Nascar Racing

NASCAR Takes On Texas Under The Lights from a NASCAR Fan’s View

IMG_1325Texas Motor Speedway has been on the NASCAR circuit for twenty years now and the track not only offers unique challenges for the drivers but it has also presented challenges to Goodyear. Along with the rule changes NASCAR set forth for the 2016 season and the abrasiveness of the twenty year old Texas track, Goodyear has made a change to the tires for both the left and right side and so far, at least from this fan’s view, they have once again made a good improvement. Of course time will tell how true that statement actually is but that improvement should make for some very interesting racing in the evening to nighttime Duck Commander 500 on this Saturday night.

Last weekend at Martinsville wasn’t really all that surprising to see Kyle Bush come out the winner. In fact, the Toyotas (especially the Joe Gibbs Toyotas) have made great advances especially in the last year. It wasn’t all that long ago that the Hedrick Chevys were the ones everyone was talking about and how far ahead they were over the rest of the others. Now it appears the talk has shifted to the Toyota camp and, with Carl Edwards winning the pole at Texas, it could be another weekend a Toyota will be celebrating in Victory Lane when this one is over.

Sure, I remember Joey Logano won the pole last week and then proceeded to have a terrible race on Sunday. They just flat missed the setup for the race even though they seemed to hit it just right for the qualifying. Although it is possible for that to happen to Edwards, I just don’t think it will considering the way the Joe Gibbs Toyotas have been running. Carl may not come away with the win but I do expect him to be a force to be reckoned with Saturday night.

The Fords have been slowly improving (or maybe better stated, slowly catching up to the rest of the field) but they just haven’t looked as strong as they did last season, especially the Penske Fords. Oh sure, they’ve made good showings but they just haven’t shown the same strength so far this year as they did last year. Of course it is just this fan’s opinion but the Toyotas have stumbled on a few things that the other teams are still looking for. All of this could do a 180 as the season progresses, but for now, the advantage seems to lean toward the Toyotas. That doesn’t mean the others are outclassed, it just means they aren’t performing quite as consistently well as the Toyotas.

It has been suggested here and there that the new rules package for this season has been more of an equalizer throughout the Cup garage than even NASCAR had hoped it would. I mean, if you look at some of the drivers and teams that are finishing nearer to the front and being talked about more often, something has changed. It could be the new rules package or it could just be all of the changes together making a difference for now. When it comes down to crunch time later on in the season, this fan definitely thinks the usual cream will rise to the top. Admittedly, there is the possibility of seeing a couple of new faces being qualified for the Chase but I don’t really see any big surprises on the horizon, at least not yet.

Taking a look at the starting lineup may make my remarks about the Fords seem a little premature. In the top ten starting positions, four are Toyotas, four are Fords and two are Chevys. Of the four Toyotas, three of them are Joe Gibbs Racing teams and one is Joe Gibbs associated. That just may make my case that this one very well could be won by a Toyota and possibly a JGR Toyota at that. Of course I do know that Logano and Keselowski of Penske are starting in the top ten and I do find it interesting but not definite proof they will end up in Victory Lane.

When all is said and done, the checkered flag has dropped and the engines have fallen silent, I just don’t know who is going to win this one. It could be a new face or it could be one we’ve all seen in Victory Lane many times. No matter how the practices or the qualifying went, I still won’t rule out the possibility of a Jimmie Johnson or Kevin Harvick win. Hey… Did I mention Kyle Bush is starting fifteenth right along side of Dale Jr.? And did I mention either one of them could take the win at Texas Motor Speedway? Well… would that really be so much of a surprise?

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 8, 2016 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

By Rusty Norman

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