Nascar Racing

Will It Be Frustration or Elation At Kansas


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Well, we’re just starting the fourth race of the Chase and many have already decided it is a three man race and some have even said it is down to two. Personally, I think it is a little too early to begin talking that way, although it is probably coming down to that if things don’t change for some of those from fourth on back.

I guess you could say this fan just isn’t ready to limit the possibilities down to only three. I mean, it only takes one bad race to drop like a rock through the standings if all of those behind you are having a very good race. If you don’t believe that, just ask Carl Edwards after his unexpectedly poor performance last weekend. It really wasn’t completely his fault but the result was a very poor finish and a lot of points to make up over the next several weeks. Another one to ask would be Kasey Kahne, but then that’s a whole different story.

From this fan’s view, there are several factors that could make the race this afternoon very interesting and could spell possible trouble for more than one Chaser. First of all, Goodyear brought a different tire for the Cup teams to use and the temperature is likely going to be somewhere between 20 and 30 degrees cooler for the race than it was for any of the practices or the qualifying. Since several teams were already struggling to get the proper “feel” for their driver with the different tire alone, the cooler temps could prove to be a real challenge for the crew chiefs. It is possible the combination of the two could have a harrowing effect on those in the top spots of the points for the Chase.

It did appear, at least up to through qualifying, the JGR crew chiefs were struggling a bit to make their drivers happy. Of course that would be Matt Kenseth and Kyle Bush and both of them weren’t fully happy with what they have although of the two, Matt did appear to be making his way toward front as far as speed in the final two practice sessions. That could be sign that his string of two wins in a row a Kansas could expand to at least three.

Kyle, on the other hand, didn’t appear to like the way his car was working at all with the new tire and, judging from his previous races at the Kansas track, this one could be more of the same for him. It’s not that I want him to do poorly but it is pretty obvious the Kansas Speedway is not one of his best tracks. At the present time, he is having a string of poor finishes here at Kansas. If nothing else, I get the impression he is a little more than skeptical about his chances for the race this afternoon. To add to his skepticism, he and Brad Keselowski had a bit of a run in near the end of the Nationwide race and Brad did mention that Kyle may have to be watching over his shoulder for the Blue Deuce.

Jimmie Johnson started off Friday’s practice session with a long sliding spin although he did manage to keep the car off the wall. Later, a lot of smoke poured from his car but it didn’t turn out to be engine related. During the multiple practice sessions, of the top three in the points, Jimmie was having the most consistent runs and could be a real threat to win this afternoon.

Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon are trying their level best to make the Chase at least a five man race and both are only 39 points behind the leader. Greg Biffle is only two points behind them and a win for him today could completely change the Chase landscape for him.

From this fan’s view, today’s race at Kansas will definitely be a complete frustration combined with a major shakeup in the points race for those now in a good position at this point. It could also be race that a non-Chaser wins and it could very well be Martin Truex Jr. or Brad Keselowski. Both have a real incentive to take the top spot today and what a statement it would make for either of them.

After today’s race at the Kansas Speedway, all of us should have a clearer picture of just how many teams should be considered contenders for the 2013 Sprint Cup Championship and how many will be “also rans.” Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman all need wins and any of them could go away from today’s race as winners. It is a definite none of them can afford to have a bad day or their fate in the Chase will pretty much be sealed.

What ever happens today at Kansas for all with a chance at still taking the Championship will either end with frustration or complete elation for them. No matter how it all turns out, one thing is certain and that’s that we won’t be in Kansas anymore… well… that is until next year…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 6, 2013 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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By Rusty Norman

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