Nascar Racing

It’s About Pure Speed for the Pure Michigan 400


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If you listened to the Ford drivers coming into this weekend you would’ve heard some of them say that they had found speed – and not just a little bit of it. True to their word, they came into this weekend showing a bit more speed than they did the last visit to MIS. Perhaps what they didn’t count on was the fact that the Chevys also found more speed and even though the Fords are faster, so are the Chevys. What that means going into this weekend is a bit unknown at this point to this fan but, it could mean that once again the Chevys will come out on top over the Fords.

The Toyotas are either sandbagging until they get to The Chase or they just don’t have the horsepower under the hood yet. It seems to be the biggest complaint coming out of the Toyota camp. Several of the Toyota drivers have been heard to say that they just need more horsepower so they can keep up or pass those with Hendrick horsepower under the hood. So far, it appears their search for more horsepower goes on.

It’s definitely all about pure speed this weekend at the Michigan International Speedway for the pure Michigan 400 and that’s what it will take to win. In fact, just in case you weren’t paying attention during the practice sessions and the qualifying session, the track record was broken by about 32 of the 43 cars that qualified for this race and Jeff Gordon set the new track record for the Michigan International Speedway. No matter what others might say, at least 32 of the teams are going faster than the last or previous track record setter and if that ain’t pure speed, this fan doesn’t know what is…

The race on Sunday afternoon at MIS could be interesting and yet boring at the same time, (well, at least from this fan’s view.) I know that sounds like a strange thing to say but it’s true. One thing about the Cup races at MIS is that they have a tendency to be a bit boring at least until they get near the end. The reason that this fan would say something like that is because the speeds may be high but the racing isn’t always that interesting.

Often, this race is about consistent lap times, gaining spots while in the pits along with the fuel and tire strategies that go along with those stops. It appears the tires that Goodyear brought to MIS don’t give up that much and actually run faster speeds after a few laps than they do when they put them on as stickers. It appears they need a lap or two to begin bringing out the best they have to offer.

Although it remains to be seen how all of the different engines will hold up to the demands of this track, it is possible there could be some engine failures before this one is over simply because the engines don’t get much time to rest. They run lap after lap at almost full throttle and the RPMs hardly ever drop that much.

Unfortunately, because there is a tendency for two things to happen during the race this is not one of this fan’s favorite races. The first thing about this race is that, though they can and do use the draft, the racing can become a bit boring simply because no one can pass with regularity. Now that doesn’t mean that there won’t be any passing. What it does mean is that the faster cars will be able to move forward to a certain point while the slower cars fall back. Still, the fastest cars will be at the front and, as long as the leader is in clean air, he (or possibly she) will be hard to catch or pass. The second thing (at least to this fan) is that the pit stops and the strategies for them is often more interesting and dramatic than the actual racing, especially during the middle laps of the race.

One thing that could make this race more interesting than usual is the fact that it’s really not about points, or at least not that much. For several that want to make The Chase it’s all about winning. For those that are already in The Chase, or already have wins, it’s more about winning than anything else. Wins add up to better point’s position when The Chase actually starts and, compared to wins, points don’t really matter that much at this point. As an example, Jeff Gordon sits second in points but if The Chase started today, because of the number of wins he has compared to others, he would be moved further down the list.

It is very possible that someone in the top 25 in points without a win at the moment could take the trip to Victory Lane Sunday afternoon. Although I don’t expect that to happen it is one of the things that will make this race more interesting. Just the thought that says that someone who doesn’t really have a chance of making The Chase because of their points standing actually making it because they win, adds to the drama and excitement of this particular Pure Michigan 400.

By the way, does anyone know what’s going on with the number 48 team these days?

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© August 16, 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.