Nascar Racing

Sprint Cup at the Brickyard from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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Rusty Norman
There’s just something about Indy… The place is prestigious and historic and it has become even more so since NASCAR started racing there. It has always been held in awe by drivers and crews and yes, NASCAR drivers and crews are no different. Winning at the “Brickyard” is something every driver wants to add to his resume.

Actually that’s one of the problems. Some need to win to have a chance at making the Chase and some just want to win just because it’s the Brickyard. That could mean that even if one of the more obvious possible winners has a chance to take the win, there are even more drivers that will try to keep him from it. That could have some interesting repercussions on who actually ends up in Victory Lane by the end of today’s race.

It is already a known fact that the track is sensitive to temperature changes and the practice and qualifying sessions yesterday gave us even more insight into that sensitivity. In short, the early morning practice showed some of the fastest lap times and those that had the faster times didn’t go as fast in the afternoon practice or during qualifying. This fan thinks that is going to be a very important factor when it comes down to the final laps.

Indy is a fast, relatively flat track and doesn’t leave a driver with much room for error. They will have to hit their marks, especially when they come off those long, fast straightaways and it is always a challenge when they go two wide or more in the turns. There seems to be plenty of room on the straights but those four turns and the short shoots tend to get a bit crowded.

There has been plenty of talk about which driver will actually win and many give the nod to those that have already won more than one. There has been plenty of talk about how strong the Hendrick teams are at Indy and it appears to this fan they will make a good showing again this year. I do expect them to be in the hunt near the end of the day and any one of the four could pull off a win today.

The Toyotas, especially those from the JGR camp, have been showing some muscle this season though. Denny Hamlin sits on the pole and has been fast in recent races (especially last weekend when he almost pulled off the victory after a late race error in communication with his crew chief.) As for the rest of JGR, Kyle and Joey both have something to prove this weekend.

The Roush Fords also look pretty tough this weekend and Carl Edwards in particular is starting outside pole. He and his #99 team need more than just a front row start though. With the crew chief change made over the off week, they need to finish the race somewhere near the front, preferably leading when the checkered flag drops. I expect to see both Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth making their presence known this afternoon also.

If the truth be known, at least from this fan’s view, we could probably mention just about everyone in the field as a possible winner for today’s race. Of course you and I both know not all of them even have a fighting chance and the winner will probably come from one of the teams I’ve already mentioned. That is not a statement against RPM, MWR or any of the smaller teams at all and I won’t rule out the possibility of one of them having the opportunity to “kiss the bricks” at the end of the day. One of the things about NASCAR Sprint Cup in these days is that just about anyone from any team can win simply because the cars are so evenly matched.

Today’s race at the Brickyard will likely be a fuel mileage race and maintaining and gaining track position on the track or in the pits will make a big difference when it comes time to take the checkered flag. This could be the day that that old nemesis “racing luck” could make that 180 degree turn for one or more teams and change the face of the Chase over the next seven weeks. (At least, I know that is what a few hope for…)

With all of the craziness going on lately in these summer months, it is good to start the rest of the season at a place with such grandeur, prestige and historic excellence as the Brickyard at Indianapolis. From this point on until the end of the Chase, there are no more breaks, no more time for teams to catch a breath and absolutely no time left to have bad weekends. From this weekend on, it is all about finishing at or near the front and getting wins for those that are short on the points side. Yes, from Indy on, it is all about making the Chase and winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© July 28, 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.