The MENCS teams take on the Sonoma road course this Sunday afternoon. It’s time to move away from the ovals for a weekend and do something different – like turn right instead of always left. As even the causal observer knows… there are plenty of right turns at this track. Yeah, I know there are left turns and S’s and straights along with elevation changes to go with those right turns but one thing won’t be different… the racing will be intense every where around the 1.99 mile course. Oh, and by the way, in case you don’t know, that elevation change is 160 feet. (Wow! That means uphill, downhill and strategic braking all round.)
As a fan, I have to admit it’s interesting how the racing on the road courses has changed over the years in NASCAR. It used to be we would see numerous new faces (called road course “ringers”) at the road course tracks. It seemed some of the “best drivers in the world” had to take a break so a “road course specialist” could be brought in to make a team more competitive. These days, however, almost every one of the teams’ regular drivers are behind the wheel. It is obvious some of them have a lot to learn about road course racing but, for the most part, many of them are very competitive. As a fan, I like that. It makes it much more interesting to me and I like to see the way they have improved themselves over time to be competitive at the road courses.
Now, don’t get me wrong, but I do miss some of the “ringers” they used to bring in if for no other reason than the personalities they added to the sport. I think they actually inspired many Cup drivers to become better road course racers and that made the NASCAR drivers better racers all ‘round. Of course, as is usual in this very competitive sport called the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, some always seem to do better than others whether it be a road course or an oval.
I hope you all understand where I am coming from in what I’m going to say next… I hope this is not another race in the 2018 season that is dominated by a Ford. I can’t say I really want a Toyota to shine that bright in this one either. What I can say is, I would really like to see a Chevy be the one they are all chasing for each of the stages and, (I know there are others that will agree with me on this), I would really like to see a Chevy win this one.
It would be nice, as a Chevy fan, to finally see the Chevys getting back into being competitive. I’m not a fair-weather, Chevy only fan and I do still have those in the other makes I like to watch run well and take some wins but, it has definitely been awhile since NASCAR Chevy fans have had much to cheer about. I guess for Chevy fans, it has been a year to remind us of what the Ford and Toyota fans have been through in the Chevy dominated years.
One reason I like road course racing is there is something going on almost everywhere around the track. Whether it is upfront, in the middle of the pack or at the back, there is always someone racing for position. It makes for full course fun all ‘round. Another reason is how the crew chiefs use strategy to try and improve their driver’s position and give them every advantage as the race progresses.
Of course we all know that track position will be one of the deciding factors in the outcome of the race but a driver in a car that can run consistently fast lap times throughout the afternoon will likely be the one running up front with the rest of the field chasing them for the win.
From this fan’s view, there’s just not a lot to say about the road course racing at Sonoma because it is better watch than to talk about it. When I say that it isn’t because I don’t have much to say, it’s just that I would rather watch it unfold as it does on race day. That’s what I plan to do Sunday afternoon and you can bet I’ll be pulling for one of my favorites to win. That doesn’t mean I’ll be disappointed if someone like Jimmie Johnson, Jamie McMurray or Kyle Larson doesn’t win. It would definitely be nice but I would rather see a tight, competitive race with the winner being decided on the last lap at the last turn just before the checkered flag…
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© June 23, 2018 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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