from a NASCAR Fan’s View
Okay, so the NASCAR Cup teams are taking it to the Phoenix Raceway and there is one big question going into this weekend’s race. Who will win? After the first four races of the 2021 season, there have been four different winners and a couple of them won there first race in their Cup series careers. All of them are presently qualified for the playoffs and some are wondering if there will be more than 16 different winners this season which would allow us to see how NASCAR will handle that situation. Personally, I don’t think that will be the way things go for the rest of the season but, this might just be a year of more firsts for the series.
There are a lot of things to talk about going into the race this weekend but there isn’t any reason to cover them all. In fact, I just want to cover a few but, I’ll get to that shortly.
First, I want to talk about Kyle Larson. His win last weekend at Las Vegas proved he still has it. He can still get it done when it comes down to winning. After taking some forced time off and having strong performances on dirt tracks mostly in Sprint Cars, it didn’t take him long to deliver his first win for Hendrick Motorsports. After what he had been through, it was great to see him get the chance to get in a Hendrick Motorsport car. I think it’s great that Rick Hendrick gave him what amounts to a second chance to move forward in NASCAR Cup.
There seemed to be a constant message from the talking heads of FOX Sports and others that they had wondered what Kyle could do once he got in equipment like the number 5 Hendrick Motorsports car. Like I said, I am very thankful Rick Hendrick made the call to give him a second chance in NASCAR Cup after his “challenges” last year. From this fan’s view, it did appear the fan’s were behind him also and it showed in his first win after four starts for Hendrick. Of course, that wasn’t his first win in Cup but I’d be willing to bet, it was, and will be, a memorable one for him.
Also, it is getting harder and harder to think of Brad Keselowski as “Bad Brad” these days. My opinion of him has really been changing over the last couple of years or so as I have watched as he has matured as a person and driver. When he went out to congratulate Kyle after his win, I gained even more respect for him. Look, I know none of them are perfect either on the track or in life but, it has been interesting to watch Brad mature especially since he became a dad.
Okay. So now it’s time to talk about What’s coming our way this weekend…
The Phoenix Raceway can be a life changing track in so many ways. First there is the spring race which always proves to be interesting. Most importantly, it is where they hold the season finale in the fall and where Champions are crowned. Last November, it is where the 2020 Cup Champ was crowned and, of course that was Chase Elliott.
Speaking of Chase Elliott, there are more than a few thinking he may be the one to beat in this spring race. Now, I’m not going to go that far out on a limb at the moment but, I do have to admit he is one to watch from the beginning all the way to the end of the race.
Two others that many are talking about as far as taking the win are Kevin Harvick and Kyle Bush. I really don’t argue with that assessment all that much but, there is more of a challenge for one of those two than the other. Kyle Bush starts seventh and Kevin starts eighteenth. Since there is no practice and no qualifying, the entire field lines up according to the metrics of how they’ve been finishing.
The present system does sort of handicap those that haven’t been running consistently up front. Let’s just say, if a driver finishes first one week and then near the rear of the field the next, his job becomes harder simply because it moves him further back in the field. If he can’t overcome the challenge of his starting position one weekend, it could very possibly make it even more difficult to do so the following weekend. Is it a fair system NASCAR is using? Absolutely… but it is more difficult to get a good starting position once you get behind a bit. That could also affect how the playoffs look and whether or not some of the drivers can point their way in. From this fan’s view, it is probably why the racing has been so intense starting right at the beginning. Just about everyone wants to win their way into the finale and not have to worry about the points situation.
So… getting back to the title of this article, “Who Will Win At Phoenix?” Will one of the first four winners repeat or will it be someone else, possibly even another first time win in someones Cup career? Hey, I’m just asking the question; I don’t really have the answer. All I know is, there are a lot of drivers in the field hungry for a win…
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© March 13, 2021 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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