Nascar Racing

NASCAR Cup Teams Take On Vegas from a NASCAR Fan’s View


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Once again it is time for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Teams to take on the 1 ½ mile track at Las Vegas. As everyone already knows, it is the first of three races on What is known as the West Coast Swing of the early 2018 season.

According to some, Las Vegas Motor Speedway is the first real test of how the different makes will perform on the one and a half mile speedways during the season. If things continue as they appear so far, the Fords could be the dominating force in this 2018 season and that could mean trouble for the Camrys and Chevys.

So, let’s talk a little about the Fords. There is no doubt the Stewart-Haas Fords have a lot of momentum going on right now. It doesn’t surprise this fan that the Stewart-Haas teams are showing strength here at the beginning of the season. They had last year to get used to their change from Chevy to Ford and I expected nothing less from anything associated with Tony Stewart.

From this fan’s view, Kevin Harvick could be this year’s Cup champion. I don’t want to step too far out on a limb yet (simply because it is so early in the season) but Kevin Harvick has always impressed me. It didn’t matter whether it was in the Cup series or in the other series, he has always seemed to rise to the top. I have also watched him mature over the years and, even though I was a fan of another driver, I always liked him and thought he was the real deal. He and his team have had their problems at times, but they have always seemed to rise above when necessary.

Another of the SHR Fords to watch is the #14 of Clint Bowyer. He has definitely had his struggles over the last few years, but this could be his year. I’m not necessarily saying he’s going to win the Championship but I am saying this could be a breakout year for him. There seems to finally be a little bit of continuity for him with team members and crew chief, so… I think he gets back to winning this season. Watch out, all he needs is for a few things to go right for a while and he could go on a tear.

Kurt Bush has come a long way in the last couple of years and I think he is another SHR driver that could make an impact this season. Between him and Aric Almirola, along with the other two, this fan expects the SHR teams could all be running against each other more times than not during the year. I don’t think it will only be SHR teams in the final four at season’s end, but, it is a possibility even though a very long shot possibility.

This fan has watched with interest the maturing of another Ford driver. Although I didn’t much care for him or his actions when he came into the Cup series, I have definitely taken a liking to Brad Keselowski. Now don’t misunderstand me, I’m not planning on being a Brad fan or anything like that but, he has impressed me over the last couple of seasons in particular. I have never doubted his driving ability or prowess – I just didn’t care for “the way” he drove or the way he would win at times. All of that is behind me now – at least I hope it is – and I think he is one of the better drivers to come along in this era of drivers. I look for him to be a contender for the Championship several more times before he retires.

Ok, ok, ok… I know it is unusual for a lifetime Chevy owner, driver, racer and fan to spend so much time on another make like the Fords but, they are looking awfully tough this season and especially so far. Of course I don’t live in a dream world either and I know their strength and momentum can fade at any time, especially since it is so early in the season. I remember how the Chevys started out last season and, by the end of the year, they were mostly the “also rans.” (Well… that is except for Chase Elliot and Kyle Larson.) I suppose the same could happen to the Fords but I’m not seeing it at this point.

The race this weekend at Las Vegas could be pretty much a Ford weekend but it is way too early to count those chickens. I mean, there has already been problems with inner-liners and right fronts and I’m just not sure this weekend isn’t headed for a few problems that haven’t shown up yet. No matter, I still think it is going to be a Ford winning this weekend and I think it will likely be a Ford from the SHR camp. Of course, if they don’t win, it wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong (and I don’t expect it will be the last.) Besides… since I am a Chevy fan at heart, it wouldn’t bother me at all if one of the Chevys did win and whether it is Chase Elliot, Kyle Larson, Jimmie Johnson or one of the others, that would be just fine with me…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© March 4, 2018 – 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.