Wow! Less horsepower, more downforce and very little difference in speed. Well, at least that is the first impression of this NASCAR fan. I don’t know about you but I was more than a little surprised at the results so far for the new car and engine specs for the MENCS teams. Although there are still a lot of unknowns about how things will go, from this fan’s view, it looks like this will likely be the usual race for the Atlanta track.
Before I talk more about my view of this Atlanta race, I have to make a few comments about the race last weekend at Daytona. You may remember I was concerned that it might be a race of single file, follow the leader type race and the only thing that might break up the monotony of the 500 miles would be the stages and the final laps of all three. Since the race finished, many have talked about how exciting of a race it was. I’m sorry, but from my view, it wasn’t anything more than what I thought it might be.
Okay, so instead of running single file, they ran two wide and sometimes three but there wasn’t a lot of action until the final lap or two of the first and second stages. I have to say, and this is my view, it was like watching paint dry for many laps throughout much of the race. If it hadn’t been for the “Big One” and a few other skirmishes in the final stage, this might have been the most unexciting Daytona 500 I remember in recent times.
Another thing that kinda griped me was made quite obvious by Joey Logano’s attitude when Michael McDowell chose to go with Kyle Bush in a Toyota rather than him in Ford on the final lap, as though it was all about him and him winning. Admittedly I’m not that much of a Joey Logano fan, but NASCAR is not just about what is best for him and I don’t think he deserves any special privileges just because he is last year’s Champion. I don’t fault McDowell at all and I can’t help but wonder if the roles were reversed what decision Logano may have made. Oh, and by the way, I haven’t made up my mind yet, but I’m not so sure how I like or dislike the Ford’s with Ford’s, Toyotas with Toyotas or Chevys with Chevys. Sure, I admit the brands of the cars are important, but for me, I follow the drivers much more than the brands (even though I am a big Chevy fan and always have been.) To be clear, I like other drivers than just the ones in Chevys.
Oh well, enough about last week at Daytona and back to Atlanta this weekend.
I think this race at Atlanta this weekend might be the same and yet different than the normal or usual one. With the new rules package and the way some of the drivers and teams have stepped up their games, this could be a breakout race for some that aren’t mentioned that much. I do expect the usual teams will be making themselves visible but I also think some of the relative unknowns could also begin to shine this weekend. Which ones am I talking about? Well, that’s a great question and I’m glad you asked it.
Drivers like Michael McDowell, Matt Dibenedetto, David Ragan and Ryan Preece have all made a few waves over the last couple of weeks. That’s not to say they have arrived, but it does say there is an elevation of competition in some of the smaller teams associated with the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. I know you’ve heard at least three of these names before, but we may be hearing more about them as the season progresses along with some others.
Still, it is hard to go against the proven old veterans and high performers at Atlanta. I can’t argue with the performance of Kevin Harvick, Kyle Bush, Jimmie Johnson or several others over the last several years at this track. They all have to be considered as contenders when it comes down to the final laps because they are usually there. That’s not to say one of them will win but we all know one of them could.
I’m not about to try and pick a winner in this one, (well, not the time of this writing anyway.) There are a few names I haven’t mentioned yet but they could take the win. Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, Brad Keselowski and, yes, even Joey Logano should be considered contenders for this one. In fact, I would go so far as to say there could be a surprise winner for the “Folds of Honor – Quik Trip 500” if for no other reason than the horsepower and downforce changes instituted for the first time this weekend. Then again, well, it could just be another race at Atlanta… reckon we’ll have to watch to find out, huh…?
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© February 23, 2019 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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