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Nascar Racing

Back In Kansas

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Yeah, I know this will sound a bit cliché, but contrary to what Dorothy said to Toto, NASCAR is back in Kansas once again but this won’t include a trip to the Land of Oz. However, there may be some gremlins that show up when it comes down to actual race time and it may be fortunate this is going to be a night race.

Yes, it is possible there may or may not be trouble ahead once again with tires even though nothing has happened yet and the drivers seem to be relatively happy with them. With the way Goodyear has struggled to get a grip on the increased down force of the new car for this year, it appears tire trouble could be something that could be a question all the way into summer (and maybe beyond.) Then again, this could be the weekend where it all begins to turn around for more than just the tire company.

Even though he took a big hit in points last weekend, Jeff Gordon still sits at the top of the points even though by the slimmest of margins. His finishing near the rear of the field at Talladega wasn’t his fault (well, that is other than deciding to run at the back of the pack for a while) but it did cost him the small cushion he had built up to that point. Up to that point his worst finishing position was thirteenth. As we move closer to summer, it is likely he will need to win a race or two to make the Chase unless he can hold onto that first points position until the fall.

From this fan’s view, Kevin Harvick goes into this race tonight with a lot of confidence. His taking the pole in qualifying shows that he should be a contender for the victory tonight and judging from his performance so far (and his history at this Kansas track) this fan thinks he just might walk away with this one.

Of course now that I’ve said that, I’m sure there are more than a few drivers that expect to press him on that. Taking a quick look at qualifying shows the Fords making a strong showing and they might have something to say about just who ends up in Victory Lane. Carl Edwards, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Greg Biffle would top the list, at least from this fan’s view. All of them are fast and once again Logano and Keselowski are starting in the top four. That could put them in a very good spot, at least for starters, when it comes down to possible winners of the 5 Hour Energy 400.

Surprisingly, the Toyotas haven’t looked that strong this weekend but that could be very deceptive when it comes down to the end of the race. Clint Bowyer did show a bit of speed for Michael Waltrip Racing and Brian Vickers did too. It is true they didn’t show that well in qualifying but when it comes down to the race, this fan thinks several of the Toyotas will be mixing it up near the front.

Even though they haven’t been making a lot of noise so far this weekend, the Joe Gibbs teams have a tendency to show up competitive when it comes down to the final laps of a race. I’m sure they will all race better than their 24th or worst qualifying positions but whether or not they will press the Chevys and Fords for the top spots remains to be seen.
This fan finds it interesting that none of the actual Hendrick Motorsports teams qualified all that well, but once again this weekend, Hendrick horse power made a very strong showing. The Stewart/Haas teams in particular all qualified in the top ten and some are saying this is the weekend Tony Stewart begins to turn around his 2014 season.

I’m not willing to go that far out on the limb just yet but, I don’t expect him to continue on in the same rut he’s been in so far. After all, he did have a major setback last year with his sprint car accident and I think he is still recovering from that. I am sure there are many that will disagree with me on that but it takes time to fully recover from something like what he experienced. I also think he discovered something very important after his experience with that severe accident and that is that he is not indestructible. Sometimes, (and I stress that word, “sometimes”) that mental adjustment takes a little time to adapt to. Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here… Tony Stewart is still Tony Stewart and I expect he will be making noise in Victory Lane sooner than later.

When it comes right down to it, this fan thinks this is going to be one of the better races of the season so far and it almost certainly will have a more exciting finish than the race at Talladega did last week. I can’t think of a worse way for a restrictor plate race on a Super Speedway to finish than under yellow. It was a complete let down and an uneventful finish since things were just about to get interesting when it was over. For Denny Hamlin, it turned out well but this fan sure hopes he isn’t counting on the same thing happening again tonight…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© May 10, 2014 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions

By Rusty Norman

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