Nascar Racing

Chasing The Night Away Under the Lights at Charlotte


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Kansas wasn’t kind to some of the Chasers and the race at Charlotte only begs the question will it be more of the same. Unless there is a complete reversal in the way teams have finished over the last couple of weeks, this fan does think this might be coming down to a five man race for the Championship. Just don’t know which five exactly yet.

With the practice and qualifying sessions happening at different times over two days, it is difficult to say which driver has the advantage since there were different drivers with different agendas and a lot of speed to go around for everyone. Even several of the non-Chasers were showing some real speed and it looks like it will be a typical 500 mile race for the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Without getting ahead of myself, I think it is safe to say having consistent lap times for an extended run will rule the night in tonight’s race.

First of all, let’s talk about the obvious. Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon need to continue what they’ve been doing over the last couple of weeks and Gordon in particular needs to win a race. The two have been steadily moving up in the standings, although they have had some help from some in the Chase not doing so well. Even with that being said, this fan thinks they need to keep on doing what they’ve been doing and it wouldn’t hurt if both of them finish in the top five from here on out over the next weeks.

Kyle Bush had his usual problems with the Kansas Speedway and dropped from third to fifth in the Chase. I think last week was his mulligan and if he has another week like that, it is this fan’s opinion he will have a hard time winning his first championship this year. He only sits three points behind Jeff Gordon and ten behind Harvick but it could be hard to make up the points he lost last weekend and he is thirty five points behind Matt Kenseth. After his Nationwide win last night, he could be poised to make a sweep of the weekend but I don’t count on it happening. Fortunes can change in just one moment in a 500 mile race. Still, he should be entering tonight’s race with at least a bit of momentum and confidence.

At the moment, the real competition is between Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson and, as everyone knows, they are only separated by three points. That makes for interesting conversation but they still have to think about the same thing happening to one or both of them that happened to Kyle Bush last weekend. In fact, we all know it can happen to any of the Chasers even though not likely.

Even in qualifying most of the Chasers qualified in the top ten. I don’t know if they’re making a statement for tonight or not but it is definitely an impressive statistic. Nine Chasers starting in the top ten says competition will be tight and, as has been the case with the Gen 6 cars, the one out front usually has the advantage.

As usual, most all of the attention is focused on the front-runners in the Chase but there are some strong drivers and teams that could mix it up tonight at Charlotte. Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne are realistically out of the Chase but either of them could end up in Victory Lane tonight. Although miracles do happen, even if either one of them wins tonight, a miracle is what it would take for them to get back into contention at all. Don’t get me wrong, they can win and it would be big for them but it will take a lot of help from their fellow competitors for them to move all the way to the front.

Charlotte Motor Speedway can be a little treacherous for the drivers, especially if they try to get more out of their cars and than their cars a willing to give. If that is the case, Charlotte is fairly unforgiving. It’s just not a place a driver can make up time on the track if the car isn’t able to give it. It is much more likely the one that overdrives will either end up in the wall or behind the wall watching the winner take the checkered flag.

Tonight’s winner is going to have to outlast the rest of the field and track position will once again be key. Since Jeff Gordon sits on the pole and has the best pit stall, it would only be normal to think he has one of his greatest chances at taking a win and I’m sure his fans would be ecstatic. I mean, I hate to keep bringing this up, but him winning the Sprint Cup Championship this year would be an a amazing story.

Think about it; this year he was about to be an “also-ran” and then became the thirteenth Chaser by a NASCAR ruling and has moved from thirteenth to fourth in points for the Chase in the year 2013. If after all of that he does manage to take his fifth Cup Championship this year… well… I’ll leave all that numerology stuff up to you…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 12, 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.