From a NASCAR Fan’s View
So… If you thought last time the Cup Teams visited Atlanta was interesting, then this time might be even more interesting. You see, at least in my opinion, they don’t really have any good excuses for not being able to perform well. The reason for that is that they now have a notebook on the place, (limited as it may be at the moment.) Last time, the track threw them some curve balls since they redesigned it and repaved it. This time, it isn’t new. It is a place they’ve run a bunch of laps at and it should be a little easier to “get a grip on the place” (excuse the pun.)
Lately, the Chevys have been running strong just about everywhere, especially at the intermediate tracks and road courses. Take last weekend for example. They finished in the top five and it was quite an impressive showing. In fact, in the top ten, six were Chevys and four were Fords. The first Toyota was Martin Truex Jr. and he finished in thirteenth.
To say the Toyotas have been struggling a bit might be a bit of an understatement. Of course, that could all change this weekend at Atlanta. I say that because the Toyotas have either been hot or cold, fast off the truck or struggling to move up in the field. Sure, I know Denny Hamlin and Kyle Bush have won races and will be in the playoffs (barring the unforeseen) but, they just haven’t been consistent week in and week out. In the past year or so, the JGR Toyotas showed much stronger than they have this season.
If you remember, I mentioned several weeks ago that it was my opinion both Hamlin and Bush kind of had their victories handed to them. That’s not to say they weren’t at the right spot to take advantage of others misfortune but it does say if certain situations hadn’t happened, they may not have won the races they did. All of that is water over the dam now but, it does say something about how the racing has gone with the Next Gen car this season.
I guess there’s no better time than to give my opinion of the Next Gen car right now. Well, at least from observing it so far this season. I’ve heard all the positive comments about it so far from the talking heads, week in and week out. In my opinion, there are good things and some not-so-good things about it. Without going into a long dissertation of what I think, I’ll just say I think they have a few things they need to work on for next year. I’m not so sure they will but NASCAR usually works on things to make them better.
Once again, it may be only my opinion but it does seem the new car favors the younger drivers. The veteran drivers, so far, have seemed to have taken longer to adapt to the new car than the younger drivers. Personally, I think the veteran drivers have had more of everything they need to forget. They have had years to train their muscle memory and program themselves to attack the tracks in a certain way and now I think that is holding them back.
I know this may be just my opinion but think about it. For the most part, the older veteran drivers have been the ones struggling the most and the ones that have only been in Cup for a few years or less seem to have struggled less. I admit the racing has been relatively good but, I also admit they have been fairly predictable as far as when certain problems will happen during a race and that often changes the finish of a race, often at the end in particular. You know, those things like tire problems, brake problems and other things.
So, now that the qualifying has been rained out and the field has been set, it is anyone’s guess as to how things are going to go for this one. I mean, even without the qualifying it was going to be hard to determine which of them would possibly have an advantage. It could be another Chevy day or it could be a Ford leading the way. However it goes, it should be unlike the usual Atlanta race. Actually, it could be another one of those races we’ve seen a lot of this year. You know the ones where there are first time winners and those that we have an unexpected winner…
Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… 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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