Nascar Racing

Saturday Night Pack(?) Racing at Daytona from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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There’s still nothing quite like racing on a Saturday night – under the lights whether it be at your local short track or at a super speedway like Daytona International Speedway. Many of us grew up on Saturday night racing at our local tracks and, for many of us, it seems to always hold a special place in our memories. Tonight at Daytona will be no different and the focus on the Military and the birthday of our Nation make is even more special.

Of course the big questions still remain to be answered…

Will it really be “pack racing” or just follow the leader for many laps (until the last fifty miles or so?) Just how aggressive will the drivers be at the beginning, middle and end of the race?

From this fan’s view, another one of those big questions is, will there be a big one and when will it happen?

How much will the pop-off valve and water temperature affect the competition for most of the race tonight?

Sure, I know there are other big questions out there, but these will do for starters, (at least from my view.)

First of all, let’s take the easiest one to answer first. I definitely think there will be a big one but when it will come into the mix tonight could be key as to who will take the trip to Victory Lane. If it comes early on in the race, it could take out several that could have won. If it comes later on or near the end, well… then it’s anyone’s guess. (Personally, it is possible there could be more than one “big one” but let’s not complicate the issue just yet.)

It is a well know fact, cautions generally breed cautions and once they start mixing it up, could mean trouble for many that can’t afford more trouble in their year. From this fan’s view there are several that need to have good finishes tonight and getting caught up in a “big one” is not at all what they hope for. Names that pop immediately into my head would be names like Carl Edwards, Kyle Bush (and brother Kurt, too), Jeff Gordon and even Kasey Kahne. Oh sure, there are others, but, these are the most obvious ones at the moment

Take Carl Edwards and Jeff Gordon, for example. They both appear to be vying for the “most unlucky driver” award for this year (if there were such a thing) and between them, it is obvious when they get up near the front and the laps start winding down, they start wondering what’s going to go wrong before the race is over. From my view, I would have to quote the song, “If it weren’t for bad luck, they’d have no luck at all” (at least in this 2012 season.)
When considering Kyle Bush’s situation, it could just be that he is having his bad luck early (luck that he usually has during Chase time) and could mean he could be more of a contender when it comes to the Chase. Then again, he is out of the top ten at the moment and only has one win. If his luck doesn’t turn toward the better soon, he could be in desperation mode, too. (As for his brother Kurt… well… He just needs a lot of things to go better for him in all areas so he can focus on his possible opportunities for 2013. That’s not saying we won’t be hearing from him for the rest of the year, but he is in 24th spot in the Cup points race and still has some “situations and challenges” to work through.)

Tonight will tell just how much the rules for the pop-off valve and water temps that are still in place will affect how the drivers approach “pack racing” and the expected “tandem draft” at opportune times during the night (especially near the end of the race.) I hope it’s not, but if it is anything like in the past restrictor plate race, all of them will be paying particular attention to the water temps and the right side of their windshields. I do expect they will press the envelope with the temps when it comes down the the final laps but I don’t expect them to take chances with them until it won’t matter anymore.

“To finish first, first you have to finish…” Hm-m-m, that does sound familiar… I wonder where I heard that before… ?

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© July 7, 2012 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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By Rusty Norman

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