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The Best NASCAR Races of the 2023 Season (So Far)

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Joshua Lipowski

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It’s the one off-week of the 2023 NASCAR season, and it seems like as good of a time as any to take a look back at the season so far. The 2023 season has had its’ fair share of great events, and great moments. Which of these moments were a part of the five best races of the 2023 season?

5. Pala Casino 400 at Auto Club Speedway

For the final time, the Cup Series pulled into the 2.0 mile Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. While the finish was anti-climactic, the race produced its’ iconic five-wide restarts and 28 lead changes. Not only that, but, according to Racing Reference, the race produced 21.7 passes per green flag lap.

There was always action on track, and it proved that the Next-Gen car would continue to deliver on intermediate race tracks. Kyle Busch took home the win by passing the dominant car of the day, Ross Chastain, late. Busch also overcame a speeding penalty from early in the race.

4. Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Charlotte Motor Speedway just seems to deliver with this next-gen car. Another exciting race with multiple different leaders as each of the three stages brought a different winner. Despite a red flag in the middle of the race and already being delayed a day, it did not dampen the spirits of drivers or fans.

Ryan Blaney was able to take the lead on a late restart after a tough last pit stop. He would hold off a hard-charging William Byron en route to breaking a 59 race winless streak. Blaney led 163 laps on the night.

3. Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway

Admittedly, this race was not as exciting during the first half, but during the second half, it kicked off. Martin Truex Jr. was the dominant during the first half leading 145 of the first 150 laps, but Ross Chastain took the lead for the first time on lap 151. From there, Chastain became the dominant car before Kyle Larson started challenging.

The race unraveled for both during a late-race restart when Chastain pushed up and both drivers went into the wall. William Byron took the lead for the first time that day, and he would hold off Kevin Harvick on a late restart for the win.

2. Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway

A race that featured some interesting tire strategy and a surprise face up near the front towards the end. The race was dominated early by William Byron and Kyle Larson before Joe Gibbs Racing stole the show with Denny Hamlin, Christopher Bell, and Martin Truex Jr. A late caution jumbled up the pit strategy putting Josh Berry up front with Larson alongside.

Larson would survive a couple of late restarts to pull away for the win. Berry would finish second in what would put him on the map for potential Cup rides for next season.

1. AdventHealth 400 at Kansas Speedway

What other race could possibly be number one on this list? Comers and goers, driver tempers, great racing, and a spectacular finish. After spinning out early in the race, Kyle Larson found himself in the lead in the closing laps with Denny Hamlin hot on his tail.

A high-speed chess game of aerodynamics ensued as Hamlin looked for the perfect time to strike. The final lap was that time as Hamlin would nudge Larson into the wall and pull away for his first win of the season.

Off the track. Noah Gragson said it was time for someone to confront Ross Chastain as the two got into an altercation post-race. As for whether or not it was justified, the jury is still out on that one. However, it made for great television.

The 2023 season has had some great races so far, and the second half of the season should produce some more great races. With the playoffs in sight, and good drivers in danger of missing them, these races will be critical.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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