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For some, the pressure is on to gain a lot of points or win when they take to the track at Richmond Raceway Saturday night. For others, well… they really need to at least be consistent and hope they don’t have the same troubles a few experienced at Vegas last weekend. Of course we all know Martin Truex Jr. could finish dead last at Richmond and not have to worry about moving on to the next round of the playoffs at all.
I don’t know what you think about it but, there is something about those Joe Gibbs Toyotas and I’m not sure we’ve seen all they have to offer yet. I mean, I think they’ve been holding back on some of their performance over the last part of the regular season and saving the best for these playoffs. It seems they have a little bit more speed available than the other teams and that’s not to say they haven’t been strong all year. After all, the JGR teams have won many of the races this season and the only hope for many of the others involved in the playoffs is for their performance to fall off big time.
Of course, I could be wrong and things could turn around as fast as they did for Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones and Kyle Bush. For some reason Hamlin’s performance dropped off all the sudden and he finished fifteenth even though he was moving up in the order when the change happened. Erik Jones had good speed but ran into equipment problems like a sticking throttle and then a transmission stuck in second gear. But for Martin Truex Jr, well, he was a whole different story.
Yeah, that’s right; He was dropping like a rock through the field and then, after some adjustments, he started making his way to the front and that’s exactly where he ended up. Amazing how that happens. Just a few minor adjustments and, all of the sudden he is better than anyone on the track. Did you ever wonder what it is about his crew chief and what he knows about these packages the others don’t? Well… I have to admit I do and he seems to pull it off more often than not.
Oh, and then there was Kyle Bush and his run-in with the wall in the first laps of the race that put him down two laps. He did recover but I have more to say about him before I’m finished here.
Joey Logano his Penske Ford appeared to be the class of the field until Daniel Suarez forced him into the wall. After that, he really wasn’t competing for the win anymore. He was just going for as many points as he could get.
Speaking of Daniel Suarez; he just doesn’t seem to want to let anyone hold him back or pass him. I admit he is aggressive but I think his aggressiveness is going to come back to haunt him in the near and distant future. It appears to this fan he is still driving like he has a chance to be in the playoffs and win the championship. Of course, we all know “that just ain’t gonna happen.” He may be racing to keep his job or improve his end of the season standings but, he just can’t do better than being out of the playoffs allow.
Now, getting back to Kyle Bush (and this is just this fan’s opinion and will likely make some a little angry.) I do admit he is a very talented driver and is definitely going to one day be in the hall of fame. The problem is he is only happy when he wins and he often blames his lack of performance on the package NASCAR mandates the Cup teams to use. This year he has often talked of how hard it is to pass, (because of the mandated package), how hard it is to get the balance right, (because of the mandated package), how he could have run better, (also because of the mandated package.)
Last weekend at Vegas he did come up with a new one though, at least different from blaming the mandated package. This time he blamed slower cars and unproven drivers, insinuating they shouldn’t even be on the track. Did he forget that he drove himself into the wall and put himself down two laps (which he made up through strategy calls?) Either through miscommunication or bad info from the spotters he ran into the back of a slower car and went from about third place to finishing nineteenth.
I understand his frustration but I also see his history repeating itself. I don’t know; it could have to do with him being concerned of not being able to make it to the Championship round in nine weeks if his performance doesn’t improve. It could be for a number of reasons, I guess. All I know is that, in this fan’s opinion, hardly anything, including bad finishes, is his fault. He seems to for get that others, including his teammates, are constantly doing what he complains is hard to do with this package and they have had to deal with slower cars and less proven drivers the same as him. I mean, come on. There has to be a time when even a talented driver like him has to come to grips with the fact he isn’t without fault, accept his shortcomings, work to improve them and move on to even more accomplishments.
For the others at or near the cut line, the pressure is on to get points or win if they want to stay in the playoffs. The Roval is coming next weekend and, depending on how things turn out for them at Richmond, next weekend can be even more pressure packed…
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© September 21, 2019 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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