The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams take to road racing at Watkins Glen this weekend in a short break from going ‘round in circles. The Glen is one of the more challenging road courses and it is definitely fast and exciting racing from beginning to end.
It’s coming down to crunch time for a number of drivers trying to make it into the playoffs and, for some, this road course may be their ONLY chance of making it. Some of those at the top of the list (other than the usual few) are good road course racers and their chances of winning are better than at most of the remaining tracks. Not that they don’t have a chance after The Glen but the likelihood of out running what are called the big three are much less than this one. From this fan’s view, the pressure is on them and winning can make all the difference in how they approach the coming four weeks after The Glen.
Some of those players hoping to win are, Jamie McMurray, AJ Allmendinger, Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott and Michael McDowell. Now I know one of those names isn’t one you would normally think of as being in the mix for a win but Michael McDowell shouldn’t be over looked. Jamie McMurray just hasn’t had a great year. He has had a good year but not a great one. A win would certainly do a lot for him and his team. He is a very good road racer and given the right set of circumstances, he could end up in Victory Lane.
AJ Allmendinger is one that many say is the most likely to finish up front of the five I just mentioned. This fan thinks he has a good chance but the competition is steep and he will have to work at it all day.
When it comes to Hendrick teammates Chase Elliott and Jimmie Johnson, well… they need to win but not as badly as the others just mentioned. Presently, they are both in the top 16 with points but all it takes is someone, or a couple of someones, winning that hasn’t won this season and their situation changes completely. All of the sudden they could be in the “must win” situations that others face with some of the most challenging tracks coming in the next four weeks. It could prove to be interesting… That is, unless they win. Then… well hopefully the Chevy teams will find more overall speed for the playoffs and at least be competitive and have a chance at winning the Championship.
The drawback for these I’ve been talking about is that the ones that have won the most races this season are good at road courses too. Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. look good but not nearly as good as Kyle Bush. Any of these three could end up in Victory Lane and of the three, Martin Truex Jr. is looking to repeat his performance of last season. None of these three needs another win other than winning is what racing is all about. With that in mind, any one of them could be the victor at the end of the day.
As a fan, I must admit I’d like to see the unexpected winner in Victory Lane at the end of this one. Taking nothing away from Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Bush and their strong performances this season but I would like to see someone else driving for the win at The Glen on Sunday Afternoon. I have a few favorites I would like to see win but, even more, I would like to see more than just three people racing each other for the wins. Sure, I know it isn’t always them running one-two-three week in and week out but for much of this season, one of them has been celebrating in Victory Lane at the end of a race.
Look, I’m not really complaining about the racing because the racing has been good. In fact, I would go so far as to say it has been some of the best racing to watch in a while. Even more, it has been a long time since three teams have performed in such a dominating way in a season. Kind of reminds me of those days when people won by more than a lap or two, but honestly, that was a long time ago. These days, with the competition so close and tight, it is amazing that the “Big Three” seem to be so far ahead of the rest and have been most all season long.
When it comes to The Glen, a lot of things can go wrong to cost just about anyone a win even when it may appear they have the race locked up. Wheel hopping into a braking point or wildly hopping over curbing and losing control are just two possibilities. Another can be missing a gear and over revving and blowing the engine. If you don’t believe it, just ask AJ Allmendinger from the race at Sonoma. Unless someone is absolutely running away with this one, this fan expects this to be a really great race. During the practice times and qualifying, they race the track. It can get really crowded when they all race for the same real estate on this tight, fast road racing track on race day and they all race each other…
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© August 4, 2018 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated