From a NASCAR Fan’s View
One of the most dreaded races of the 2023 season is taking place at the Roval this weekend and it should be one of the most intense races of the playoffs, if not the entire 2023 season. Things are definitely shaping up to be very interesting to say the very least. With the playoff standings the way they are after Talladega last weekend, this week’s race could mean heartbreak for some and jubilation for others. Whatever the case, there will be four more drivers eliminated from continuing on in the playoffs.
Problems have already started for some and one of them in particular is going to be starting in a bad place. Of course, you know I’m talking about Kyle Larson. He hit the wall hard enough to have to go to a backup car to compete in today’s race. There are those already saying he doesn’t have a chance to move on to the Round of Eight.
Well, I don’t know if that’s true or false but I have seen Kyle come from the back of the pack more than once so, I won’t rule him out until there is absolutely no hope. Of course, you also know that won’t happen until the race is over or Kyle is completely out of options points or win wise. At the time of this writing, he is on the plus side above the cut by fifteen points but, those below him will be ahead of him as soon as the race starts because he will be starting at the back. He has a lot of ground to make up but I won’t rule him out until there is absolutely no hope.
Larson wasn’t the only one of the playoff drivers to have problems in practice but his problems were the most severe. Christopher Bell also hit the wall but he was able to fix the minor damage to his car and qualify. In fact, his damage was apparently so slight, he qualified second on the front row with pole winner, Tyler Reddick.
From this fan’s view, it once again appears the Toyotas have shown up with good speed. It really isn’t a surprise since they have been qualifying up front just about every week since the playoffs started. Although it isn’t much of a surprise, their qualifying speed can be a bit deceptive when it comes to the race. Even though they have been fast, they have also had their share of challenges when the races have started. I’m not willing to bet the farm on their winning today but I will say this. They do look to have an advantage in being at the front when the day is done. It all depends on how they do when all the cars are on the track vying for position. Sometimes, at least from my view, things don’t always go according to plan in the pits or on the track during a race.
A quick look at the playoff standings shows three of those below the cut going into the Roval today starting in the top five. Obviously, Tyler Reddick sits on the pole, Bubba Wallace starts fourth and Kyle Bush fifth. That appears to be a pretty good advantage for them when it comes to the possibility of moving on to the Round of Eight. Well, that is IF things go well and they stay away from mistakes in the pits and other possible troubles on the track.
The problem, as I see it, is that there are several good road racers that aren’t in the playoffs but have a very good chance at winning the race today. Just to mention a few that could pull off the win today would be, AJ Allmendinger starting sixth, Daniel Suarez starting third and Chase Elliott starting eighth. They aren’t the only good road racers in the field but they are starting in the top ten. The others showed good speed but the point is, if some of the drivers starting at the front have problems, drivers like, Ty Gibbs, Joey Logano, Michael McDowell and several others could pull off the win and make moving on for the playoff drivers completely a points thing.
So… two are already moving on to the next round because of wins. Six of the twelve either need to win or have a good points day. Denny Hamlin probably doesn’t have much to worry about and will likely move on to the Round of Eight. That leaves five that really can’t afford to have a “bad day at the races.” As I said earlier, this is the most dreaded race in the playoffs and anything can and probably will happen. Which of the starting thirty-seven drivers do you think can pull off the win and which of the twelve playoff drivers will move on to the Round of Eight? Yeah, that’s what I thought, too…
Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 8, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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