from a NASCAR Fan’s View
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There are several questions that come to mind as the NASCAR Cup Series starts the “Round of Eight” in the 2020 playoffs at Kansas this weekend. I’m sure you may have different questions than I do but, these are the first ones that crossed my mind as I began to think about the race this weekend.
I think one of the biggest questions I have is will Chase Elliott be able to carry his momentum from last weekend at the Roval to victory this weekend? He has proven himself to be one of the best on the road courses but will he be able to perform at a higher level than he has on the one and a half mile ovals? Just looking at the playoffs so far shows us he has been one of the better performers in the playoffs. I can’t help but wonder if that momentum won’t continue and carry him into the final four with a very good chance of winning his first Cup Championship or at least making to the final four early on in this round of eight. I may be jumping the gun just a little but, he has had a hot shoe recently and he could easily be in Victory Lane when this one is in the books.
Another question I have is whether or not Denny Hamlin will struggle or get back on track at Kansas? He has had a strong year but, lately he just hasn’t shown the same strength as he did earlier in the season. In the past, Denny has made it into the playoffs and into the final four but not made it all the way to winning his first Championship. This is one of his best years and he is quite capable to take it all the way. He has shown a lot more maturity this season than in seasons past but I still wonder, will this be his year?
Martin Truex Jr. is also on my “what if” list. He has had a good season but it hasn’t been stellar for him lately. I think the first question that comes to my mind about him is, “What if” he doesn’t make the cut for the final four? I am absolutely not saying he won’t make it but I do definitely ask the question, which of the others will if he doesn’t? It could be quite misleading to look at his performance lately and say anything at all but, he and his team have struggled a bit in the playoffs. In fact, I would go so far to say that this may not be his year to make it to the final four but it also begs the question, has he shown the consistency it will take to get there? After all, the Toyotas have been searching a bit for speed, especially in the 2020 playoffs, just ask Kyle Bush…
From this fan’s view, I’m not sure if Kevin Harvick has been a little off his game or if he has just been playing it safe. Maybe he has just been playing it safe but if the opposite is true, the final four could look very different. For much of the 2020 season, he has been one of the top choices to be in the final four and it looks like he could be. Well, that is if the wheels don’t fall off (which even this fan admits isn’t very likely.) The main point is that he just hasn’t shown himself as dominate as he did earlier in the season. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m just asking questions about some of the “what ifs” if things don’t go the way so many have said they would. I admit, he has been one of the strongest competitors this year but, well… “what if?” How many are prepared to accept the fact if he doesn’t make it??
I really just have to throw this out there; “does Brad Keselowski’s performance lately really instill a great deal of confidence he I going to be one of the final four?” At times, I would have to answer yes but, he has had those moments that make me wonder. In this fan’s opinion, I have thought he was undoubtedly going to be there and then there are those other moments that I’m just not sure at all. Yes, it’s true. He did dominate at one of the recent playoff races and wanted to save that car for Phoenix but he has also struggled, perhaps even more than he expected. He may be able to use that car at Phoenix but it may not be for the Championship. In fact, I have expected him to shine more than he has, but then that’s just my observation and some have decided he IS going to be there.
So, let’s see… that leaves us with three hardly anyone has talked about throughout the last of the season; Alex Bowman, Kurt Bush and Joey Logano. Well, actually there has been a lot of talk about Joey Logano so, maybe I shouldn’t include him here with the other two. Let me talk about Joey first and then move on to the other two.
I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Joey Logano but, I can’t deny his ability and his intensity. He is one of the most hard-charging drivers in Cup, sometimes to his own demise. He has often tried to make things happen when he could have just been a little more patient and let certain things just fall into his lap. I’m really not saying he shouldn’t press the way he does or that he shouldn’t try to get all he can at any given time. I’m just saying he might want to have a little more patience at certain times and it might improve his chances for advancing to the final four this season.
Alex Bowman and Kurt Bush were pretty much written off of making the final four but they have both persevered and here they are, in the round of eight. Whether either one, or both, of them make it any further is one of the greatest unknowns of the 2020 season, (well, at least to this fan.) Either one, or both, of them could win one of the next three races and make the final four and it wouldn’t surprise this fan in the least. In fact, don’t you think that would put a large exclamation point on the year 2020? (Yeah, it probably won’t happen, but… “What If?”)
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 17, 2020 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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