From a NASCAR Fan’s View
For years, taking on the Brickyard meant taking on the historic oval track. This year, that time is apparently over and the NASCAR experience will be on the fourteen-turn road course. Oh, and in case you haven’t been paying attention, the Indy cars and Xfinity series also took to the Road course this weekend. Of course, by the time the Cup cars take to the track for qualifying and the race on Sunday afternoon, the other two will have already been long done with their races.
As I’ve mentioned a few times, having practice on Saturday and then qualifying and the race all on Sunday, some things may go a bit differently than what we might expect. Expectations are for Kye Larson, Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. to be the favorites to lead the way. Without giving my opinion away for how I think things might go, let me just say there are a few ways this race could go.
One thing I mentioned in my last article is, Kyle Bush. When there is practice and/or qualifying, it definitely appears to help Kyle perform better on race day. I don’t know if it was coincidence but, from my observations, that little extra time on a track helps him and it could greatly improve his chances for finishing at, or near, the front when it comes down to the final lap. No, I’m not saying he will win but, I am saying it might improve where he finishes.
Now that I’ve opened that up for discussion, there are several other drivers that don’t usually take advantage of running in the Xfinity series on a regular weekend. Some of those names are well known and one or two are veterans. From this fan’s view, it appears they are looking to use the extra time on the track to improve their performance.
One of the most visible standout names is Kevin Harvick. He is fairly safe when it comes to points for being in the playoffs but he has no wins this season. In comparison to last season, I don’t know anyone that expected that to be the case. Sure, I know you’ve been hearing that more often than not in the last number of weeks but, it is a fact the Stewart-Haas teams have struggled this season. I believe Kevin Harvick is looking to get more comfortable and perform at a higher level than he might without the extra track time. After all, he does have several wins at the Brickyard. From my view, I believe it will help him.
Denny Hamlin is another that would really like to get a win this weekend. He and Kyle Larson are locked in a tight battle for the regular season championship and a win would definitely help him going forward over the next few weeks. At the moment, these two are tied points-wise but Larson has five wins to Hamlin’s none. There are those that think Denny will win before the playoffs start but I’m not so sure. He has had a lot of chances to win and he has been very consistent most all season but, I’m one of those that thinks he might not get a win in the regular season and, depending on who might win these next three races, I’m not even sure he will be in the playoffs. Let me clarify. He likely will be but, there is that outside chance he won’t. It depends on whether there are those first time winners in the next three. Wow!! Wouldn’t that be a shock. Someone with so many points not making the playoffs simply because there were sixteen winners this season.
Okay… enough speculating on the two “most-likelies” to make the playoffs, not making the playoffs. Even though it is possible this could happen, it probably won’t. But, you know as well as I do, it has been that kind of year.
Let’s say, just for argument’s sake, the favorites don’t win this one at Indianapolis and one that is a good road racer does. There are several that come to mind very quickly, at least to this fan’s mind. Austin Cindric, Tyler Reddick, Ross Chastain and Chase Briscoe. Need I say more? Any one of these guys, and a few others, could win this one and some of them need a win just to make it in or stay in the top sixteen. If, and I really don’t think it will but, IF a first-time winner in this season takes this one, can you imagine how that will shake up the playoff picture. Not only shake that up but it will put an extra amount of pressure on two drivers, in particular.
No matter how you look at it, this will be a very interesting race. A lot is riding on having a good run for those on the bubble and those without a win. From watching the Indy cars and the Xfinity series, there is a chance that just about anything can happen by the time this one is over on Sunday afternoon. The track is relatively treacherous in some turns and passing areas and, even if someone is running well, it could quickly change with a mistake of their own or someone else’s.
I still think there is a high possibility Chase Elliott or Kyle Larson could win and there is always Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin that will be pressing the envelope at the end. No matter how it goes, I’m thinking this one could be one of the most dramatic and intense races of the season. Or… it could be that one or more of the Hendrick cars just dominates all afternoon and walks away with another victory…
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
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Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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