Nascar Racing

MENCS Teams Take On Texas Motor Speedway from a NASCAR Fan’s View


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It has been an interesting weekend so far at the Texas Motor Speedway. The weather can’t seem to make its mind whether it is Spring time or Winter and it has been a challenge for the drivers and crew chiefs alike. Not that they can’t handle the challenge or the pressure but it just makes it hard to gather useable information for Sunday afternoon’s race, The O’Reilly Auto Parts 500. The temps on Friday were warm (in the eighties) and on Saturday in the thirties. Just not exactly what makes for good information gathering for the start of the race Sunday afternoon.

Now I know you don’t need to be reminded Spring can have its large temperature fluctuations but the weather in Texas was a little beyond the norm. I can’t say it was unexpected simply because I heard them predicting it on The Weather Channel during the week. If I knew about it, there is no doubt the crew chiefs and team members knew what could happen. It remains to be seen how the racing on Sunday will be affected. (Of course I have to add my own opinion which is, Probably not much.) We all know these are some of the smartest people in the world when it comes to racing. Even though the weather may keep them from gathering any new info for Sunday, there is no doubt in this fan’s mind they will do what they always do – work with what the cards they are dealt.

Looking at the season so far, the weather has had something to do with the racing almost every weekend. That doesn’t make this season that much different from other years but it does make the start of this one appear to be more of a challenge. Not that it is any kind of setback for the MENCS teams (or any others for that matter) but it does make it a bit more interesting.

I don’t know what you think about it but it the Fords do look awfully strong and especially those Stewart/Haas teams. Kurt Bush, Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer locked up the first three spots in the grid and eight Fords total in the first seven rows. That’s a lot of Fords no matter how you look at it and, depending on your favorite make, it could mean trouble for the others once again this weekend. The Fords do seem to be making more speed than the rest and that could mean a fourth victory for Kevin Harvick. No, I’m not saying he will win. I am saying there is a very good possibility he could win. In fact, from the look of things, there is a very good possibility any of the SHR, Penske or other Ford teams could win. They just look that strong.

I don’t discount the possibility of a Toyota pulling off a victory at TMS and it could be one driven by Kyle Bush, Martin Truex Jr., Eric Jones or possibly Daniel Suarez. I won’t rule any of them out but the JGR teams seem to have trouble bringing it home at the end of the day.

Once again, I have to let my Chevy bias show and bring up the fact that the Chevys need to find the answers for more speed in their new Camaros. It is just difficult to watch them struggle for speed each and every weekend since they changed over to them. They’re not that far off but they’re not that close yet.

Texas is a fast track and speed will be key when it comes to which of the drivers might win. The Hendrick teams have several that showed good speed but with the drastic weather changes, it’s hard to decide which Hendrick team has an advantage. It could be Chase Elliott or William Byron. Both of them showed speed at one time or another this weekend but I’m not so sure they will be able to close the door on other possible leaders. Jimmie Johnson could rule the day and, after all, he has led over one thousand laps at the track in his career.

Of all the Chevy drivers, he would be my first choice to take the win but then again there are Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray from Ganassi Racing. Both of them have looked better than those in the Hendrick Chevys at times and either of them could take the trip to Victory Lane when the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 ends.

So, will it be a Ford, a Toyota or a Chevy that ends up with the win? It is a very tough call from this fan’s view and there are a lot of possibilities when it comes down to it. It could favor the Fords and a previous winner this season or it could be a totally unexpected winner in a Chevy or a Toyota – I just don’t know… do you?

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 7, 2018 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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By Rusty Norman

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