Nascar Racing

Another Saturday Night Under the Lights At Kentucky


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Well, it’s another Saturday night under the lights and this time it’s at Kentucky Speedway. What better way to follow up the road race at Sonoma than with a Saturday night under the lights which is more what stock car racing has always been. I don’t know about you but this fan grew up going to Saturday night stock car racing on a regular basis. It still holds a special place in my heart and mind and Saturday night is the night that we did most of our racing at our local tracks, too.

I have to admit when NASCAR started doing qualifying the way they do now, I was not a real fan of it. After they made some changes to the way it’s done, it’s become quite interesting. From this fan’s view it’s probably one of the best innovations they’ve had in a while, but then again, that’s just my opinion. It’s pretty obvious not everyone has it figured out yet but it still allows the ones that have the best laps to own the best starting positions. I’m sure some will disagree with that but it’s not that much different than when they were running one or two individual laps – and blew it – and they’re starting positions reflected the same. Now, if they’ve properly prepared their cars in the drivers are “on it,” they at least have a chance of improving a blown lap.

It appears the Penske teams of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano do have the qualifying figured out as they have started in the top five quite often this year. Once again this week they’re both starting on the front row with Keselowski taking the pole. It is interesting, at least to this fan, that week in and week out they do perform quite well in qualifying but they don’t always start the race so well. It could be different this week because both of them looked very good in the practice sessions and qualifying. When it comes to the way things go for them tonight I guess we’ll just have to take a wait-and-see attitude.

One of the keywords heard most often this weekend has been the word “bumpy.” One thing is pretty obvious even to the casual observer, and that’s how the cars bounce around as they travel around the track. It’s easy to see why they would often mention that word. Some say that’s just the character of the track and that’s what makes it somewhat challenging. Others, well… they just can’t get it figured out and they don’t really complain that much but they don’t really run that well either.

For once, at least lately, Kevin Harvick didn’t appear he had the car to beat this weekend, (at least not in the practice sessions and qualifying.) I’m not sure how he will perform tonight but I’m sure he will be in the mix when it comes down to crunch time.

Another surprise, at least to this fan, was Jimmie Johnson. Yeah, I know he has three wins and if the Chase started tonight he would be in the number one position even though he’s not a points leader presently. It just makes me wonder if he and Chad are working on some setups for the future that they may not get, or have, information for when it comes to the Chase. I suppose it is possible that they just missed figuring out the Kentucky track so far but it is hard for this fan to believe that Jimmie won’t be one of the ones running at or near the front by the end of tonight’s race. From my view that’s another one of those, wait-and-see things for tonight.

It is no surprise – well, at least to this fan – that the Roush cars didn’t look that good even though Carl Edwards won at Sonoma last weekend. I was kind of surprised to see Carl take the checkered flag at Sonoma but he does usually run well at places he likes to run at. It is definite that he likes road racing and it shows in the way he performs. It will be interesting to see how he does at Watkins Glen. As to how the Roush Fords will do tonight, well… How do I put this nicely? This fan just doesn’t think they are going to do that well.

One of the surprises this weekend, at least to this fan, was some speed from the Joe Gibbs teams that’s been missing lately. Of course Kyle Busch did show speed and usually does in the other classes but when it comes to Cup, Kyle Busch and generally all of the Joe Gibbs teams have been lacking in performance. Yes, I remember that both Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch have wins but Matt Kenseth hasn’t had one yet and the consistency just hasn’t been there. Whether or not that will change tonight at Kentucky Speedway remains to be seen and is a definite unknown to this fan for sure.

Since I’ve already mentioned the Penske Ford teams and their confidence level for tonight, now would probably be a good time to bring up Jeff Gordon. Jeff has been enjoying a reasonably good year even though he hasn’t had a lot of wins. The consistency has been there though and when it comes to confidence, well let’s just say it’s been a while since this fan has seen Jeff Gordon as confident as he is week to week. Honestly, it’s good to see and he could be making a trip to Victory Lane tonight. He, like many of the others, will have to travel a long and bumpy road to get there but this fan thinks that he has a very good chance of doing that tonight.

As I said earlier, it’s good to get back to Saturday night racing for a while and for the next two weekends between Kentucky and Daytona that’s where we’ll be. As long as weather holds in both places, and the emotions are kept in check, it should prove to be two very interesting weekends. Of the two, Kentucky just might prove to be the more – how do I say this tactfully – interesting emotionally?

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© June 28 , 2014 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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By Rusty Norman

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