We are in our first off-week of the 2016 Sprint Cup series season. Let's face it, if you are a team that is still struggling and searching for answers, this is a very welcome break, but it's not the be-all-end-all cure.
Yes, it gives teams time to refresh your road crew. It also gives them time to rebuild or fix beat up racecars. There is a lot to accomplish and really only a short time to get it done, because the next off-weekend isn't until Father's Day weekend in mid-June.
When I look at all of our top organizations, there have been some pleasant surprises. Rookies Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott are running awfully well. Chase is 16th in the points with three top 10 finishes in five races, while Ryan is right behind him in 17th with two top 10s.
I am also encouraged by the improvement of Roush-Fenway Racing. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. gave them a strong fifth-place finish on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway. I think that organization is starting to show some strength, which is great for them, but it's also great for our sport as it brings another organization back into the competitive picture.
On the opposite side of things, despite a 10th-place finish last Sunday by Jamie McMurray, Chip Ganassi Racing is probably the only top organization I still see in a funk.
However, I would wager that no matter what shop you walked into, what driver or crew chief you talked to, you will hear the same thing across the board -- "we have a lot of work to do." Even Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus, with two wins in five races, would say the same.
The reality is you simply can't sit still. Everyone knows their competitors are working day and night on the new rules package, trying to find that edge to make their cars just a little bit better than the rest of the competition.
The bottomline is even if you are running well, finishing well and clicking on all eight cylinders, you better be working equally as hard or you'll be behind in a blink of an eye.