Nascar Racing

Chasing the Unknowns at Kansas from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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Rusty Norman
When the Cup teams take the to the Kansas track Sunday afternoon they will have spent a lot of time on the reconfigured track but there will still be a lot of unknowns. Already the question has been raised as to whether a Chase race should take place on what essentially is a brand new track, but from this fans view, I think the NASCAR teams are up to the challenge. Whether it be teams in the actual Chase or the other thirty-one, all of them have the ability to figure out the essentially new track and the extra practice sessions haven’t hurt either.

This fan thinks NASCAR knew racing on the reconfigured track would be a challenge for the teams and that’s why they allowed the extra practice sessions. Still, the problem isn’t the challenge of very few (or no) valid notes on the track, it is that a new surface is constantly changing during the practice and qualifying sessions and will continue to do so throughout the entire racing. (That’s just the nature of newly re-surfaced tracks and has been shown to be true in the past.) The cool weather for qualifying day, showed the track could change over night and will probably do so more than once before the end of the race Sunday afternoon.

Another problem (at least from this fan’s view) is that no one yet knows very much about how the conditions will change over a longer period of actual racing time on the track. We already know it is a much faster track (since all cars qualified faster than the old track record) but it remains to be seen how it will race. It is suspected that it will be hard to pass and that track position is going to be essential for the one that finishes up in Victory Lane.

So, from this fan’s view, it looks as if two things will have great importance Sunday afternoon concerning what goes on in the pits. The first will be how the crews perform in the pits. There will be no room for errors and being just a few seconds off will translate to a lot of lost track position. The second will concern the driver and his performance entering and exiting the pits. There won’t be room for speeding penalties and controlling the entry to the pits will definitely be the drivers responsibility. With the reconfiguring, Kansas can be a bit precarious making the transition from the progressive banking to the flat apron.

This fan wonders if this race will become a fuel mileage race and has to admit he hopes it does not. I do understand fuel mileage is part of the strategy in Cup races in these recent times but I do not necessarily like how important it has become. Fuel mileage races can become a bit boring from this fans view. Oh sure, I understand it does add some drama to the end of a race but essentially it is just a waiting game rather than a competition for position.

Personally, I like side by side, nose to tail, bumping and running races and I would like to see more “rubbing is racing” finishes than wondering who will finish and who will run out of fuel. While I’m at it, I would also like to see more than just one or two racing for the checkered flag at the end of a race. The more the merrier when it comes down to taking the win sounds good to me and, as close as the competition is in Cup, there should be more than one or two cars that are capable of winning on any given weekend. I know there will be those that will disagree with me, but honestly, wouldn’t you rather watch an end to a race where the competition is tight and three or four (or even more) are fighting it out the the very end?

This is a critical race for all of the Chasers and after this weekend, it is this fan’s opinion we will really know who is in and who is out of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Although no one is actually mathematically eliminated yet (other than probably Dale Jr) it will take some miraculous intervention over the next five races for some to actually be back in it. In my opinion, if the front four Chasers continue finishing as they have, it will be hard for anyone to catch or pass them.

When it comes down to performance, no one will argue Clint Bowyer and Mark Martin of MWR have been showing just how much has changed at MWR this year. All three MWR teams have been showing strength but Bowyer and Martin in particular over the last few weeks. Either one of them might end up in Victory Lane Sunday afternoon.

Personally, (or maybe I should say from this fan’s view), this race is just about as much of a wild card as the race at Talladega. I don’t think anyone knows how many yellows there “might” be and whether or not someone that starts up front is going to finish up front.

With the uncertainties and possibilities, the points battle could have a major shakeup this weekend. Unfortunately only race day will tell that story. This could be one of the most exciting and dramatic races of the Chase or it could be one of the least exciting and least dramatic.

What we definitely know about the reconfigured Kansas track is it is definitely fast but I don’t think any of us know is how it is going to race…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 20, 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.