Nascar Racing

After Charlotte Damage Assessment from a NASCAR Fan’s View


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The rain out of the planned Saturday night race and running it in the afternoon on Sunday wasn’t at all good for some of the Chasers. Not many will admit it, but the time of day probably had at least something to do with the results and how well they adapted to the time change also figured into where the Chasers finished. Of course we all know racing luck isn’t talked about much either but it sure appeared it played a big part in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon. Some of what happened could possibly be attributed to the time of day but mostly, it was just bad decision making and racing luck… well, at least from this fan’s view that’s what it appeared to be.

The ones that suffered the most damage to their hopes of moving on were Matt Kenseth, Dale Jr. and Kyle Bush. That doesn’t mean they’re out of it but it does mean they really can’t afford another bad finish in this second round of the Chase.

Looking at the assessed damage, Matt Kenseth finished forty-second and dropped eleven spots in the standings, seriously jeopardizing his chances for making it to the Elimination round. He will either have to have a win or get some serious help from the other Chasers in the next two races of this second round. Unless he does really well at Kansas this coming weekend I don’t think he will like going to Talladega having to have a win. I find it interesting how quickly fortunes can change with this Chase format. It seems it does force teams to make decisions when things happen and take chances they normally wouldn’t take. Unfortunately, there seems to be a tendency for some bad decisions to be made and it is really causing some real drama as things progress.

Speaking of bad decisions, Kyle Bush and Kyle Larson outfoxed themselves at the entrance of pit road and it kind of ruined both of their days. Kyle Larson was running in the top five and ended up finishing twenty-first because of the miscalculation. The way he was running it was possible he could have won his first race – although it probably wasn’t likely. Kyle Bush didn’t fair too well after the incident either and he finished twentieth. Both of them were a lap down at the end of the day. Kyle has been struggling a bit in the Chase (which he seems prone to do) but at the moment he is tenth in the standings just ahead of Dale Jr. and Matt Kenseth.

After the way Dale Jr. surged on the last restart last weekend to just make it into round two by one position over Jamie McMurray, I don’t think many expected him to have as bad a day as he had. Once it started to go wrong for him though, it didn’t get much better as the race progressed. In the end, Jr. pointed out that NASCAR may have missed some oil during one of the later cautions and that really sent the rest of his day into a nosedive. It is this fan’s opinion that NASCAR could have been at fault but Jr. was having a bad enough day that it really didn’t make that much difference anyway. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt though.

Jimmie Johnson’s bad luck continued into this week from last week and his blown engine would have probably happened even if he was still in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. From my view, it probably was a good thing that he was already out before Charlotte because coming back from his latest finish would have been even more difficult with Talladega looming ahead in round two. Now the #48 team can work on their performance for next season without much stress at all. With way things are going for them this season, it doesn’t look like they have much else to do other than ride out this time where they appear to be struggling. Besides, their whole situation could change next race even though it won’t matter that much till next season.

Looking at the Charlotte race, it only took one race for a lot of the landscape in the Chase to change. Two of the Joe Gibbs Teams are now on the ropes of making it to round three along with Dale Jr. and Ryan Newman. With the way things have gone so far in the 2015 Chase, it is a little early to count any of them out if for no other reason than everything can completely change again over the next two races.

We already know the intensity has been stepped up a notch or two for both Kansas and Talladega and there are some that just can’t afford another bad finish. One thing is definite for the coming two weeks in this round two of the Chase though; the only two that won’t be feeling much stress when looking forward to Talladega will be Joey Logano and the one that wins this weekend at Kansas…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 14, 2015 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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By Rusty Norman

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