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Chevrolet Struggling at Critical Point of Season

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The constant fight for supremacy among manufacturers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series proves to be one of the most compelling battles each season.

Chevrolet and Ford seemed to hold an advantage over Toyota when it came to the results column earlier this year. However, the tides have turned as the Playoffs approach.

For the second consecutive race, Chevrolet only placed one car in the top-10 with A.J. Allmendinger finishing ninth in Sunday’s I LOVE NEW YORK 355 at Watkins Glen International.

Now Chevrolet is searching for the speed that Toyota has.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s struggles to begin the season were well documented while Furniture Row Racing’s two car stable showed consistent speed.

Both organizations are now dominating and for the second straight weekend, all six cars placed in the top-10 at Watkins Glen in addition to capturing the top-four positions.

Toyota’s rise highlights concern for Chevrolet. While the manufacturer already has five cars in the post-season with wins, it will take an improved level of performance to compete for back-to-back championships.

Kyle Larson and Jimmie Johnson carried the banner through the first half of 2017, winning a combined five races and contesting Toyota’s top car of Martin Truex Jr. on a weekly basis.

However, both Larson and Johnson performed poorly in recent months.

In the seven races since Larson’s victory at Michigan in June, he has posted five finishes outside the top-20.

The decline has been worse for Johnson. Following his win at Dover, his best finish has been 10th at Michigan and New Hampshire, and he has placed outside the top-25 five times in nine races.

Both competitors showed championship promise early in the year, but now it will take a significant turnaround to climb back into contention.

With four events remaining before Chicagoland, Chevrolet has time to improve. Michigan and Bristol will be very telling on where the manufacturer stands as bowtie drivers won both spring races.

Showcasing strength will instill confidence heading into the post-season but continuing to struggle over the next month could mean an early exit to the Playoffs.

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Jason Schultz

Jason Schultz aspires to enter the public relations field of NASCAR. Schultz, 19, attends UNC Charlotte and is a communication studies major with a focus in public relations. In addition to contributing to POPULAR SPEED, Schultz produces podcasts for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Dirty Mo Radio. He also completed a semester as a social media intern at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Each year, he volunteers as the social media correspondent for Autism Delaware's Drive for Autism golf tournament featuring NASCAR personalities and the AAA 400 Drive for Autism Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover.