Nascar Racing

Cup Teams Taking On Atlanta Under the Lights  

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

For the second time in 2023 the Cup Teams take on the Atlanta Motor Speedway and this time it will be under the lights on a Sunday night. Gee, that just doesn’t sound right for some reason. It’s not even a holiday weekend. The usual statement for a race under the light not on a holiday weekend is, “Saturday night under the lights!!”

Well… I guess that really comes from my days on the local short-tracks. If I told you how long ago that was, well, let’s just say you’d definitely know I’m no longer a spring chicken. All of that aside, this will be one of the several remaining races for those not yet in the playoffs to try and win their way in. As I’m sure you’ve been hearing as I have, nobody wants to rely on getting in on points and, I don’t know about you, but I’ve been hearing that a lot.

Just like back in the spring race, the Fords seem to have brought ‘the speed’ to the Atlanta track. However, it wasn’t quite like that last summer when Chase Elliott won in the final laps.

So, I guess the big questions still remain for this one. Will the Fords be able to carry their qualifying domination through to the checkered flag or was it just qualifying speed they demonstrated? Was it really true dominating speed over the Chevys and Toyotas? Those are questions this fan isn’t ready to answer just yet. I mean, looking back to some qualifying sessions in the past, we’ve seen one manufacturer or team dominate the qualifying and totally fall like a rock for the race. If it was true dominating speed over the others, there could be a bunch of Fords finishing in the top ten. That in itself would be at least little bit different than a lot of times this season.

Honestly and from this fan’s view, I don’t expect this race to be boring or just a one manufacturer dominated race even though in the top fifteen starters there are eleven Fords with six of them in the top six, three Toyotas and the only Chevy in the top fifteen was Kyle Larson. He qualified just below Ty Gibbs in eight.

In my opinion, and if the Fords really are that strong tonight, things could be pretty bleak for the Toyotas and Chevys when all is said and done. Still, since this is Atlanta and being able to be around in the top five or six in the final laps is very important, a Chevy or a Toyota could end up in Victory Lane.

Atlanta has always been a challenge whether in daytime, evening or night. That is one of the reasons I don’t expect this to be a “boring” race tonight. So much can happen in 260 laps and 400 miles. Just take a quick look back at last summer’s second race at Atlanta. Chase Elliott didn’t look like he had a chance at winning in the final restart but he did pull it off. Even though he has had a challenging season so far, he could do the same thing tonight.

The Hendrick Chevys didn’t look all that good in qualifying, which is a little unusual, especially this season. From my view, I think it is possible they just missed their off-the-truck setup and, since there was no practice, that made any setup problems not show up until they actually hit the track for qualifying.

The common thread seemed to be the same for most of those that struggled in qualifying and that was just being extremely loose. That wasn’t just for the Hendrick Chevys but for all makes. From this fan’s view, it seemed that some could overcome it – especially the Fords – while others will have to deal with it before or during the race.

I reckon we will know by the time the race starts tonight how the teams will handle it or if it was just in their setup for the qualifying. That should prove to be interesting when it comes down to it how NASCAR may handle it. Will they make it easier for changes to take place or will they have to fix it during the early part of the race. If it was just a qualifying setup thing, then it will be a totally different race than it looks like it could be from the qualifying order.

Whatever happens, we won’t really know until the race starts and about thirty or forty laps are run. If the Fords dominate – like they did in the qualifying – then it will likely be Fords, Fords and more Fords in the front at the end. If not then there just might be a Toyota or Chevy in Victory Lane…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© July 9, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
All audio productions by and Pod Cast Norm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

By Rusty Norman

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