Nascar at Las Vegas: “Just A Fan’s View” Odds Are Vegas Will Be A Down to the Wire Shootout

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Hey everybody and welcome to Just A Fan’s View pre-race chatter for this week.

Judging from the qualifying times, Just A Fan’s View thinks this is going to be an awfully hard race to call, at least before its finished. There are a lot reasons why I think that, but the main one is those qualifying times.

There are so many cars qualified within hundredths of each other that it could either prove to be one of the closest non-restrictor plate races of the year or it could just be another runaway. I am really having trouble deciding who’s gonna win this thing because the cars are so closely matched.

It looks like Goodyear has brought a really good tire and it also seems the drivers think so, too. Judging from the way they qualified, nobody had any hesitation of being committed to throwing themselves into the the turns  and “lettin’ ‘er eat”. The thing that seemed to bother them the most was the bumps down in turns 1 and 2. If it weren’t for them, I think we would have seen even closer qualifying times and more people breaking the track record. Those bumps threw a lot of drivers a curve ball when it came to qualifying. It remains to be seen how they’ll handle them for the race.

The Pole was captured by Kyle Bush with his brother, Kurt, grabbing the outside position of the front row. Were it not for the fact Kyle blew an engine in practice before qualifying, it could have been a blowout by him and a race for second for all the rest. Blowing that engine just means more excitement for us fans because he will be starting in the back on Sunday and we all know he won’t be satisfied staying back there. I look for him to move up through the pack regularly when the race begins and highly expect him to be a contender for the win.

Now…that being said, let’s take a look at some the other drivers that aren’t going to just sit by and wait for him to drive to the front. After finishing first for the first two races of the 2009 season it would be awfully hard to think that Matt Kenseth wouldn’t be right up there fighting for the win at race end. Even though the Roush cars were noticeably slower than many in qualifying, a little thing like that has never kept them from being in the mix for taking the checkered flag.  I look for strong competition to come from the likes of Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Jamie McMurray and yes, David Ragan, too.

A quick look at the top 10 starters shows us just how exciting the end of this race could be. Now, I know that putting too much stock in the way they qualify is a little misleading, but just about anybody in the top 38 could pull out the win.

Just look at some of the drivers that are back in the pack but their qualifying times and speeds are not that far off. It is filled with the likes of  Dale Earnhardt Jr, Jeff Gordon, Martin Truex Jr, Greg Biffle, Michael Waltrip and Carl Edwards to name just a few. If we just look at the top 32, they are only about 31/2 tenths off the pace or less. The others are only about a half second off the pace.  All of this could change in Saturday’s practice,however.

Some of the surprises  to me are David Reutimann and Marcos Ambrose. Not that I don’t think them very capable but it is a little different to see them in the top five qualifiers. Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Mark Martin, Kasey Kane and Ryan Newman all qualified in the top ten and any one of them could be taking the checkered flag at the end of the race.

Probably the most controversial thing to come up after qualifying was the way that Nascar addresses a car being pulled out of  line and being sent to the rear for one reason or another.  The way they do it just moves the cars forward in the line the car is removed from. Many of us familiar with the Saturday night way of doing things are used to seeing the crossover of positions so that the qualifiers are basically still in order according to speed.

Kyle Bush having to pull out of the Pole position and going to the back actually puts the third fastest qualifier, Jimmy Johnson, ahead of the second fastest, Kurt Bush, in doing it the Nascar way which some think unfair.  I personally like the crossover realignment but I do understand the other way, also. Besides, it is Nascar’s decision and they have been doing it that way for a long time. Still, sometimes looking at changing things around is not a bad thing either.

Well…that brings us  to the hard part this week. Who is going to win?

Honestly, this is a hard one for me to call. I’m writing this without any input from the Saturday final practice, but I’ll give my opinion anyway, (as I always do.)

This week, I see a lot of possibilities. Tony Stewart, Jamie McMurray, Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Mark Martin and a host of others. Wow, this is tough but I’m going to pick somebody that is probably unexpected by many. I think it is going to come down to a shootout at the end with about five drivers. Kyle Bush, Tony Stewart, Jimmy Johnson, Kurt Bush and Jeff Gordon. Out of those five I think it’s going to be a race to wire and Jeff Gordon is going to break his winless streak in points racing this weekend in Las Vegas.

I know the odds are against me…but…isn’t that what Las Vegas is all about anyway???

See ya next time…


©February 2009 – all rights reserved

Just A Fan’s View and Rusty Norman

Nascar at Fontana: The “After Chatter” from Just A Fan’s View…

I guess it comes as no surprise that there was at least  a little bit of drama at the end of the race in Fontana. It did, however, come down to a race between two drivers, Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon and unless something unexpected happened, they were the only two that really had a chance at winning. Although the last lap wasn’t that exciting, the last several offered just enough doubt as to who was going to win that it did make it worth watching all the way to the end.

Matt Kenseth drove across the finish line and became one of only two drivers to win the first two races of a Nascar season. Considering Matt didn’t have a win last year, I think this would qualify for him having a great start to the new season.

Jeff Gordon finished a very strong second and that was the second week in a row he made a very strong showing.

I have to admit the race was a little better than I thought it would be. It still was not filled with the drama of some races. It did become interesting at the end when it was toss up as to whether Matt or Jeff was going to pull of the win. There was also the fact that Kyle Bush was poised to take advantage of any mistake by either Matt or Jeff and that also added a bit to the drama of the ending of the race.

As a fan, I still have a tendency to lose interest in the middle of the race because, at times, it becomes a follow the leader type of race. It appears to me the drivers are at least willing to just burn up some miles and maintian a certain position. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that part of racing, too. There are very few races 500 miles in length that we find where all of the drivers are running flat out for the 500 miles.

One thing I notice about these type of races is a driver’s intention is to get out front and stay there if possible. Once he is out front, it is easier for him to fall into a rhythm and usually the C.O.T. car handles better out front in clean air.

Michael Waltrip said something interesting in an interview about the C.O.T. that I found interesting. He described the difference of being out front with only a couple of cars in front of him and the difference of being further back in the pack. It seems the more cars you have around you the worse the turbulence and the worse the car handles. That is the important reason why any driver that is able to is going to do as much as he can to get out in the cleaner air and stay there if possible.

All in all, Fontana didn’t have much happen that caused an uproar so there isn’t much to talk about in that area. The only thing that really was going on that made people wonder was whether or not Kyle Bush was going to win all three of  the races for the weekend. He won two of them in one day and had a stellar performance in the cup race on Sunday. I guess he still has something to look forward to putting in the record books someday soon.

Well…California is behind us and it is time to move on to Las Vegas and I’m looking forward to it. We’ll talk more about it later in the week…

See ya next time…


©February 2009 – all rights reserved

Just A Fan’s View and Rusty Norman

Nascar At Fontana: Pre-race opinion from Just A Fan’s View

Fontana is a track that garners mixed emotions from the fans and here at Just A Fan’s View. On the one hand it is a fast track with turn entry speeds of around 200 mph and on the other it is a place that can either breed boredom over much of the 500 miles or complete dominance by one driver as was proved thus far by Kyle Bush.

It isn’t always a race that holds the attention of the fan from beginning to end. Most of the fans I have talked to recently watch the start of the race and the first 20 or so laps and then basically half listen to it on their TVs or radios while they do other things close by. Of course the fans that are traveling while they listen on Sirius/XM probably pay the closest attention because they can travel a lot of miles while the race progresses.

So far, this has been an interesting beginning to the 2009 season. We saw some great racing during several of the events of Speed Weeks at Daytona, FL and then experienced a slight let down at the finish of the Daytona 500 because of rain. Overall, the consensus of the fans coming out of Daytona has been good with many looking forward to the racing this week.

There has been a little debate sparked because of the no-testing rules and some even think that is why the race at Daytona was so interesting and close. (Personally, I think the racing at Daytona is interesting more because of the restrictor plate than anything else.) Some even think that this week’s race will tell more about how this season will pan out. Fontana is what many call the real beginning of the season.

From my view, this week could prove to be a follow-the-leader type of race if it turns out that one teams has better figured out the setup than the rest. I hope this is not the case because the thing I like most about Nascar racing is the close competition in running for the victory. I really don’t much care for watching a race to see who will finish second. I like those down to the wire, beatin’ and bangin’, don’t know whose gonna win until they cross the finish line races.

In observing the practice sessions, it’s obvious there are few really strong teams looking to get out front as far as they can and lead as many laps as possible. I expect at least one third of the field to finish at least one lap down behind the leaders. I don’t think there will be quite as much drama as there was at Daytona but I do know this is a 500 mile race and anything…let me stress that…anything can happen.

So that brings us to who I think will win this weekend in Fontana.

  • Although Kyle Bush looks very strong and I do think he will be a factor, I don’t think he will win the race.
  • Carl Edwards can’t be ruled out as a contender but he isn’t my choice for first place either.  I do think he will definitely finish in the top 10, perhaps even in the top five, but I just don’t know if they have a good grip on the track as they did last year.
  • Mark Martin looks good and is as confident as I have seen him in recent years, but he’s not my pick for the win. I do think he is going to finish in the top 5 though.
  • Tony Stewart  is strong but I am not sure he is strong enough to win. We have to remember, he is running Hendrick equipment and they do look strong this week.
  • Jeff Gordon is also strong this week and was last week also. The question is, can he beat Jimmy Johnson to the line for the win? I’m just not sure.
  • Jamie McMurray seems to have things clicking this year and has been on track to be leading at the end of the race.  I don’t know that he is going to lead the field across the stripe for the win, but he is looking very strong.
  • Jimmy Johnson is my pick for the win this weekend. His team has looked strong in practice and qualifying.  I do think it is going to depend on  how his equipment holds up and how things go near the end with pit-stops and who has the freshest set of tires.

It is my opinion that tires are going to make the biggest difference at the end of the race and, of course, there is always that “fuel mileage” thing that always seems to work its way into the mix at Fontana.  If it comes down to fuel mileage, it could be anybody’s race but I still think the Hendrick teams look strong all around.

Well, that’s the way I see it for this week…

See ya next time…


© February 2009 – Just A Fan’s View and Rusty Norman

Nascar at Daytona (Feb 2009): The JAFV “After Chatter”


There has been so much said over the last couple of weeks about Nascar at Daytona it is hard to believe much more could be said. However, I will say that the BIG event on Sunday afternoon left many fans thinking the end of the race was a relative non-event. (This is usually the way it goes when the end of the event is rained out and the field finishes according to the order they were in when the red flag was thrown.)

Now, don’t get me wrong… I understand why they called the race when they did and why some of the fans didn’t like it. However, it is a fact that some fans felt just the slightest bit cheated by not having a full race to the checkered flag.

You see, I didn’t like rain-outs when I was racing and I don’t like them now either, but they are a fact of life when it comes to racing whether at a small track or a big track. One thing no one can control in an outdoor sport is the weather.

I do understand the frustration of the fans though. This was restrictor-plate racing at its best and at a place that was really showcasing the restrictor-plate for Cup racing in a positive way. I’m sure there will be those that have opposing views to mine, but, I’m one of those that does like restrictor plate racing and I like it at the super speedways of Talledega and Daytona.

I know the drivers have their own thoughts about it (because I once was one at our local small tracks) but as a fan, I like the closeness of racing that it breeds. It really makes it a whole new game. It certainly adds the importance of strategy back into the mix and adds the ability to take advantage of any little thing back into the hands of the drivers.

It has been evident over the last couple of years in particular, hardly anyone shows all of their cards before the last ten laps of the race, especially at Daytona. I’m sure that some of the feelings of disappointment might have been different if the driver a fan wanted to win would have won because of the rain, but the call came when it did and we all have to live with it. (Besides, it was easy to tell that Matt Kenseth was not at all disappointed with the win even with help from weather. In fact, in the after race interview, he appeared quite overwhelmed by it. I didn’t hear anything directly, but, I really don’t think his owner, Jack Roush was bothered by it much either.)

Personally, I thought the race was disappointing in the way it ended, but that’s because I was looking forward to those last 10-15 laps. I wasn’t looking for another big wreck, but I was looking for all of the shuffling that takes place and who would make the right move at the right time and come out on top.

After all of the great racing we saw during Speed Weeks in all of the classes, it only figured that the 500 would be no different. I was expecting the big shootout to be between the likes of Mark Martin, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Jimmy Johnson, Jamie McMurray, Matt Kenseth and maybe even Carl Edwards. These are just the ones I mention … there were others with names that aren’t quite as well known, (but probably will be one day soon.)

Well, be that as it may, the February Nascar race at Daytona is in the record books for now and there is nothing anyone can do to change the outcome; So we won’t spend any more time on it at the moment. It is time to turn our focus to the west coast as Nascar heads for California.

As we leave Daytona behind until the summer time, it is time to reflect on what Speed Weeks was like overall. It is my personal opinion that it was a really “feel good” time in many ways:

  • We saw a renewed bounce in the competitive step of Mark Martin and I look for great things to come from his team in the near future.
  • Jeff Gordon broke his winless streak by winning one of the Gatorade Duels.
  • Tony Stewart made a very strong showing with his brand new team and that will definitely prove to be exciting over the season.
  • Daytona was a sell out and that says something even in the face of the present economic downturn.
  • The racing was really, really good this year. It was exciting and on the edge, (except for the rain-out)
  • Jeremy Mayfield raced his way into the 500 and that makes a statement for the little guys.
  • Tommy Baldwin’s team made the race and offered a strong showing even though the team is brand new.

Well, we could go on and on but, pretty much anything that could be said has been said by someone in the last two weeks. I’m looking forward to the next race. Come on back Saturday and we’ll talk about the upcoming race in Fontana, CA right here at … “Just A Fan’s View”…until then,

I’ll see you next time …


©February 2009 – all rights reserved

Just A Fan’s View and Rusty Norman

Nascar at Daytona: The 2009 Racing Season Is Off To A Great Start

When everything is looking down in the market and the economic sky appears dark and dreary, one apparent bright spot is Nascar in Daytona. The consensus for “The Shootout” and the Gator Duels has been extremely positive and, as anyone that either watched the racing in person or on TV or listened in to MRN on Sirius/XM radio, can tell you…The racing was really, really good.

That has set the stage in anticipation for the big event on Sunday. The event appears to be ripe for some feel good stories, (as if we haven’t had some already)

Unfortunately, I am a little stretched for time this weekend because of previous commitments and may not make it back until the race is in the books. I do look forward to it as I know you do…

See ya next time…

© February 2009 – all rights reserved

Just A Fan’s View – Rusty Norman


At Just a Fan’s View We Love Nascar Racin’ and We’re Glad It’s That Time Again!!

Click below to hear this podcast on S3 Media player


Hi everybody and welcome to the first post of the year for our new site right here at “Just A Fan’s View”.  It has been a while since we’ve actually done anything here, but, there are always reasons, (maybe some would call them, ‘excuses’), but we have been working hard to get some of this new year planned out. No matter what, I am excited and glad that we are back and it is time for the season to begin for Just A Fan’s View and Nascar at Daytona, FL.

I watched the “Shootout” on Saturday night and I have to say, I was definitely pleasantly surprised with the quality of the racing that went on. It was a great race even though the guy I was rootin’ for didn’t win.  It appeared the drivers all showed up ready to race which was evidenced by the fact that they were all up on the wheel and aggressively racing to win the first race of the 2009 season.

I have to admit, I enjoyed every minute of it.  Heck, I even enjoyed the pre-race commentary.  At least enough happened over the off season that the commentators had a lot to talk about and much of it was interesting and informative. Things have been happening so fast over the off-season that has been extremely hard to keep up with everything. Some things are probably changing even as I write this.

I really wanted to get something up here on the new site, and here is the first of many posts coming up over the rest of the Nascar season. You will notice some changes that we have made here on the site and I think you will like the things that are coming up.  We intend to have some fan interviews and lots of opinions offered about all the new and old stuff going on this year in Nascar.

I’m looking forward to being with you and we may even have new posts and podcasts up daily starting this Thursday with the twin qualifiers.

It sure looks like it is going to be an exciting and interesting year.  I can’t wait … I’m ready for some Nascar Racing!!!

See ya next time …


Nascar Looks Ahead to 2009: Some After Season – After Chatter


This will be a short report on the After Season-After Chatter. Not because there’s not a lot to talk about, but, perhaps I jumped the gun just slightly. I fully intended to have the new site up and running on its own, but, I need at least one more week. When I make the move it should be fully functional. That’s when I hope to have the RSS feed info available and all the other little details that I want to be there for you.

You see the problem is that I went away on a short vacation for Thanksgiving and just didn’t keep after the work side.  I goofed off and I needed it. Now I am back and I am running just a little behind, but I will catch up soon…

All of that aside, Nascar has really been buzzing with all of the challenges and situations that have come about because of the economic downturn here in the United States and around the world. It seems that everyone on the outside looking in has a suggestion for Nascar to help, “save the sport”, whether they need the help or not. I have listened and read  with interest and amusement as people have let their thoughts be known.

Some of the insight from seasoned writers and fans has been interestingly sound. Some has been outrageously out of touch and one-sided. A few have exposed their obvious envy of the ones that make the most money because they think those people should not be paid as much as they are and that their salaries should go to those that may be let go because of economic reasons. That seems to be the impression of more than a few but is usually because they are comparing the work they do with the “work” they think the drivers and others do. Hey, business is business and I think those that are successful right now, must know what they’re doing or they wouldn’t be successful.

Yes, it’s true, I have my own opinion as I know others do, but, let me say right here and now, you can’t fix it if it ain’t broke. There is a lot to talk about and a lot to consider but let”s remember that some of the facts are just now coming available. I know there is a lot we all should consider as fans and interested parties of the Nascar sport, but for some of the picture to clear up, we’re just going to have wait and see how it all plays out.  We can jump into the fray or we can wait a week or two and most of the foggy stuff will clear up and we will have a better view of the coming season and what really needs to be thought about for the good of all involved.

I don’t think there is anyone I know that has not been affected by the economy. Even while I was on my short little vacation in the southeastern United States I could tell the economy is affecting many people. In fact, you don’t have to listen very closely to find many of the conversations turning towards the times we are facing as individuals and a nation.

Those involved in Nascar are no different than those in any other “business” and those involved have to make hard decisions as much as the next guy. The situation is, times are tight and expenses have to be brought under control in one way or another. You can’t continue to spend money you don’t have unless you want to face some dire circumstances. There is absolutely no reason to spend money if you don’t have to. Isn’t it interesting how even big businesses have to face tight economics the same as small businesses only on a different scale and this downturn makes this more obvious than it might normally be.

Well, I think I’ve said about all I need to say on the subject for this week. Next week, look for more on taking a look back to this last season, thoughts on the C.O.T. and looking ahead to what teams (and fans) may find themselves facing in the new year.

See ya next time …


©2008 PCN Productions and Rusty Norman

all rights reserved

Update: Nascar at Homestead, the After Chatter from “Just A Fan’s View”


As the whole nation, (Nascar Nation, that is), already knows, Jimmy Johnson became only the second person in Nascar history to win three Cup Championships in a row. Joining him in that place in history with Cale Yarborough is his crew chief, Chad Knaus; the only crew chief ever to win three consecutive championships. The after chatter about the possibility of a fourth for the 48 Team has already started.

Although I know the airwaves, blogwaves and netwaves have been buzzing with the Jimmy Johnson three-peat, I have to say a few things about the weekend, but I’ll try not to bore you to death with repetition. I have my own view of the weekend and I just have to speak out about it and not all of it is just about the cup series.

It was no big shocker to me that Jimmy Johnson won the Sprint Cup and took his third consecutive title in Nascar. The 48 team, (and I purposely stress the ‘team’ part) is hard to beat. They have definitely raised the bar higher and could very well repeat this scenario again next year.
I do think several others will want to weigh in before they let that be accepted as gospel for 2009, though.

I know for a fact, Carl Edwards and Bob Osborn will have something to say about that. They ran exceptionally well this year and, except for some bad luck, could have very handily taken the Sprint Cup Title this year. I know they will be tough again next year and their performance over the last year warrants more conversation from this “Just A Fan’s View” during the off season. (This is another subject that will be run into the ground between now and Daytona in February, I’m sure.)

Along with the 99 team will undoubtedly be strong performers from this year like Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt, Jr, Kyle Bush, Kevin Harvick and, yes, even Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton and Tony Stewart. Although Tony is going to have his own team this coming year, I expect him to make some noise and show some strength in the 2009 season. I do expect all of these teams to show their strength starting with Daytona in 2009 and the new season is sure to be an interesting mix of several teams flexing their muscles for the entire year, possibly even some that haven’t been mentioned that much in the last year.

If there was anything that frustrated me while listening to the broadcast version of the Cup series race, it was the constant pumping by certain commentators in trying to keep the listeners on the “edge of their seats.” I have never heard so much overkill in recent memory. It seemed to me the commentators thought if they didn’t keep the viewers thinking that anything could go wrong at any moment, the viewers would change over to some other program and their ratings would plummet into the tank. They just kept on reminding us “if this, or that” happened it would be “The Thing” that would ultimately change the outcome. In fact, at times it seemed they hoped something would happen just so they could say, “See, I told you so.”

Hey … Commentators … Nascar fans watch Nascar races because they want to and they do it in their own way. They don’t tune in just to hear you talk and they may not watch every second of the race any more than the people in the stands do but they definitely know what’s going on.

I think the commentators often sell us, “the fans”, a little short. Maybe I should say, a lot short. It is almost as if they think we are completely ignorant of what the race is all about. You see, fan’s know that a part could break, a tire could blow or a driver make a mistake and end the drama in the actual competition for the championship. I find it more than a little disappointing that they think we, as fan’s, are completely in the dark without their input. That if they don’t tell us not to go away during the commercial breaks we could miss ‘the moment’ that changed the outcome.

I would merely present these as a couple of “What If” scenarios that very well could have happened on Sunday.

‘What if’ there would have been a major accident at the very start of the race that took Jimmy Johnson completely out of the race and him finish 41st or worse. I wonder how they would have tried to keep the fans interested then. What do you think the would have talked about for the rest of the broadcast?

‘What if’ Carl Edwards engine would have blown at lap 63. How would they have tried to generate interest until the end of the race.

‘What if’ both of these things had happened? What then …?

My point here is that anything could have happened, including these two I mentioned. Anything could have happened to remove the drama from the race and we, “the fans”, knew it. That’s why we watch it and why we don’t lose interest when certain things do, or don’t, happen. That’s why they call us fans!

Oh well, we can, and will talk about this and more in the “off-season”. I think that’s enough on that subject for now, though. (Feel free to leave a comment on the subject yourself, if you want.)

Since I first started this, I’ve focused mainly on The Cup series and I will continue to devote a lot of time to it next season too, but I am planning on expanding to covering the other two series, also. There will be plenty of stuff to talk about since there is so much going on throughout Nascar and I don’t want to ignore any of it. With all of the changes going on and with the economy’s impact on the sport, I know that there will be a need to look at it from “Just A Fan’s View” and that is what we will do.

In fact, I would like to start with a few thoughts on the Nationwide and the Truck Series championships in this week’s “After Chatter”. I just want to give you some thoughts as I reflect on the season ending races this last weekend in Homestead.

I was thoroughly impressed with the level of competition for all three series. In particular this weekend though, I acquired even more respect for the man, Ron Hornaday. He is not only one heck of a racer, but he is also one heck of good sport. Some of the situations he faced this year would have devastated others but he handled them with class and humility.

I have watched how he handled personal situations this year and how he handled the outcome of the championship race for the Truck series and I am more firmly convinced than ever, he is definitely a man of distinction, character and class. Although he was disappointed with not winning the championship, he was an impressively good sport about the loss. He even made a point in an after race interview that he intended to congratulate Johnny Benson on winning and then he went down and did it on camera.

He also had an impact on two other racers, one I knew about and one I did not. Kevin Harvick and … Jimmy Johnson. It has been interesting to watch Kevin Harvick mature as a person and an owner/racer over the last several years and I have more respect for him now than I ever did. As for Jimmy Johnson … well, he is … the three time champion. What more can I say?

As I watched the laps wind down to the end of the Nationwide championship, I found myself hoping that Clint Bowyer would win, just because … but I couldn’t help pulling for Carl Edwards. I think it is the first time I have watched a Nationwide series race all the way through in a long time, but it didn’t have anything to do with the drama of who might win. I just wanted to see who did win.

Just a little sidenote that I know others have already pointed out, Carl Edwards finished as runnerup in two of the three series this year. Wow, what does that say about his chances for next year’s championships?

Well, this is the end of the year for Nascar racing, but not the end of “Just A Fan’s View” for this year. We will be back the first week of December and, hopefully, every Tuesday after that with our “Just A Fan’s View” until Daytona when I hope to get back on the twice a week schedule.

Hey … this is Russ … and I hope to see you December 2nd here at “Just A Fan’s View”. Until then, Have a great Thanksgiving!

See ya next time …


©2008 PCN Productions and Rusty Norman

all rights reserved

Nascar at Homestead: The End of ‘The Chase’ for 2008


This weekend officially ends the 2008 season for all the Nascar series and will be a welcome end for some and an unwelcome time of finding out what the future may hold for others. Although ‘The Sprint Cup’ series could prove to be a historic event for Jimmy Johnson, the end of the race may still hold some drama for all Carl Edward’s fans out there.

The Chase is still slightly in doubt, but a lot of things have to go wrong for the 48 team for the outcome to be different than I expect it to be. I’m not so sure his qualifying spot needs as much attention as it is getting, but, a lot can happen that is completely out of their control when a team starts that far back in the field.

Because of being wa-a-a-a-a-y to busy this week, I didn’t get to hear, or watch, the qualifying attempts and couldn’t help but notice that the big three of the Hendrick camp apparently struggled (as usual) at Homestead. The fourth member, Casey Mears, was the best out of the camp and he is starting 12th.

On the surface, it doesn’t appear to be the way the 88, 48 and 24 teams wanted to start the final race of the year. (Maybe they were just sandbagging or were teasing the competition? Or maybe they were lowering their competitors’ expectations of them for next year hoping to gain an advantage on the “No Testing” rule recently instituted for next year. (I doubt it … I do expect them to move to the front once the race starts. Maybe I am just dreaming, though.)

Barring the unforeseen, it is likely Carl Edwards will finish at, or near, the front of the field simply because of the strength the Roush Teams always demonstrate at these type tracks. While we’re at it, let’s not discount the determination the 99 team has shown to take this championship away from the 48 team. Carl has, and will continue, to drive aggressively, and all out, to win this final race and hope that Jimmy has unexpected problems that cause him to finish at least thirty eight places behind him. (That is, ‘IF’ Jimmy Johnson actually leads a lap during the course of the race.)

I’m not going to be able to gather any input from the Cup practices on Saturday because of previous commitments but I am sure they will give a better idea of how all of the competitors will fare in the race on Sunday. That just means I will have to give you my opinions without the benefit of that input. (Ah well, worse things have happened … I suppose.)

So, what do I think is going to happen this weekend in Homestead? Hmm … Just looking at the starting lineup tells me that some were definitely prepared for qualifying and were able to run quick qualifying times while others were not.

I don’t think being able to run a couple of fast laps is going to make much of a difference on Sunday though. However, I do believe that being able to run laps consistently faster than the competition throughout the race will make an enormous difference in the final finishing order on Sunday.

I firmly believe ‘the long green flag run’ is going to be the norm on Sunday; that it will almost make the race seem boring at times and that decisions made in the pits to gain spots on the track will ultimately determine who the winner of the race will be. It is my opinion that the winner of the race may have no relation at all to who ends up winning the Sprint Cup. I firmly believe that will ultimately be decided when Jimmy Johnson can finish no worse than 36 places behind Carl Edwards due to possible accidents and normal attrition during the race.

Depending on what happens early in the race as far as accidents or part failures, the actual Chase for The Cup could be decided long before the race ends. Hopefully, the winner of the race will get a few moments of fame before all attention is turned to the Champion of the Nascar Sprint Cup Series.

I think this week is the absolute hardest week to pick an actual winner of the race, at least for me. I am thinking it could be a first time victory for someone or, at least, a first time victory for someone at this track.

I do believe the Roush cars are going to be very strong and that the winner could be from their camp. It is also possible that the winner could come from Michael Waltrip Racing or Roger Penske. I even like the possibilities for Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton of Richard Childress Racing and I would be extremely lax if I didn’t mention the possibility of Kyle Bush, Tony Stewart or Denny Hamlin out of the Joe Gibbs garages. As much as it may hurt some for me to say this, Kyle Bush could very likely finish out this year with another trip to victory lane in what has been an extraordinary year for him in all of three of the Nascar series.

All in all, I do not think the race winner will come from Rick Hendrick racing. That being said, I would like to see Jeff Gordon get a victory this year if for no other reason than continuing his record of winning every year since his first victory in the early nineties. It would not be a total surprise to see Casey Mears pull the unexpected victory out of the hat to finish off his year and career with Rick Hendrick Racing.

So, I guess that brings me down to the “Just A Fan’s View” choice of who will win the race in Homestead and my JAFV choice for The Nascar Sprint Cup champion for 2008.

Man … this is tough … but … I think it is a toss up between Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle for the race victory and I do believe it will at least be an interesting race, not necessarily an exciting race, right down to the finish. Probably the worst thing that could happen would be a green-white-checker finish for the one that finishes second.

Although that green-white-checker thing is always a possibility, I don’t think that will have an affect on who ends up winning The Sprint Cup. I do think that will be Jimmy Johnson and I do think he will finish in the top ten when all is said and done Sunday afternoon.

See ya next time …


©2008 PCN Productions and Rusty Norman

all rights reserved

Update: Nascar at Phoenix … the ‘After Chatter’ from “Just A Fan’s View”


Well … I would say Jimmy Johnson did exactly what he needed to do to keep distance between him and Carl Edwards in his attempt to win his third consecutive Nascar title … and once again … I called it before it happened, right down to the him leading the most laps.

So … who cares? Well, I do for one.

I know it sounds like I’m bragging, but I’m really not … I’m just glad I do call it right sometimes. I’m sure it sets me up for being humbled in the future, but, it feels good at the moment.

Besides, I have a very good friend that has a saying that goes something like this:

“He who tooteth not his own horn, the same remains untooted.”

This week, I tooteth it — Next week, who knows … maybe it could happen again.

Oh, well … enough about me and the “Just A Fan’s View” prediction of who would win the race in Phoenix over the weekend. Let’s talk a little bit about the events of the race.

To me, it seemed Carl Edwards struggled to move up through the pack unlike last week when it seemed nothing could hold him back. He was definitely mired back in the frenzy that went on most of the day for quite a while. Even when it seemed he was going to make up some positions something else would go wrong either in the pits or on the track. It just took a lot of time for him to move up into position to possibly catch Jimmy Johnson. He finally finished fourth.

The thing I find missing so far in the ‘after chatter’ of Phoenix is the incidents between A J Allmendinger, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart, (and let’s not forget Juan Pablo Montoya for the second week in a row.) Although I have heard a couple of things said about the situation, for the most part it didn’t make the headlines. At the checkered flag, it was pretty obvious from “A Fan’s View” that what happened was a little payback from Matt Kenseth to A J and it resulted in a lot of damaged cars, including Tony Stewart’s for the second time in the race and Montoya for the second, (actually third) week, in a row.

I’m not against payback, but I am surprised by the lack of chatter about it. Maybe that is because ABC decided to terminate their broadcast of the race to “honor their obligations” to “America’s Funniest Home Videos” instead of finishing their coverage of the race.

I think they made a drastic error in judgment and It is my opinion that ABC should be terminated from coverage of Nascar racing in the future. These are strong words I know, but, this is inexcusable.

First of all let me say, I understand more people watch the races when they are broadcast on the major networks and I can appreciate that. I just don’t think that ABC should be allowed the privilege of prospering from the popularity of Nascar in the future.

I realize this means possible problems for the future and I understand the situation but I also know that no one else would have interrupted another sports broadcast until it was over. That speaks very loudly of whoever made the decision to transfer the coverage to ESPN2. Contrary to popular opinion, not everyone has ESPN2 to turn to. I personally wouldn’t have it because I hardly watch ESPN anything and don’t like the expense it adds to my monthly bill. I know it is popular for others, I just don’t watch it because I just don’t watch it. It’s a personal thing and I won’t get into that right now. (Maybe someday I will.)

Now that I’ve said all of that, it is time to look forward to the coming weekend in Homestead. The Chase for the Cup has been narrowed down to two, Jimmy Johnson and Carl Edwards. The rest are racing for the also-ran title. I think it is going to be an interesting race and finish to the Chase. Last week Jimmy Johnson and the the entire 48 team, did exactly what they needed to do.

This week, Jimmy only has to finish 36th or better and that isn’t much of a challenge … or, is it …?

See ya next time …


©2008 PCN Productions and Rusty Norman

All Rights Reserved

Nascar at Phoenix: Racing at the Desert Jewell from “Just A Fan’s View”


The Desert Jewell in Phoenix should prove to be an interesting race this week. I don’t know of anyone that wants to win more than Carl Edwards does, but this week could be the week that someone other than the Chasers finish out front.

There are several drivers that run well at this track and there is more than one that could take the checkered flag this weekend. The problem is figuring out which one will win, though. I’m just having a hard time choosing who I think the winner will be, but that’s okay … I’ll get to that later.

In the meantime, I guess we could take a look at how the field is lining for the start of the race. This is another week that qualifying wasn’t rained out and the field will start according to their lap times. Personally, I’m glad they aren’t having to contend with rain because it definitely makes the start more interesting and adds a little more drama to those beginning laps. It also makes talking about the way drivers qualified much more interesting than them lining up according to points.

As everyone already knows, Jimmy Johnson won the poll position and will be leading the field to the green flag. I find it fascinating that he is starting on the pole when the commentators last weekend tried to make the whole thing sound more intense than it actually is simply because Jimmy Johnson lost seventy some points to Carl Edwards. It seemed to me they were all but counting him out just because he had a marginal week last week. All of the hype aside, he now leads by only 106 points.

I suppose the thing at the top of my list for discussion is where Carl Edwards and the 99 team are starting from this week. He is starting approximately from the same location he did last week and we all know how that went for him. Don’t be lulled into complacency because this track is a strong track for Carl and he could very possibly finish out front just as he did last week. But for the present, I don’t think Jimmy will finish as far back from him as he did last week, especially if neither of them end up winning the race this weekend.

As I mentioned earlier, there are several others who could easily take the victory at Phoenix. Some of the honorable mentions this week are Jamie McMurray (starting outside pole), Kurt Bush (starting third) and Dale Earnhardt Jr (starting fifth as of this writing). David Reutimann as well as Ryan Newman are staring in the top six and, of course, there’s Jeff Gordon who you can never count out as having a chance at winning starting seventh. Of course there are others and one of them is Mark Martin who starts tenth. Kevin Harvick won the Truck race but I think he will have a tough time coming from the 19th starting spot in the cup race, (although stranger things have happened.)

I could probably mention most of the 43 drivers as potential winners of the race but I think I will quit here while I am still ahead. I would like to move on to who I think will win this weekend from this “Just A Fan’s View” perspective.

The truth is, I am having a tougher time than normal choosing which driver will finish ahead of the rest. Although I know who I would like to see win, I will try to be neutral in my choice.

Okay, this is a very tough decision, but, I do believe that Jimmy Johnson will win and that he will lead most of the laps (including the one that counts). It is possible that he could pretty much clinch the title this weekend even though I know that Carl Edwards is going to give his all to close the gap between him and Jimmy. I’m just not sure either of them will actually win.

I still think Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Dale Jr or Jamie McMurray have an excellent chance of possibly taking the checkered flag and taking home the trophy, as well as Kurt or Kyle Bush and, yes, even Tony Stewart. I guess you’ve noticed I think this is one of those weeks that anything could happen.

As always, I do think pit strategy will play a very important role in who will actually take the the coveted trip to victory lane and that is precisely why this week could prove to be won by the most unexpected player in the Chase.

Oh well, all of that doesn’t matter much, because I have already made my choice and it will be Jimmy Johnson driving across the finish line first. That’s my ‘View’ of how things will pan out at Phoenix this weekend and I’m sticking to it …

See ya next time


©2008 PCN Productions and Rusty Norman

all rights reserved