After the wreck-fest at Talladega last weekend, NASCAR Cup teams hitting the track at Kansas may seem a bit tame. Kansas Speedway is a 1.5 mile driver and fan favorite and should prove to be an interesting race and even better yet, it’s another Saturday night under the lights. Nothing really compares with racing under the lights, at least from this fan’s view.
There are a lot of people that like when NASCAR races under the lights on a Saturday night. That could be because many a NASCAR fan grew up going to Saturday night racing at our local tracks and some of us even had the opportunity to drive in those races. Honestly, there’s just something about Saturday night races whether you’re a fan or a driver.
It appears, at least for the moment, Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano have put their differences behind them – well… at least for the time being – but with the history the two of them had have over the last couple of seasons, who knows how things will be after this one is over tonight.
From this fan’s view, it seems when a couple of drivers have a few run-ins, somehow they manage to be around each other a lot and tensions can run pretty high for an extended period. I guess I should add, when one or the other of them thinks they’ve been wronged by the other or they actually have been wronged by the other; (and last season is a prime example of that between these two drivers.) All it takes is a misstep, whether intentional or not, by one or the other for things to flare up all over again. (Sometimes, the flare-up is to the delight of the fans and adds to the intensity and excitement week in and week out.)
Just one final statement of the racing at Talladega last weekend; when it comes down to it it’s likely only two things will be remembered by everyone about the race. Brad Keselowski won and they set a new record for the number of “Big Ones” in a race at Talladega. The final tally I heard of the number of cars that had either light or major damage in those accidents was thirty-three out of the forty that started.
(Be back in a minute; commercial for two buck themes or living life notes?)
When I was involved in racing I raced Chevys. As a Chevy fan, it is hard for me to fathom how strong the Toyotas are this season, especially the Joe Gibbs Toyotas. They have shown up just about every week so far as the ones to beat (whether they’ve won or not) and this week doesn’t look to be much different. All of the JGR teams and associated teams ran strong in practice and in qualifying and it could be an understatement for me to mention one of them “could” end up in Victory Lane when the Go Bowling 400 is done.
What I mean is, just look at the results from qualifying and the lineup for tonight’s race. JGR and associated Toyotas are four of the top six starters. Kurt Bush and Brad Keselowski slipped in between Denny Hamlin and Kyle Bush but, from this fan’s view, that’s a pretty strong statement coming from the JGR Toyota camp. Carl Edwards was the only one that qualified outside of the top ten from the JGR camp and he was twelfth. He did look good in practice though and, barring the unforeseen, he could be contending for the win as the laps wind down tonight.
It has to be hard for the teams that once held the dominating place in NASCAR to be looking on helplessly as not performing up to even their own standards. Of course I know you know I’m talking about Hendrick Motorsports. They just haven’t shown the strength they have in past years throughout their organization. Sure, I know Jimmie Johnson has two wins under his belt this season but overall, the Hendrick teams have been sort of lack luster performers at least so far this season. Although I know they could have a strong performance tonight and make my statements sound kind of empty but, from this fan’s view, they are struggling this season much as the Roush teams have for the past few years.
In fact, the Hendrick teams do appear to be going through some similar things the JGR teams did not all that long ago. Twice this year that we know of, their drivers have had trouble with the steering wheel not being properly locked on the shaft and coming off. It has been such a concern that it has caused them to use different ones starting this weekend at Kansas. One of those times this season it caused Jimmie Johnson to wreck and last weekend, Dale Jr. could have had disastrous results had it happened at a slightly different time and place on the track. That’s just a couple of the little things hounding Hendrick racing this season along with the fact they just haven’t looked like they have in the past when it comes to race days. When you add up all of those little details hounding them, it could explain why they aren’t so dominating on the track, at least, so far.
This could be a break out weekend for Martin Truex Jr. and this fan will admit he is due for a win but it remains to be seen if he will be able to pull it off. The same goes for Matt Kenseth. He just hasn’t been able to catch a break in this first ten races of the season. I’m not going to say the winner of tonight’s race will be a part of JGR but they do look good for it. Of course it could be a night that surprises all of us and someone totally unexpected wins…
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© May 7, 2016 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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