The 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season has come to a close and these are the top 10 teams after the final checkered flag flew.
Furniture Row Racing A no-brainer thanks to Martin Truex Jr.’s championship season and the eye-popping numbers he put on the board. MTJ won eight times including the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 to win the title and scored 19 top-five finishes in 36 races. But don’t forget what Rookie of the Year Erik Jones did in the team’s sister car, knocking down 14 top-10 runs along the way.
Joe Gibbs Racing After a slow start, JGR put things into high gear around the midway point of the season and rolled into the playoffs with three drivers in the hunt for the title. Kyle Busch led the way and made it to The Championship 4, coming up short in his bid for a second Cup Series title. Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth added three more wins to Busch’s total of five, and Daniel Suarez had a remarkable freshman year for a guy who didn’t know he would be in Cup at this time a year ago.
Stewart-Haas Racing The three wins for this organization started with Kurt Busch’s Daytona 500 victory. Although he faded after winning "The Great American Race," teammate Kevin Harvick put together a solid campaign and peaked when the playoffs came around. Clint Bowyer was much improved over his 2016 year and even with Danica Patrick’s struggles, it was a solid overall effort for SHR.
Team Penske A Championship 4 appearance for Brad Keselowski gave "The Captain" (team owner Roger Penske) a shot at a second Cup Series crown. Keselowski was unsuccessful in his bid but was still a formidable force during the playoffs. Joey Logano’s controversial encumbered finish for his Richmond win in April kept him out of the playoffs and may go down as the most severe penalty in NASCAR history.
Chip Ganassi Racing The combination of Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray was a potent one-two punch in 2017. Larson broke through to become one of the regular season’s most dominant drivers and put four wins on the board. However, four straight DNFs spelled doom for his title hopes. McMurray was his usual consistent self and his 17 top-10 finishes earned him a playoff berth.
Hendrick Motorsports It’s hard to believe that even with putting three of its four drivers in the playoffs, it turned out to be one of Hendrick’s most trying seasons. Jimmie Johnson scored three wins early but was never found his seven-time championship form. Kasey Kahne’s Brickyard 400 win was the highlight of his season, but he was never a factor in the playoffs. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s final season was full of disappointment. But Chase Elliott, although still searching for his first career win, put on a furious charge in the playoffs and nearly made The Championship 4.
Wood Brothers Racing Ryan Blaney helped bring the iconic organization back into prominence with his stellar season. Blaney’s first Cup Series win came in thrilling fashion at Pocono when he outdueled both Harvick and Kyle Busch. He’ll move on to Team Penske next year with Paul Menard taking the wheel of the No. 21 Ford.
Richard Childress Racing Wins for Ryan Newman and a first career victory by Austin Dillon gave RCR a pair of playoff spots. Unfortunately, neither driver did much with the opportunity and with Paul Menard’s struggles thrown in, it was a challenging year for the organization.
Roush Fenway Racing A surprising year for Jack Roush’s team, which trimmed back to a pair of cars for the season. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. responded with his first two Cup Series wins coming at Talladega Superspeedway and at Daytona International Speedway in July. Trevor Bayne started strong but faded as the year rolled on. Still, Roush Fenway had a season that exceeded expectations.
JTG Daugherty Racing The team’s first year as a two-car effort could have gone better, but it wasn’t terrible. AJ Allmendinger knocked down just one top-five finish and didn’t deliver at either Sonoma or Watkins Glen International, where he came in as a favorite thanks to his prowess as a road racer. Newcomer Chris Buescher showed improvement as the year went on and ended up with four top 10s.
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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, Martin Truex Jr.
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