2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
The 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series was the 70th season of NASCAR professional stock car racing in the United States, and the 47th modern-era Cup series season. The season began at Daytona International Speedway with the Advance Auto Parts Clash, the Can-Am Duel qualifying races and the 60th running of the Daytona 500. The regular season ended with the Brickyard 400 on September 9, 2018. The playoffs ended with the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 18, 2018. Martin Truex Jr. was the defending champion, having won his first in the series.
The 2018 season was the fourth of the current 10-year television contract with Fox Sports and NBC Sports and the third of a five-year race sanctioning agreement with all tracks. It is the first season to feature the Regular Season Championship trophy, which is awarded at the final race before the playoffs. Kyle Busch clinched the MENCS Regular Season Championship trophy at the end of Stage 2 of the 2018 Brickyard 400.
The season marked the debut of the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, which replaced the outgoing Chevrolet SS and became the first coupe-based Chevrolet stock car since the Monte Carlo SS was discontinued in 2017. This was also the last season for Kasey Kahne, who announced his intention to retire from racing at the end of the season and was forced to step away in early October 2018 after not being medically cleared to continue, as well as BK Racing who sold its equipment to Front Row Motorsports, and Furniture Row Racing, which ceased operations after 2018. It was also the final season Ford fielded the Fusion, replacing it with the Ford Mustang in 2019.
Joey Logano, driving for Team Penske in a Ford won the championship, after defeating Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch in a 1–2–3–4 finish for the "Championship 4" at the final round at Homestead. Logano won three races during the course of the season, having also won the spring race at Talladega and the fall race at Martinsville. Austin Dillon was the Daytona 500 winner. Kyle Busch and Harvick won the most races with eight each, with Denny Hamlin and seven-time series champion Jimmie Johnson concluding their first winless seasons in full-time Cup competition. The 2018 season also marked the fifteenth consecutive and final time that Johnson made the playoffs since its inception in 2004. Erik Jones and Chase Elliott won their first career victories and William Byron became Rookie of the Year.