Larson for his first career win.

Exhibition: Daytona Late Model Classic

Geoff Bodine started on the pole for the fourth Late Model Classic. Rusty Wallace dominated en route to the win, also giving the Dodge Intrepid its first NASCAR win since 2004.

Round 20: Pepsi Firecracker 400

Joey Logano started on the pole after the field was set by owners points due to qualifying being cancelled by lightning. The race was delayed to Sunday afternoon due to persistent rains. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spun and Kurt Busch spun in the wall. Brad Keselowski got into the wall and collected Kevin Harvick, Daniel Suarez, and Daniel Hemric. Austin Dillon got turned while leading collecting most of the field including Logano, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr., Stenhouse, Chase Elliott, and Denny Hamlin, sending Stenhouse flipping into the catchfence and bringing out the red flag. During the red flag, lightning and rain caused the race to be called, thus giving Justin Haley the win as he was the leader for his first career Cup win in just his third start.

Round 21: Quaker State 400 presented by Advanced Auto Parts

Daniel Suarez started on pole. Chase Elliott had a tire go down and Corey LaJoie and Landon Cassill spun. The Busch brothers dominated the majority of the race. Austin Dillon exited the race due to losing fourth gear. Jimmie Johnson had a tire go down and hit the wall before spinning. Joey Logano passed Kyle Busch for the lead and was heading to the win until Bubba Wallace had a tire go down and spun, sending the race to overtime. Kurt Busch held off brother Kyle for his first win of the season.

Round 22: Foxwood Casino Resort 301

Brad Keselowski started on pole. Austin Dillon had a tire go down, and Daniel Suarez spun and collected Daniel Hemric. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. slammed the wall while battling Erik Jones. Clint Bowyer got in the wall after contact with Martin Truex Jr. Chase Elliott and Jimmie Johnson had engine and power steering issues respectively. Austin Dillon had another tire issue. Kyle Larson spun after contact with Alex Bowman. Kyle Busch got in the wall and Larson again slammed the wall. Kevin Harvick battled Denny Hamlin in the closing laps, wrecking each other going into turn three and allowing Tony Stewart to get his fourth win of the season.

Round 23: Gander Outdoors 400

Kevin Harvick started on pole. Brad Keselowski had to pit early after getting into the wall. Chase Elliott had a flat tire and slammed the wall. Daniel Suarez and Ryan Blaney made contact, sending Blaney spinning. Ryan Preece blew a tire and slammed the wall. Kurt Busch got into the wall and spun after contact with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and collected Michael McDowell. Denny Hamlin ran out of fuel on the final lap, unwittingly hitting teammate Erik Jones and sending him into the inside wall. This allowed Macy Waltrip to sneak by for her first win of 2019.

Round 24: Go Bowling at the Glen

Chase Elliott started on pole. Kyle Busch spun early and made contact with William Byron. Bubba Wallace spun into the wall. Jimmie Johnson spun after contact with Ryan Blaney as Kyle Busch spun after contact from Wallace; Johnson and Blaney exchanged heated words after the race. Elliott continue to dominate and held off Martin Truex Jr. for his fourth win of the season and his second straight at Watkins Glen, also winning the Unocal 76 Challenge for winning from the pole.

Exhibition: Circuit City Summer Shootout

Kaz Grala won the first heat race to win the pole for the first Summer Shootout. Several multi-car wrecks broke out throughout the A-Main. Christopher Bell made a last-lap pass on Kyle Larson to take his first win at the Cup level.

Round 25: Consumer Energy 400

Brad Keselowski started on the pole. Jimmie Johnson slammed the wall as Martin Truex Jr. took the lead. Keselowski had a flat tire and spun. Kyle Busch led the middle stages of the race as Aric Almirola, Austin Dillon, and Daniel Hemric spun. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spun as Spencer Boyd spun into the wall. Kevin Harvick took the lead from Joey Logano and held off Denny Hamlin for his first win of the season.

Round 26: World Wildlife Foundation 500

Denny Hamlin started on pole. This was the first-ever NASCAR Cup Series event at Lucas Oil Raceway. Austin Dillon had a tire go down and made contact with Jimmie Johnson. Aric Almirola had tire issues and spun twice and Clint Bowyer spun. Alex Bowman had a tire go down and collected Joey Logano. Ryan Blaney got into the wall along with Michael McDowell , David Ragan, and Johnson. Matt DiBenedetto led the most laps, holding off Denny Hamlin for his first career Cup Series victory, also getting Go FAS Racing its first win, and the first win for the Ford Taurus in NASCAR since 2005 (a model that no longer has factory support due to being discontinued); following the win, Go FAS Racing announced that, with the winnings from the race, they would be switching to factory-supported Mustangs.

Round 27: British NASCAR Grand Prix by Domestos

Noah Howe started on the pole. This was the first NASCAR Cup Series event held at Brands Hatch, as well as the first Cup Series event held outside the United States since 1988, and the first points-paying Cup Series race held outside the United States since 1952 (not counting races at Twin Ring Motegi and Tokyo Superspeedway). The race was relatively clean; the only major incident of the day occurred on the Pilgrims Drop, when road course ringer Nelson Piquet Jr. made contact with Jimmie Johnson, sending them into the wall and Piquet Jr. into a violent barrel-roll. Noah Howe was able to hold off a hard-charging Ryan Blaney for his fourth career win, clinching Rookie of the Year in the process, as well as winning the Unocal 76 Challenge.

Round 28: Southern 500

William Byron won the pole, becoming the youngest Southern 500 pole winner. The race was delayed a few hours due to rain. Ryan Newman spun after contact with Daniel Suarez. Joey Logano had to make two unscheduled stops due to flat tires. Brad Keselowski slammed the wall, collecting Lyle White and Macy Waltrip. Daniel Hemric spun and collected Michael McDowell, Jimmie Johnson, and Denny Hamlin. Kyle Busch slammed the wall after having a flat tire as Erik Jones held off Kyle Larson for his third career win.

Round 29: Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard

Kevin Harvick started on the pole. Landon Cassill slammed the wall hard. Erik Jones and Brad Keselowski made contact, sending Keselowski hard into the tire barrier and on his roof. Kyle Busch had a tire go down and had to pit, but the engine blew up and the car caught fire. Kurt Busch slammed the wall along with Paul Menard, Parker Kligerman and Jimmie Johnson. Kyle Larson hit the wall as well as Alex Bowman. Harvick dominated and held off Logano for his third win of the season and his second Brickyard 400.

Round 30: Star Wars: Duel of the Fates 500

Tony Stewart started on the pole. Kyle Busch got into the wall and had to pit, going two laps down to fix the damage. William Byron spun while Logano made contact with Daniel Suarez and Chase Elliott, causing him and Elliott to pit. Kurt Busch slammed the wall after having a flat tire, sparking the Big One and collecting Jimmie Johnson, Alex Bowman, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Rodney Clay, Kelly Walker, Matt DiBennedetto, and 12 other cars, and sending Clay into a violent barrel-roll. Stewart dominated all day, taking his fifth win of the season, as well as the Unocal 76 Challenge.

Round 31: Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer 400

Brad Keselowski started on the pole for the first-ever Cup Series race at the historic Milwaukee Mile. Alex Bowman spun after contact with Austin Dillon and Reed Sorenson slammed the wall. Truex spun while leading after making contact with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Truex was able to take the lead from Kyle Busch and pull away for second win of the year. After the race, Erik Jones' car failed post-race inspection, relegating him to a last place finish, making it the first time that a driver was disqualified in the PCS under the new inspection rule.

Round 32: Music City 420

William Byron started on pole. All cars had decals memorializing the late Sheldon Johnson. Jimmie Johnson spun and collected Erik Jones, sending him to the garage. Elliott slid into the infield on the restart. Ryan Newman spun into the wall along with Denny Hamlin as Daniel Suarez slammed the wall and spun. Chase Elliott was able to drive from the back to take the lead from Kevin Harvick and hold off teammate Alex Bowman for his fifth win of the season.

Round 33: Susan G. Komen for the Cure 250

Noah Howe won the pole with a new track record for the first ever Cup Series race at Mid-Ohio. Joey Logano had to go to the garage before the race to change a broken drive shaft. Chase Elliott was taken out after blowing an engine. Denny Hamlin dominated for much of the day. Ryan Blaney was taken out after brake issues. Kyle Larson took the lead from the dominant Hamlin and held off Truex Jr. for his second win of the year.

Round 34: 1000Bulbs.com 500

Chase Elliott started on the pole. The race started on Sunday, when it started raining at lap 58, with the rain postponing the remainder of the race until Monday. The race started on Monday (now airing on Cartoon Network) with Ryan Blaney leading the field to green. During the middle stages, Joey Logano bumped Alex Bowman from the lead collecting Kyle Larson, Jimmie Johnson, and others. Clint Bowyer won Stage 2 under caution. The second big one happened when Kurt Busch got into Byron. collecting Logano and others. Bowyer spun into the banking of turn 3, leaving him stuck. The third big one happened with 7 laps to go caused by Kyle Busch collecting Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick and several others. Brendan Gaughan took the worst hit as his car ended up flipping midair once before landing back on its wheels. Blaney led the field back to green with three laps to go on the last lap Ryan Newman was leading when Blaney made the winning move bumping into Newman, causing a photo finish. On the replay it showed Blaney beating Newman by .007 seconds. This finish marked the 7th closest finish in NASCAR history, as well as the first points win for the Dodge Neon.

Coming to the finish, though, Chris Buescher and Jeffrey Earnhardt spun separately in the trioval and hit the wall. While Earnhardt's #8 Camaro stayed on the ground, Buescher's #37 Malibu lifted enough to send the car flying, and in a near-replay of the Coke Zero 400 Tragedy of 2014, the car's rear-end hit the catchfence, rupturing the fuel cell and causing an explosion. However, safety procedures implemented after the Tragedy ensured nobody was injured, and Buescher was also uninjured, and his car wasn't as damaged as Kasey Kahne's was. Despite this, the catchfence was destroyed, celebrations in victory lane were muted, and Tim Johnson made an angry phone call to JTG Daugherty Racing. Several hours after the race, investigations of the other Daugherty Malibus revealed that their fuel cells were made of a cheaper material, supposedly to save money; the cells also weren't stock, instead having been taken off of one of Daugherty's old Car of Tomorrow chassis that had been languishing in the shop since the switch to the Strictly Stock Car.

Round 35: Hollywood Casino 400

Daniel Hemric started the race on pole. Hamlin dominated and led the most laps in the race. Late in the race, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Matt Tifft wrecked to set up an overtime finish. During the first overtime, Hemric and Daniel Suarez crashed right before the white flag came out, setting up a second overtime finish. During the second overtime, Hamlin held off Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch to win the race, his fifth win of the season.

Round 36: Iowa Corn 400

Denny Hamlin started on pole. Martin Truex Jr. dominated most of the race. Chase Elliott was forced to the garage with a broken axle and returned to the race several laps down. Ty Dillon spun while Austin Dillon and Clint Bowyer both had flat tires. Kyle Busch and Aric Almirola made contact and both spun collecting Ryan Preece and Jimmie Johnson. Hamlin and Joey Logano made contact, putting Logano in the wall and spinning with a flat tire. William Byron passed Truex in turn four on the final lap to score his first career Panasonic Cup Series win.

Round 37: AAA Texas 500

Kevin Harvick started on pole. Chase Elliott slammed the wall and went several laps down. Brad Keselowski got into the wall and was slammed into by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Corey LaJoie got into the wall twice. Jimmie Johnson led several laps until he got into the wall. Harvick got a pit road penalty and went a lap down. Harvick eventually got back on the lead lap and took the lead from Almirola, but was passed with two laps to go by Macy Waltrip, who took her second win of the season.

Going into the final two races of the season, the championship battle has come down to Tony Stewart, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, and rookie Noah Howe.

Round 38: RWBY 400

Kyle Busch started on pole. This was the final fall Tokyo race, as both races will be run as a doubleheader on Independence Day weekend starting in 2020. For WBC's telecast, all of the normal pit reporters were replaced by the main cast of RWBY to promote the premiere of Volume 7. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had a tire go down and brought out the first caution. The day was marked by intense four-wide racing. Chase Elliott had a flat tire and slammed the wall, ending his championship run. John Hunter Nemechek had a flat tire that sparked the largest crash in NASCAR since the 2002 Aaron's 312, involving 28 of 60 cars, and sending four cars (these being Harrison Rhodes, Amber Lucky, Bayley Curry, and a Lend-Lease Dodge Stratus driven by Sterling Marlin) on their roofs, with Lucky getting the worst of it, barrel-rolling violently down the backstretch and being hit by multiple cars while in the air; she walked away uninjured, but the race was red-flagged for three hours to clean up the mess. Noah Howe dominated for most of the day, holding off a charging Tony Stewart and Kyle Larson to take his fifth career win. In doing so, Howe clinched the 2019 Panasonic Cup Series championship, becoming the first rookie to do so at the Cup level (Chase Elliott had won the 2014 Nationwide Series championship as a rookie), and giving Delma Cowart his first championship as an owner in an upset. It was also the first championship won by an Aston Martin driver, though Aston Martin will not win the Manufacturer's Championship, expected to come in third behind Dodge (with Chevrolet being the Manufacturer's Champion for 2019, having clinched the title at Iowa). Cowart was in tears when interviewed in victory lane.

Round 39: PrimeStar 500

Denny Hamlin started on pole after qualifying was canceled due to rain. Martin Truex Jr. went a lap down after a pit road miscalculation. John Hunter Nemechek had a tire go down and spun. Hamlin went a lap down after trouble on pit road. In a stunning upset, Kyle Busch was beaten in a photo-finish at the line by Amber Lucky, who got her first career win and first Cup Series win for GMS Racing; Lucky became the third woman to win in the Cup Series after Danica Patrick and Macy Waltrip, and the fifth woman to win in NASCAR overall including Shawna Robinson and Hailie Deegan. Following the race, Noah Howe was declared the 2019 NASCAR Panasonic Cup Series champion.

This was the final full-time race for Paul Menard and Dave Blaney, who will continue running limited schedules.

Results

No. Race Pole Position Most Laps Led Winning Driver Manufacturer/Model
1 Harley-Davidson 250 Lyle White Chase Elliott Kyle Busch Toyota Camry
Busch Clash Paul Menard Paul Menard Bo Abraham Nissan Sentra
Gander RV Duel #1 William Byron Kevin Harvick Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Camaro
Gander RV Duel #2 Alex Bowman Tony Stewart Joey Logano Dodge Neon
2 Daytona 500 William Byron Matt DiBenedetto Tony Stewart Chevrolet Camaro
3 Dodge Challenger 400 Aric Almirola Max McLaughlin Brad Keselowski Dodge Charger
4 Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube Kevin Harvick Kevin Harvick Ben Rhodes Jaguar XE
5 TicketGuardian 500 Ryan Blaney Kyle Busch Chase Elliott Chevrolet Camaro
6 Auto Club 400 Austin Dillon Kyle Busch Tony Stewart Chevrolet Camaro
7 STP 500 Joey Logano Brad Keselowski Chase Elliott Chevrolet Camaro
8 Ford EcoBoost 400 Jimmie Johnson Denny Hamlin Denny Hamlin Toyota Camry
9 Food City 500 Chase Elliott Ryan Blaney Noah Howe Aston Martin DB11 Superleggera
10 Toyota Owners 400 Kevin Harvick Martin Truex Jr. Martin Truex Jr. Dodge Challenger
11 GEICO Talladega 500 Austin Dillon Chase Elliott Chase Elliott Chevrolet Camaro
12 Gander RV 400 Chase Elliott Chase Elliott Noah Howe Aston Martin DB11 Superleggera
13 Tyson Holly Farms 400 Kevin Harvick Kevin Harvick Brad Keselowski Dodge Charger
Panasonic Open Daniel Hemric Daniel Hemric Kyle Larson Dodge Challenger
NASCAR Panasonic All-Star Race Tony Stewart Kevin Harvick Kyle Larson Dodge Challenger
14 Coca-Cola World 600 William Byron Martin Truex Jr. Tony Stewart Chevrolet Camaro
15 QuikTrip Motegi 400 William Byron Kyle Busch Kyle Busch Toyota Camry
16 Folds of Honor Tokyo 500 Joey Logano Joey Logano Noah Howe Aston Martin DB11 Superleggera
17 SpongeBob SquarePants 400 Brad Keselowski Kyle Larson Kyle Larson Dodge Challenger
18 Toyota/Save Mart 350 Kyle Larson Martin Truex Jr. Ryan Blaney Dodge Charger
19 Overton's 400 Austin Dillon Kevin Harvick Alex Bowman Chevrolet Camaro
Daytona Late Model Classic Geoff Bodine Rusty Wallace Rusty Wallace Gen-4 Dodge Intrepid
20 Pepsi Firecracker 400 Joey Logano Austin Dillon Justin Haley Chevrolet Camaro
21 Quaker State 400 presented by Advanced Auto Parts Daniel Suarez Kyle Busch Kurt Busch Dodge Challenger
22 Foxwood Resort Casino 301 Brad Keselowski Kyle Busch Tony Stewart Chevrolet Camaro
23 Gander Outdoors 400 Kevin Harvick Kevin Harvick Macy Waltrip Chevrolet Camaro
24 Go Bowling at the Glen Chase Elliott Chase Elliott Chase Elliott Chevrolet Camaro
Circuit City Summer Showdown Kaz Grala Kyle Larson Christopher Bell Toyota Camry
25 Consumer Energy 400 Brad Keselowski Brad Keselowski Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Camaro
26 World Wildlife Foundation 500 Denny Hamlin Matt DiBenedetto Matt DiBenedetto 2018 Ford Taurus
27 British NASCAR Grand Prix by Domestos Noah Howe Noah Howe Noah Howe Aston Martin DB11 Superleggera
28 Southern 500 William Byron Kyle Busch Erik Jones Toyota Camry
29 Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard Kevin Harvick Kevin Harvick Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Camaro
30 Star Wars: Duel of the Fates 500 Tony Stewart Tony Stewart Tony Stewart Chevrolet Camaro
31 Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer 400 Brad Keselowski Martin Truex Jr. Martin Truex Jr. Dodge Challenger
32 Music City USA 420 William Byron Chase Elliott Chase Elliott Chevrolet Camaro
33 Susan G. Komen for the Cure 250 Noah Howe Denny Hamlin Kyle Larson Dodge Challenger
34 1000Bulbs.com 500 Chase Elliott Ryan Blaney Ryan Blaney Dodge Neon
35 Hollywood Casino 400 Daniel Hemric Denny Hamlin Denny Hamlin Toyota Camry
36 Iowa Corn 400 Denny Hamlin Martin Truex Jr. William Byron Chevrolet Camaro
37 AAA Texas 500 Kevin Harvick Kevin Harvick Macy Waltrip Chevrolet Camaro
38 RWBY 400 Kyle Busch Noah Howe Noah Howe Aston Martin DB11 Superleggera
39 PrimeStar 500 Denny Hamlin Kyle Busch Amber Lucky Toyota Avalon

Cars Used in 2019 Season

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