Keselowski Holds On For An Atlanta Win from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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It really doesn’t matter who won the 2017 Daytona 500 anymore; that’s all in the past and each race is a new chapter in the 2017 NASCAR Cup Season. Well… that is except for the team that won it. Admittedly, winning the Daytona 500 is a big deal but the story doesn’t last all that long as a headline even though many of the talking heads generally bring it up throughout the season. For this fan and many NASCAR fans, we are ready to move on. This week was another challenge for all to face including the one that won the Daytona 500 and to be quite honest… he and his team didn’t fair all that well at the Folds of Honor/QuickTrip 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Brad Keselowski ended up winning this one at the Atlanta Motor Speedway even though Kevin Harvick and his #4 Stewart/Haas Racing Ford team absolutely dominated the weekend right up to the last pit stop. Harvick won the poll and the first two stages but was clocked speeding on his last pit stop and had to start at the tail end of the longest line which was around 35th with only 11 laps to go. Much like last weekend at Daytona, the person expected to win didn’t cross the finish line first. From my view, racing luck played about as large a role in Keselowski’s win as did his crew chief and team doing more right than they did wrong. Actually, I do have to admit he drove a great race also.

So far this season, the Fords are looking pretty tough and have won the first two races of the new season. From this fan’s view, the move to Ford didn’t hurt the Stewart/Haas Racing teams at all and they do look extremely strong so far in the first two races of 2017. Had it not been for the speeding penalty late in the race by Harvick, it would have been two in a row for SHR and there haven’t been that many in the first two weeks looking to challenge them. Well… that is unless you consider the way Chase Elliot has been running in these first two races. Yeah, I know he only finished fifth this weekend but that makes two top fives for the first two races. Not too shabby for the 21 year old from Georgia if you ask me.

Atlanta didn’t really show us very much about the new five minute clock rule simply because there wasn’t that much to compare it with compared to Daytona. As a fan, I haven’t really decided one way or the other on it but I will say it definitely needs to be re-evaluated. I am of the opinion it should be changed by adding more time or by the way they are timed on the clock. Don’t misunderstand me; I do understand why they want to do it and I actually do somewhat agree. My problem is when the pit road is so long and pit road speed is so slow, it really doesn’t even give them time to evaluate the problems, let alone fix them. I do think they will add more time to the clock in the future but for now, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. As I said, Atlanta wasn’t a good test for it because we didn’t see many examples for it to be used.

That brings me to my opinion of the stages… Well… so far it does seem to add a little something to the racing in the first half of the race and I know the drivers like being able to accumulate points for their performance instead of their end result. Kevin Harvick has won three of the four stages so far in the two races but has yet to take a win. As I mentioned earlier in this article/podcast, he dominated the weekend by winning the pole position and then pretty much leading almost all of the laps until his final pit stop. He was caught speeding but he wasn’t alone. There were many speeders on pit road and it cost all of them in some fashion or other. For most, it didn’t make that much of a difference because they were struggling anyway. For Harvick it was devastating just like running out of fuel was for Chase Elliot last weekend at Daytona.

It is my opinion (and I am sure many agree with me) Kevin Harvick would have won except for that one glaring mistake on pit road. The difference this time compared to others is that the mistake was his and his alone and he couldn’t blame it on his crew. He owned up to it and apologized to his crew and they will move on but remember, his is in first place in the points after two races even though he has no wins… yet.

From this fan’s view, the #4 team was almost perfect on each and every stop and their times were exemplary. Oh well… this wasn’t the first time Harvick led the most laps and didn’t win. In fact, he has been making a habit of it in recent times.

The Toyotas are experiencing some difficulties and in particular the Joe Gibbs Toyotas. Nothing really outstanding and it could just be bad “racing luck.” To this fan it all started with their strategy for running Daytona. From the first stop it all fell apart and they just haven’t gained that momentum they were carrying a lot through last year. They aren’t running all that bad but they do seem to be out of sync at least through these first two races. I expect that their luck will change soon but we all know how the Hendrick teams struggled up to the middle of the season last year.

Speaking of the Hendrick teams, Jimmie Johnson is having a relatively weak start to the year considering he is the reigning Cup Champ. We all know they have their ups and downs in the #48 camp but we also know their race results can turn on a dime and be the ones everyone else is chasing week in and week out. I’m interested in seeing how the next three weeks go in the NASCAR West Coast jaunt. I think a lot of things can change by the end of March.

And then, there’s Dale Jr… He just hasn’t had any luck at all so far this year since returning to the #88 HMS Chevy. Well… I just can’t say I expect that to continue but it does make things interesting in the short term. Honestly, I do kind of expect he will come back from the next three races with at least one win but, then again… well… you know…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© March 7, 2017 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

After The 2017 Daytona 500 from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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I know what you’re saying… why are you talking about the Daytona 500 after it’s already over?” Well… to be honest I just didn’t have a whole lot to say that hadn’t already been said leading up to it so I opted to have my say after it was in the rearview mirror.

Does that make sense to you? Well, this year it does to me and the biggest reason is because there is a whole lot more for this fan to talk about after it’s over. I mean, I started this thing to express my opinion of the races and this year I just may continue to make this the way these article podcasts go as the year goes by. Hey look, I’ve been doing this for a lot of years now and I think it’s time for a little change in direction and I’m ready. I mean, anyone can talk about a race before it happens and express their opinion of how they think it will go but this year I want to express my opinion of how I think it went. I’m not saying I won’t be talking about the races before they happen, but for now, this is the way I choose to approach the 2017 season. Hope you don’t mind and I do hope you enjoy this slight change in direction.

Now on to Daytona 2017… First of all, it was really good to see Dale Jr. back in the driver’s seat again and it appears he hasn’t lost any of his abilities, especially when it comes to restrictor plate racing and in particular at Daytona. Until his unfortunate run-in with the front of Kyle Bush’s spinning Toyota, he looked like he was going to be a contender when it came down to crunch time. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait to see if his luck changes at Atlanta.

Overall, the 2017 Daytona 500 was a very interesting race and was filled with the usual intensity and drama of restrictor plate racing. To me, there is nothing like door handle to door handle, bumper to bumper tight pack racing. It was also interesting to see really aggressive racing from a lot of the younger drivers and several of the not so old veterans even though at times their actions were somewhat questionable. In this fan’s opinion there was no need for some of their early aggressive moves with so much of the race left to run. At least a few of the accidents could have been avoided had they not forced their way into situations where a little patience could have prevented a lot of the bent up sheet metal and unrepairable damage that put many out of the race early.

This fan was probably most impressed by the performance of 21 year old Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney over probably all of the others. Both proved they have what it takes to run in the Cup Series. Had Chase had just a little more fuel he just might have come away with a big win in what many consider the most important race in racing, the Daytona 500. He also proved that his win in the first duel was no fluke and the likelihood he will soon be following in his dad’s footsteps and the previous driver of the Hendrick #24, Jeff Gordon with wins and Championships. I was impressed with Chase’s performance last season and I do believe he definitely has a great future ahead of him. One question though… Since Chase wasn’t the only one having fuel issues in the final lap or two, is this going to be another year where fuel mileage plays a great part in the finishes like it seemed to so many times last season? Well… I guess that remains to be seen.

I do have to admit that I am just beginning to understand the new “stages” they run in a race and how it all figures into the mix of the new season. I do have a few questions about some of the new rules and how repairs have to be performed in a certain time limit without going to the garage area or they have to retire from the race. If things continue as they did this last weekend at Daytona, there may not be that many cars running at the end of a race, especially if it is a larger, faster track like the two Super Speedways or Atlanta, Charlotte, Indianapolis and others.

In this fan’s opinion, I do have concerns that this last weekend may have shown the possibility of another strategy that could be used by someone, or several someones, to help their cause when it comes to finishing better in a race. It may never happen and I am sure NASCAR has thought about it also but I do wonder if they have fully considered what could happen. This race proved, at least in some ways to this fan, that aggressive driving can result in taking out real contenders and open the door for those not quite as capable of winning to have a better finish. Of course the aggressors will be putting themselves in harm’s way to pull it off but they may be willing to take the chance considering the possible benefits. If this does begin to happen with any regularity at all, it will be interesting to see how NASCAR handles it. I’m sure they will, or do, have a plan just in case but none of us knows how they will handle it until it actually happens and whether or not happens on that regular basis.

I know that sounds like a real black helicopter moment and that it will probably not happen the way I just said but I would remind you that in the past, when it came down to making the Chase, anyone within a point or two of making it into the Chase would take out the ones ahead of them in some fashion of aggressive driving to make up those points. So you see, the possibility I mention isn’t so far fetched – it could happen… (but probably won’t. Don’t forget after all, this IS NASCAR.)

Well, that’s enough of my ranting for now. I do congratulate Kurt Bush, his crew chief, Tony Gibson, and the entire Stewart/Haas 41 team for their first Daytona win. It does appear Stewart/Haas Racing will be good for Ford and they are ready to make things happen as the season progresses. It may be a bit too early to say but considering all they had to do coming into this year, they are definitely starting out on the right foot…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© February 28, 2017 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

The Clash Is Back In 2017 From A NASCAR Fan’s View

Rusty Norman

The format is really pretty simple… 75 laps of taking chances a driver may not normally take in a points race, flat out, take no prisoners racing in two segments of 25 and 50 laps and the winner takes home the money. It should be a lot of hard-nosed, kinda old school racing and we as fans should always be expecting the unexpected. That should sum up The Clash for 2017 – but will it? Well… maybe.

Hello good friends and welcome back to NascarFansView, the 2017 NASCAR season and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup racing. This will be short and to the point just like The Clash will be tomorrow night. (Wow! It is really hard to not say NASCAR Sprint Cup racing but I will try my best not to slip up…)

I can’t tell you how happy I am they’re getting back to it and I am looking forward to another great Monster Energy NASCAR Cup season and honestly, it seems like it’s been forever since they’ve been on the track. Well… that is… it seems like it’s been forever since they’ve been on the track competing against and with all the others.

I know I’m not alone in this thinking but I can’t help wonder how things are going to pan out this season what with Carl Edwards abruptly retiring from Cup racing, Stewart/Haas Racing switching to Ford and a number of new items laid down by the NASCAR hierarchy that could be a bit challenging for all the teams. There is no need for me to go into detail at this point – because I have all season to do that – but it really should prove to be very interesting. Well… at least that is what I think about it at the moment, but hey, I’m just a NASCAR fan that likes to express my opinion now and again.

I will admit I am anxious to see how it all shakes out even though things won’t really come into focus until next week when the real season starts. No doubt The Clash will be exciting and full of intensity but it won’t be anything like the Daytona 500 happening next weekend. Hey, that’s not a knock against The Clash in any way – I’m looking forward to it. What I am interested in is watching some great door handle to door handle, bumper to bumper tight pack restrictor plate racing with no points that matter to anyone but plenty of intensity and excitement in the short 75 lap race. All I can say at this point is, “Bring it on!!”

See ya next time…

All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© February 17, 2017 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated