Nascar Racing

MENCS Takes It To Las Vegas from a NASCAR Fan’s View


This is week three of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season and it is the third week of changes to the cars. Beyond that, it is the first week of the full aero package we’ll see for the remainder of the season, depending on which tracks they’re at. From listening to all the buzz, many say this is the first real race of the season. Daytona is uniquely Daytona and Atlanta is looked at as one of a kind so, maybe what they say about Las Vegas being the first real race – or test of the new rules package – is true. It is also true that this is week one of three races out west.

Before I talk about the race this weekend at Vegas, let’s take a quick look back at last weekend at Atlanta. There are several things I’ve heard mentioned since the race at Atlanta and, although I understand what they’re talking about, I have a different opinion than those I heard offering their opinion on a couple of those things.

First, I have to bring up my concerns about the Chevy Camaros. From this fan’s view, it still appears the Chevys still don’t perform as well as the Fords even though the Fords are running their new Mustang body style. With the performance of the Hendrick Chevys at Daytona, it did appear they had made headway in speed and handling but, Atlanta proved to be a totally different story for them.

Sure, I know Kyle Larson led many laps in his Camaro but, he had that pit road problem and just couldn’t make it back to the front. I have heard many say that they don’t think it is a Camaro problem it is a Hendrick problem but I ‘m just not so sure I agree. I think Larson’s performance (with Hendrick Power under the hood) showed it’s not just Hendrick but the Camaros being so aero dependent that, when they get back in the pack a bit, they just don’t handle as well as the Fords (or the Camrys for that matter.) Like I said, that’s the way it looks from my view and I could be wrong but, they still look to be a little disadvantaged compared to the others.

My second point of disagreement is (and maybe it’s just me) but, it does seem we have a few “whiners” rising up in the ranks. In particular, two that stand out in my mind would be Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. I know there will be many that disagree with me – or probably don’t see it the same as I do – but over the first two races of the season, both of them have been heard criticizing people that didn’t make it easier for them to pass them or didn’t get help from them as they felt they should.

Two incidents that stand out in my mind would be Joey Logano and Michael McDowell and Truex Jr. and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. For whatever reason, these two past champions think everyone is supposed to just move over and let them go by or push them to the win. It is pretty obvious, not every driver agrees with them. My one question to them would be, “What ever happened to having to race for the win?” Just because someone doesn’t want to make it easy for them doesn’t really mean a whole lot to me. (I think of the reputation of being hard to pass Ryan Newman has acquired over the years. There are very few instances he will just move over to let someone pass him.)
Naturally, in usual fashion, that also reminds me of a line from a story someone told when I was racing. It goes like this (edited version, of course.) “Look cotton-picker, I tried you high and I tried you low and then it was time for you to go…” Whether you and I like it or not, the chrome bumper is a tool in the racer’s toolbox…

I could go on but I’ll save some of my thoughts for another time. Right now, it’s back to Vegas.

The race this weekend at Vegas is going to be unique in the sense that the changes made to the cars are going to be applied over more than just one weekend. In some ways, the teams’ notebooks don’t really have much to refer to. We all know the drivers and their teams learn fast but, we as fan’s will probably be in for more than a few surprises. I’m not sure what those surprises will be but I do know they will be there.

At the time of this writing, the first MENCS Saturday practice was rained out and the lack of track time could prove to make Sunday’s race even more interesting. I’m not sure if this could be the start of making the racing more interesting and intense or whether it will be a time when certain drivers begin to shine either for the first time or where the “old veterans” begin to shine again. I’m not picking any favorites for this one but I’m not ruling anyone out either. In this, the first race of the three races out west, I do think the drivers and teams are going to learn a lot about what they will face over the two that follow this one as well as for the races ahead in the season.

So… rather than ask what driver you think will win, I would rather ask you (and myself, too), which brand do you think is going to perform and come away with the most wins over the next three races? Will it be the Fords? The Camrys? Oh come on, please, won’t someone stick their neck out and say the Chevys…?

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© March 2, 2019 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
All audio productions by and PodCastNorm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

By Rusty Norman

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