A common trend among NASCAR drivers in recent years has been to race in different series outside of the Cup Series, and more drivers plan on doing so this year.
Kyle Larson has participated in midget races and sprint car races in previous years, and he plans to continue to do so this season. Kasey Kahne is also planning to race in 20-30 races outside of the Cup Series, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. also announced similar plans.
The NASCAR season is long, strenuous grind, and it’s challenging for teams and drivers. So, it’s worth asking… are drivers stretching themselves too thin by running in races outside of NASCAR?
Travel can wear down drivers anyway, and if they’re running in multiple races per week, it can really wear them down.
There’s also the risk of injury by running in extra races — especially since the equipment isn’t as advanced as it is in NASCAR. There’s preparation involved in running midget or sprint car races, and it can take a lot out of a driver to prepare for so much each week.
On the flip side, running in extra races didn’t have a negative effect on Kyle Larson last season. He won Cup Series races and several midget races during the season, and was a contender to win the Cup Series title before suffering engine failure.
For the drivers who are running in extra races in 2018, it will be worth monitoring how they fare this season. Will the extra miles bog them down when the postseason rolls around? Or will it actually benefit them?
Kahne, Larson and Stenhouse all made the postseason last year, so keep an eye on them as they run in extra races in 2018. If they struggle with the extra workload, expect their respective teams to address the issue in 2019.