Nascar Racing

Sprint Cup at Sonoma from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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NASCAR hits the road course at Sonoma today and it is anybody’s guess who will win. There are several drivers that are very good at road course racing but, the best ones are not necessarily what are called “ringers” anymore. In fact, many will tell you being a “ringer” doesn’t mean much at all at the end of the race unless you end up in victory lane. That’s something that hasn’t happened lately and it really hasn’t happened much at all. The difference these days is that almost all of the Cup drivers and teams take road racing as a challenge and more want to be good at it than just survive it.

Two of the fastest will be starting out front today and it is no secret that the front row contains two very good road racers, in Marcos Ambrose and Jeff Gordon. Of course, there are several more good road racers right behind them, too. In fact, it is hard to find someone that isn’t a hard charger on a road course in the top twenty five or so.

That alone doesn’t necessarily mean any of them could win but it does show how the perception of road racing in NASCAR has changed over the years. No longer is it something that comes along twice a year and everyone just wants to survive it. No, now it is something that is as competitive as short track racing and there tends to be the same amount of strong emotions displayed often during a road race as there is at a short track. All of the drivers seem to enjoy the Road Circuits and each one of them wants to be the one in Victory lane at the end of the day. None of them wants to wear the title of being bad at Road Racing. Since Cup drivers are called the best race car drivers in the world, there is no way they want to known as the worst Road Racer in the world.

What I expect for the race today is some very aggressive driving by most of the drivers and some of them have something to prove. It does seem that some were conservative in practice and qualifying and will very likely be wanting to move towards the front as quickly as they can.

One I’m thinking of in particular is someone we haven’t heard from much in Cup lately and that would be, Robby Gordon. He is a very good road racer (amongst other types of racing) and should be someone we will be hearing about throughout the afternoon today. I think this is the first time in many years, that every NASCAR Cup team has at least one strong road racer in their camp and I do believe that is going to make today’s race very interesting (and competitive) from beginning to end. That means it is going to be very hard to pick who will actually end up in Victory Lane at the end of the day. I’m leaning very heavily towards the two starting out front today, but as we have all seen more than once this year, anything can happen to Jeff Gordon and the same holds true for Marcos Ambrose.

Oh well, enough of that for now. From this fan’s view, I think the road courses are some of the most interesting races of the year in the NASCAR series. It is good to see how serious the drivers and teams take their jaunts on tracks like Sonoma and Watkins Glen. Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying here. I love the oval tracks just as much or more than the road courses, it’s just that I love the intensity the drivers display on Road courses these days. There is usually something going on at all times somewhere in the pack someplace on the track. Honestly… it’s not at all like it used to be.

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© June 24, 2012 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
All audio productions by and PodCastNorm Productions

By Rusty Norman

Amateur writer, NASCAR Fan, musician and former local Stock Car racer.