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It’s 2018, and NASCAR is gearing up for another season with as much intensity as you’d expect from a sport that practically lives in the fast lane. This season is already shaping up to lap last year with tense rivalries, unexpected partnerships, game-changing rules and new car models. Buckle up, because you’re in for a ride as we take you through some of the most notable news for NASCAR in 2018.

Farewell, Junior

One of this year’s biggest changes isn’t to who is racing, but who isn’t. 2018 marks the first year of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s retirement, leaving a major hole in the NASCAR narrative we’ve grown to love over the years. Ever since throwing on his driver uniform in the 90s, Earnhardt Jr. has captivated audiences with his ability, achievements and attitude. As we say goodbye to the legacy of “Junior,” the race to fill the spotlight has officially begun for this season, and we can’t wait to see who becomes the next big name in NASCAR.

New Faces in Racing

Like any sport, NASCAR has a reasonable blend of seasoned veterans and up-and-comers, and, this year, things are tilting toward the latter as the majority of drivers taking the wheel are younger than 25. Among these fresh faces are a few names to watch for, with 21-year-old Chase Elliott topping the list. After taking home the Rookie of the Year honor last year, Elliott is poised to be a force to be reckoned with on the racetrack.

Camero ZL1 Revs Up

It’s not just new drivers that are making the headlines. For the first time, Chevrolet is introducing the Camero ZL1 to replace the Chevy SS in the 2018 Monster Energy Series. Four drivers turned the first at-speed laps of 2018 earlier this month with positive results, and we’re definitely revved up to see the sleek, new model in the mix this year.

Pit Crew News

In-race car maintenance is also set to undergo a major change this year, with over-the-wall pit crew numbers decreasing from six to five. In an effort to spotlight the expertise of the pit crew, each member will be required to wear a uniform number, a rule created to give notoriety to specific crew members who excel in performing. While it seems minor, the change has crews formulating all-new approaches to being efficient and innovative due to the loss of one-sixth of their team. Be sure to keep an eye on the pit crews this year, as they are set to be the real game changers in 2018.

While we can’t all be NASCAR drivers, that doesn’t mean we don’t need a pit stop of our own from time to time. Luckily, you’ve got your own pit crew right here with Caliber Collision. Our experts are always at the ready to restore the rhythm of your life, and get you back on the road in record time – every time. We’re excited to see what this year’s NASCAR race to the cup will bring, and will be sure to keep you updated with more auto-related news as the year speeds ahead.