From a NASCAR Fan’s View
So… this is the first time for the Next Gen car on the Michigan track and it looks like the Toyotas have shown up, ready to race. Since I wasn’t available for the qualifying sessions – for reasons beyond my control – I’ll just have to go with what I am told. There are six Toyotas in the top eleven and three of those take up the top three starting positions. The surprise to me of those top three is Bubba Wallace. I really just didn’t expect him to be on the pole for one thing and, for another, I really didn’t expect the Toyotas to all be in the top twelve.
The Fords look about the way they have lately. Of course, I can’t discount the fact that Logano and Cindric qualified in the top five and the first Chevys to show up are Tyler Reddick in sixth and Kyle Larson in eighth.
Two of the Ford drivers that need good finishes on Sunday afternoon would be Kevin Harvick and Ryan Blaney. Unfortunately, Harvick qualified sixteenth and Blaney twenty-fourth. If qualifying says anything about how their day might go, I would say they’ve both got their work cut out themselves. Martin Truex Jr, on the other hand, qualified seventh and was one of those faster Toyotas and, like Harvick and Blaney, really needs a win to pretty much assure himself to make the playoffs.
That’s what makes these next races so important and interesting. Even if one of them wins, there are still three races left for others to win and then, if I can add a little drama, that really makes it interesting for all of them.
Do I think we’re going to have three or four more, first time, winners this season over the next three or four weeks, this one included? To tell the truth, I do think it’s possible but probably not too likely. The problem is, there just aren’t that many drivers that have been running that strong compared to those that have been running at or near the front on a fairly regular basis.
Sure, I know on any given weekend, almost anyone has a chance to win and really mess up the playoff picture. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t stay the way it is right now with a couple of drivers that could actually point their way in or that one more first-time winner couldn’t do the same thing. When it comes to this season, just about anything can happen. That has been proven a couple of times so far. Not even the winner of a race can rest assured of their win until they pass post-race inspection.
I don’t know how you see it but, from my view it does appear the Hendrick teams are struggling a bit. Just look at what has happened to Kyle Larson over the last several weeks. That collision last weekend at Indy with Ty Dillon is just one example. The impact alone was scary and could have turned out much worse. As it was, it was still bad.
William Byron is another one that seems to be experiencing the Hendrick run of bad luck lately. Once again, from my view, when it comes down to whether or not it can happen to him, I’ll just say, if it can go wrong, it will and probably has for them lately. The same can be said for Alex Bowman, too. Even if he shows up with a fast car, (which he hasn’t recently,) something usually happens to either take him out of competition for that weekend or put him several laps behind.
And then that brings me to Chase Elliott. He is the one that can seem to do no wrong, at least on his own. First, he has a win handed to him when the first two cars that finished ahead of him are disqualified from either of them winning. Last weekend, he had a real opportunity to win clean over Tyler Reddick and then there was the ominous turn one at Indy in overtime. You saw how they all piled into one another, his teammate William Byron and Ryan Blaney got together (along with many others) and Chase didn’t even finish all that close to the front. Which was just a perfect end to a not-so-perfect day for the Hendrick camp.
So… when I think of how the race this weekend might go, I’m definitely expecting the unexpected. Whether or not that means a first-time winner or a surprise finish with a not so expected winner, I’m not sure. What I am sure of is that this could be an interesting day and the race won’t be over until it’s over…
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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