And just like that, the last off weekend of the NASCAR Cup Series season has come and gone, and we're on a no-timeout run to the championship.
But there are oh so many subplots to the next 11 weeks, starting this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the final two playoff spots for the 16 who will get to race for that championship are decided.
You've got a seven-time champion in Jimmie Johnson, 18 points behind the final cutoff spot. There's Clint Bowyer, looking for a championship after coming in second in 2012. Then there's veteran Ryan Newman trying to get Roush Fenway Racing back to the forefront, not to mention Daniel Suarez trying to make the playoffs for the first time.
Those are the drivers who can get in on points. Let's not forget that for any driver in the top 30 in points, just a victory in Indianapolis can produce a playoff berth, from Paul Menard (hey, he has won at Indy before) down to Matt Tifft, who's 31st but within shouting range of 30th.
But that's the future. Let's give some credit to last weekend's Southern 500 at Darlington winner. Erik Jones made a statement with a victory. Let's delve into what that statement was.
13 and counting
Two weeks ago, I went into detail about the fact that Joe Gibbs Racing had won 12 of the first 24 races of the season, becoming just the third team in series history to do so, and the first since 1963.
Well, it just kept right on winning, getting a victory from its only driver who hadn't won yet this year in Jones. It doesn't take a whole lot of counting to total that up to 13 wins on the season.
It's now just one win off the JGR record for wins in a season, 14 in 2015. That's also the last time a team has won 13 races in a season before this year.
The modern-era (since 1972) record is certainly in danger of being shattered by JGR. That came in 2007, when Hendrick Motorsports won 18 of the 36 races. The second most is 2005, when Roush Fenway picked up 15 wins.
It's a team effort
With Jones' victory Sunday night (really, Monday morning) at Darlington, all four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers have won this season. And, given the four-car-per-team limit, it's going to be hard for them to add another winner in 2019.
Four winners for a team in a season isn't too rare. It happened last year with Stewart-Haas Racing, and this is the third time in five years that Gibbs itself has pulled it off.
However, given how strong the team has been this season, it's not out of the realm of possibilities that we could see another victory for Jones this season. Then we're talking about a rare feat, a team having four multi-time winners in a season.
But it's rare for anybody else to pull off that feat. In fact, it has happened only one other time in Cup series history. In 1956, Carl Kiekhaefer's team had six winners, with four of those drivers picking up multiple wins: Buck Baker (14 wins), Speedy Thompson (eight), Tim Flock and Herb Thomas (three each).
Always a bridesmaid?
Kyle Larson led only 44 laps Sunday night at Darlington, well down from the 124 he led in 2017 and the 284 he led last season, but he still came home with a second-place finish, locking himself into the playoffs.
That was also his ninth second-place finish since his last victory in September 2017 at Richmond. If he's able to pick up another win, a near certainty given Larson's ability and age, it would be the most runner-up finishes between victories in cup Series history.
And while Larson ranks tied for 71st on the all-time wins list with five victories -- even with Chase Elliott, Alan Kulwicki and Ward Burton, among several others -- he's tied for 40th all time with 22 runner-up finishes (with Fireball Roberts).