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Let’s see now… There’s a lot of things different for this 2020 NASCAR Cup season opener at Daytona. More horsepower, faster closing rates and a repeat learning curve for blocking. In the course of events at Daytona this last week, some learned that blocking can be a risk not to be taken – at least not multiple blocks. Some learned that lesson the hard way and others learned form those that took to trying to block with disastrous results. Some were fortunate and others… well… not so much.
One thing that can be said about The Clash, and I don’t know of anyone that disagrees, there was a lot of money lost in just the wrecked cars. I think the only one that had no noticeable damage was the number three of Austin Dillon. How he managed that is hard to say but, it was obvious at the end of the night, the lack of damage didn’t guarantee him a win. In fact, Erik Jones had a torn up racecar and won (of course, with the help of his teammate, Denny Hamlin.) But then, you already know all of this since it has been the talking points of just about everyone since the wreck-fest called, The Bush Clash.
So, much to your relief I’m sure, I won’t continue down that path. I just want to give a little bit of my opinion on the Clash and the Duels and, of course, my expectations for the Daytona 500.
First of all, The Clash was interesting but made very obvious the things that might have worked last year, weren’t going to work this year. One of the most important lessons learned – at least from this fan’s view – was the same thing Brad Keselowski complained about, especially last season and that was blocking. He mentioned he was not going to let up but instead move them if they were in his way because of their blocking. Now, we all know the drivers are going to block but this season, with the increased horsepower and the faster closing rate, they may not be blocking as much. Well, at least they may limit the number of times they try blocking as a maneuver to keep someone behind them. I guess we’ll see how that goes for them.
Hey, I understand blocking is a natural impulse for a driver to keep someone from passing but, the multiple blocks once employed by many may not be used as much as they were in the recent past on the Super Speedways simply because they end up wrecking or getting wrecked.
Another thing that has come to light from The Clash and the Duels is that the changes made to the Chevys in the front and rear may have solved some of their performance problems. We actually saw them running up front and running competitively during both the Clash and the Duels. Of course, we know the Daytona 500 and the way the Chevys run on the Super Speedways is not uncommon but even this old Chevy and NASCAR fan is happy to see there is possibly some hope for them running up front and possibly even winning some races again. It is hoped that they will do so on the mile and a half tracks, too.
On a personal note, it was good to see the Chevys, in particular the Hendrick Chevys, showing some muscle again. I was also happy to see Jimmie Johnson looking like he could run with the best of them once again. It was also good to see Alex Bowman and William Byron showing they could run up front.
Look… I don’t live in a dream world and I know this particular article/podcast is weighted heavily towards the Chevys. That’s because of the three makes in NASCAR, the Chevys have suffered the most over the last two years because of their body style. Now that those have been at least somewhat corrected, it looks like they might be more competitive come race-time.
I kind of shy away from making predictions for how races are going to go and how they might end in recent years but I want to make one here and now. I believe a Chevy is going to win the 500 and it could even be Jimmie Johnson. Now that might seem like a real stretch but… I don’t even care if it does turn out the way I just mentioned. If it does, I think I would be amazing to see Jimmie Johnson start off the season with a win and the Hendrick teams to finish in the top spots. Will it happen? All I can say is, it could!! …
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© February 15, 2020 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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