Nascar Racing

The Pressure Is On At Kansas

From a NASCAR Fan’s View


Seven of the eight drivers trying to make it to the final four are feeling the pressure to come away from the Kansas Speedway with a lot of points or a win. That other guy… uh, what’s his name again… oh yeah, Kyle Larson, well, he’s not pressured but he wants another win and the rest of them are probably going to have to deal with him being there contending for the win along with them.

Some of the seven not yet in the final four are under more pressure than a couple of the others. Except for Kyle Larson, the points battle for the rest is very tight. The only one with a not-so-comfortable points lead of those seven is Ryan Blaney. He is seventeen points above the cutline and rated second to Larson in the points standings.

From this fan’s view, I don’t think anyone can believe the Gibbs teams will show up and run at Kansas as they did at Texas. Texas was not a good track at all for them although, Kyle Bush did manage to finish in a place where he is eight points above the cutline. Even though he did win the first stage, I’m still not convinced he is going to make it to the final four in Phoenix. This is another one of those times I’m not making a positive statement as to whether he will or won’t; I’m just saying I’m not so sure he will make the cut. There are many that say you can never count him out but, I am one that says you can. Remember, I’m not saying he won’t make it, I’m just saying he might not make it either on points or by winning over the next two races.

Martin Truex Jr. really cannot afford to have another bad race. He is twenty-two points below the cutline and that almost puts him in a must win situation. I haven’t been paying that close of attention to his plight over the last several races but it does appear he is struggling for consistency. I know he is capable of winning at either of these next two tracks so I’m not counting him out just yet. His fate lay in the hands of him and his crew chief and a lot of things will have to go right for him to move on from where he is to the final four. Impossible is not really a word we should apply to his circumstances but, he does have a long way to go.

From this fan’s view, Joey Logano is probably one of the least likely to advance to the final four. His blown engine last weekend did not help him at all and put him at the bottom of the list. Like most other fans, I believe he is in a must win situation either here at Kansas or, if he fails here, a win at Martinsville becomes a necessity. Being forty-three points below the cutline is might tough to make up unless everyone has really bad days or he takes that win he needs to jump the cutline. Still, he runs well at both tracks so, he could pull it off. If he does, in my opinion it could shift the momentum to him at least somewhat for that final race at Phoenix.

Brad Keselowski has his work cut out for himself if he wants to be a contender for the 2021 Championship. He is fifteen points below the cutline and has seemed to find his way near the front recently but, I’m just not so sure he will be able to move on from here. This season is his last chance to get another Championship while driving for Roger Penske but, from this fan’s view, he really needs to win one race over the next two races. We all know he is capable but the question is, will he? I’m just not so sure it will happen for him. From my view, it’s just been that kind of year for him.

Chase Elliott is just below the cutline just eight points behind Kyle Bush. We all know he is under the gun to have a good points day and possibly take the win. Of the seven drivers not yet in or completely out of moving on, Chase is the one that probably wants this race as badly as anyone. I really don’t think he wants to go to Martinsville having to win but, he has done it before. Last year’s Cup Champion is in a good spot to move on but a lot of things have to go his way. Even though he is still in it, he has struggled in several ways over the last several races and he cannot afford to have a bad day at Kansas.

Let’s face it. Kansas is a challenging racetrack. They can run high and they can run low including all the way down to the apron. They can also run three wide if they want. Not everyone will want to but it can be done. The pressure to run up front or win is extreme for the seven not yet locked into moving on to the final four. From this fan’s view, this is going to be one of the most aggressive, emotional and intense races of the Round of Eight and I don’t really think anyone is going to hold back, including Kyle Larson.

One thing does come to mind that could make a big difference, though. There are several that could take the win that are not in contention for making the final four. They’re hungry for a win and they’re not going to hold anything back either…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 23, 2021 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

By Rusty Norman

Amateur writer, NASCAR Fan, musician and former local Stock Car racer.