It’s been a fun and hotly contested NASCAR season up to this point as we enter the All-Star Open race this weekend at North Wilkesboro Speedway. There have been some major fights which have brought eyeballs to the sport (maybe the wrong ones), we’ve had insane finishes, and a couple of names that maybe we didn’t expect to see so high in the standings. This was a heck of a start for the sport and the second half should only be better. Let’s break down some of the biggest headlines from NASCAR news for the first half and who you should keep an eye on in the second part of the season.
The Top 10
Most importantly, the NASCAR Cup Series Standings has a very fun top 10 drivers in it, and it will make for a fun second half of the season.
Ross Chastain at the very top is sure to cause some fire, but we are going to get to that later. Christopher Bell is following up his third-place finish from 2022 and staying in the hunt as he trails Chastain for that number one spot. Of course, Chastain’s second place finish in 2022 has ensured that no one is surprised that he is back at the top of the standings this year. My favorite driver to see crack the top 10 has been Tyler Reddick who is still just 27-years-old and doesn’t have a Top 10 career finish up until this point but has come close in the last few years.
Chastain, the Villain
It’s not hard to see that Chastain is becoming the bad boy or the villain of NASCAR racing as he continues to bump into cars, make hard contact on the track, spin cars out, take cars out, and even take a punch here or there as he has the last few weeks. Last Sunday, he got into a physical altercation with Noah Gragson.
We are to the point where owners are now threatening Chastain, putting a bounty out on him if he takes out their cars. Chastain is becoming a constant headline week after week for the wrong reasons, and it is either something fans love or hate.
One driver that we all had high hopes for and who was off to a fantastic start was Alex Bowman. He is unsure when he will return to the track after he fractured his vertebrae in a short-track accident last month. He was originally supposed to miss three to four races but has already missed three and says he is unsure when he will be back. Despite earning the points, he was unlisted in the Top 16 drivers.