• Four different winners in as many races in the Sprint Cup series this season has suddenly added fuel to the idea there well could be 16 or more different winners in the first 26 races of the season, somehow diluting the idea a win all-but guarantees a berth in the Chase. Well, when was the last time this phenomenon happened? Uh, last season, when the year began with five different winners in the first five races. By race No. 26, there were still only 13 different winners. Rest easy, folks. Win and you’re in.
• In four races so far this season, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has one top-five and two top-10 finishes, including a career-best second last weekend at Bristol, Tenn. In all of last season – his rookie year in Cup – Stenhouse had one top-five and three top-10s. Clearly, he is a good example of a driver making progress the more time he spends on the track.
• Something I don’t quite understand: Each time Fox broadcasts knockout qualifying sessions it typically ends up about 12-15 minutes behind live action simply because it insists on showing every minute of on-track action in each round. Yet on race day – which is far more relevant than qualifying – the network has no problem breaking away from live action in the race in order to run commercial breaks. What gives?