It's waaay too early to predict, but the Earnhardt-Letarte Farewell Tour could prove to be something pretty special. And remember, Earnhardt collected eight top-10s in the 2013 Chase, including a trio of runner-up efforts, so this team has been surging for some time.
Here's a gem from the ESPN Stats & Information group: Dale Jr. is the fifth driver since 2000 to begin a season with consecutive top-2 finishes.
The question facing the 88 this week: How will Junior's sudden spike in performance translate to the mile-and-a-half at Las Vegas, where Earnhardt has just two top-5s in 14 races and a rather pedestrian average finish of 15.6?
Brad Keselowski produced one of the most memorable moments from the 2012 season in the finale at Homestead-Miami, hoisting a tall glass of Miller Lite and not holding back in an interview on "SportsCenter."
It was 100 percent Brad K, uncut.
"I got a buzz going -- I been drinking for a little bit," Keselowski told the viewing audience about an hour after winning his first Cup title. " ? It doesn't get any better than this."
It certainly didn't get any better in 2013. Ten months after celebrating a NASCAR championship at the highest level, Keselowski failed to make the Chase. The Penske driver finished 14th in the standings, with a lone victory in the fall race at Charlotte to go with his 16 top-10s.
But Keselowski is off to a great start in 2014, recording consecutive third-place finishes at Daytona and Phoenix. In fact, if you consider the last four events of 2013, he and crew chief Paul Wolfe have collected five top-six finishes in six races.
And the Penske gang has this new elimination-style qualifying figured out. Keselowski will start Sunday's race alongside teammate and pole winner Joey Logano. A week ago at Phoenix, Keselowski won the pole and Logano started second.
"We've been very fortunate," Keselowski said after qualifying Friday. "The cars are fast, and I don't think it's much more difficult than that. When you've got fast cars, it makes your life a lot easier, and Team Penske has done a great job of finding speed in qualifying trim."
Not only this week but for the next dozen weeks leading up to the Indy 500/Coke 600 weekend?
The last thing Busch needs right now is a distraction. But he has a doozy, and it's self-imposed.
Busch announced Tuesday that he intends to do the NASCAR/IndyCar double on May 25, becoming only the fourth driver to attempt it and the first since Robby Gordon tried it in 2004. Busch will drive a Dallara-Honda for Andretti Autosport in Indianapolis before flying to Charlotte, N.C., to pilot the No. 41 SHR Chevrolet in the Coca-Cola 600.
The cause behind the double is a good one: to promote the Armed Forces Foundation and build awareness for post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.
"I'm driving for our military," Busch told reporters Saturday, "and trying to push the focus around our Memorial Day weekend to recognize our military in a fashion that has never really been done in a unique platform like this."