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Moments from the 2023 NASCAR Season You (Probably) Forgot About

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Joshua Lipowski

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A lot happened throughout the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, and it can be hard to keep track of everything that occurred. Some moments were either mostly or completely forgotten about throughout the 2023 season, but what were some of the most interesting?

5. Martin Truex Jr. Breaking His Winless Streak

Martin Truex Jr.’s season finished under difficult circumstances, but his regular season was great. However, many forget that he came into the 2023 regular season with something to prove. Truex Jr. was reportedly mulling retirement, and many wondered whether or not his career was on the downturn.

Well, Truex Jr. proved that he still has what it takes to win races as he led 68 laps on his way to a Monday win in a rain-delayed race at Dover. It was Truex’s first win in 54 races, with his last coming at Richmond in the fall of 2021. He would go on to win the regular season Championship, and he will stick around at JGR for at least one more year.

4. Kyle Busch and Ross Chastain’s Early Season Success

While Kyle Busch’s and Ross Chastain’s seasons both ended with Round of 12 Playoff exits, people forget that in the early part of the season, both drivers were looking like serious Championship contenders. Ross Chastain led the points standings after seven of the first 14 races of the season, and he won at Nashville.

Kyle Busch, on the other hand, won three races in the first 15 events of the season, and he climbed as high as third in the points following Atlanta’s summer race. However, both finished the season not even close to the Championship despite their great starts to the season. Can they put together a full season in 2024?

3. Hendrick Motorsports Penalty Appeals

Following the Phoenix race in the spring, all four Hendrick Motorsports teams were fined $100,000, crew chief suspensions for four races, loss of 100 driver and owner points, and the loss of 10 Playoff points for modifying hood louvers. This combined for the largest fine in the history of NASCAR for one race team at $400,000, but the story did not end there.

After an appeal, the points penalty was rescinded, and NASCAR proceeded to restore points for Kaulig Racing, who was penalized for the same violation. A bizarre scenario, but, NASCAR eventually bopped Hendrick again after the spring race at Richmond for modifying the greenhouse. This time, it was only William Byron and Alex Bowman who were penalized, but this penalty stood.

2. The CRASH at the Coliseum

The NASCAR season began with a non-points event, the second annual Clash at the LA Coliseum. The first edition of the event was very well received, and it was a nice change of pace for an event that seemed to be on its dying legs. However, this year’s race devolved into a complete wreck fest.

There were 16 caution flags, and, with caution laps not counting towards the 150-lap race, it dragged on and on. If anyone thought the LA Coliseum could host a points race with Auto Club Speedway leaving the schedule, this race either debunked that theory or made their argument a lot steeper. However, with it being a non-points race, people moved on pretty quickly, but, will the 2024 event have a similar outcome?

1. Ryan Blaney’s Bad Preseason/Early Season Press

It’s hard to believe now how high criticism was of Ryan Blaney heading into 2023. In 2022, Blaney failed to win a race, the only Penske car to do so, while his teammate Joey Logano won the Championship. Kyle Petty spoke out and criticized Blaney for not winning enough.

On top of that, Blaney was in the midst of a long losing streak with his last win coming in August of 2021 at Daytona. Well, he broke that 59-race losing streak at Charlotte in May at the Coca-Cola 600. Eventually, he would silence his critics even more by winning the Cup Series Championship.

What are some other forgotten moments in the 2023 Cup Series season? With so much going on, there were a lot of moments that slipped between the cracks.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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