Categories
Nascar Racing

The 2023 Coca-Cola 600

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

It’s time again for the Coca-Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. It has become something we do every Memorial day weekend and a time that we and NASCAR celebrate the fallen heroes and families of the military. A day of remembrance and appreciation of those that gave their all in service to our country. I don’t know about you but I am thankful for what these soldiers did and I am moved by thoughts of what their families have sacrificed and gone through.

Not only is it a day of celebration and remembrance but, it is a day for the longest race in stock car racing. Six hundred miles of going round and round the one and a half mile oval and trying to keep up with changing track conditions as the race moves from daylight to darkness. Four stages of one hundred laps. Four stages with playoff points to win and strategies to be used to continuously move a driver towards the front of the field to hopefully claim the victory at the end of the six hundred miles.

Now, consider the fact that this long and important race will be faced with no practice and no qualifying. The lineup is assigned according to NASCAR’s plan for lineups when no qualifying is possible because of whatever conditions keep it from happening.

Well… from my view, it could mean some very interesting things as the race progresses. Pit selections, which can often make a difference in the end results of the race, are arrived at according to the way they lineup. From my view, that can also make the end result very interesting when the final checkered flag drops on this, the longest race.

I suppose it is possible the lineup could have turned out exactly as it is even if they had been able to qualify. Because mother nature did intercede in cancelling qualifying, we will never know the answer to that question. Would it make any difference? That, too, won’t be known until the race is done and the winner shows up in victory Lane.

Considering all of these things, everyone wonders which of the drivers and teams will survive the six hundred miles and which of them will enjoy the spoils of winning the Coca-Cola six hundred.

To be honest, I don’t really have any idea which one will win but I do have some I would like to see win and some I think have the best chance. I know this isn’t my normal way of talking about a race weekend but, this weekend is not a normal race weekend. It is a celebration and yet a solemn remembrance of what it costs for us to be able to enjoy a weekend like this in these United States. We thank those heroic warriors and families for their contribution and sacrifice.

There are those that are asking, because of his recent performances, if Kyle Larson is ready to string a bunch of wins together. The end results haven’t always been there but he has shown up just about every weekend as the one to beat. Unfortunate circumstances have often kept him from winning more than two races so far but, he has usually been at or near the front when it comes down to the final laps. After his performance in the All-Star race last weekend, this fan can’t help but wonder if it might be Larson in Victory Lane.

There is one driver that many of the competitors have a negative opinion of and that is … yeah, you guessed it … Ross Chastain. I like Ross but I think one thing that amazes me about him is how he sits atop the driver standings because of his consistency in finishes but has no wins yet. Of course, one thing that doesn’t show up in the standings is how some may not be ahead of him because of his aggressive driving. I only bring it up, not because I don’t like him but, because I can think of races he might not have done so well had he not been the cause of others not finishing ahead of him. I’m sure some may disagree with my thinking and that’s okay but, I’m not the only one that sees him as being overly aggressive at the wrong times. (Oh well, that’s my opinion, anyway.)

There are several that have a very good chance at winning this one and Ross is one of them. Along with him, I would name Kyle Bush, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, William Byron, Chase Elliott and Aric Almirola. In fact, there are a bunch of drivers that could win and for some of them it would be their first victory in Cup. I’m not so sure there will be a first-time winner tonight though. I won’t rule it out but I think some of the drivers that have been at it longer have a better chance.

So, when all is said and done by the end of this one, I expect we’ll see a battle between the Chevys and Toyotas, in particular, and there could be a surprise win by a Ford (even though I don’t think so.) The Fords have been struggling most all season and I just don’t see one of them sitting in Victory Lane at the end of the night, but… I just might be completely surprised…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© May 28, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and Pod Cast Norm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

Categories
Nascar Racing

NASCAR All Stars Going For The Million

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

There’s a reason they call it the All-Star race and there’s a reason why it is so special. This year’s All-Star race is at a place NASCAR hasn’t visited in twenty-seven years. That place is North Wilkesboro Speedway, BUT, wait a minute… that’s stuff we all already know. The All-Star race is special because it is a different race than a usual NASCAR race. Even though the drivers have already shown themselves to be extremely aggressive since the Next Gen car has proven to be able to handle some bumping and rubbing, there is something about the All-Star race that seems to bring out even more aggression.

Gee… do you think it has anything at all to do with that million-dollar prize and that prize being a winner take all type thing? Yeah, that’s about as obvious a statement as any of us could make. (Even the commercial leading up to this weekend’s race makes the statement, “What would you do for a million dollars?”) From this fan’s view, it looks like they will do just about anything if the opportunity arrives and they can win the money. To be honest, no one can really blame them. (After all, it is a million dollars.)

This brings me to a situation that has been more prevalent since they’ve gotten more familiar with the Next Gen car and especially this season. Of course, to me there is a difference between being aggressive and overly aggressive.

You see, I agree with the fact that “rubbin’ is racing’” but I don’t agree with turning someone being the only way to pass. I’ve heard all the statements recently about how so many say they are happy to see the aggression back in the sport. They also say it’s what the fans come to see. Heck, they even say they’re glad to see some of the emotion that leads to blows. I do understand the emotions and I do understand how it sometimes gets out of control, (Hey, I used to race and I’ve felt those emotions and dealt with all the adrenaline that comes with good hard racing.)

I know there’s been a lot of talk about Ross Chastain and how many drivers are upset with him because of his aggressive driving but there are others. I realize it is a fine line between what many find acceptable and unacceptable and I agree with much of what people express about acceptable and unacceptable aggressive driving. Let me give a quick comparison from another race and another driver.

A few weeks ago, Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin were going for the win at Kansas. Without going into a long explanation of the end of the race, just let me say why I thought what happened was unfortunate to say the least. In the final laps, Denny was closing in on Kyle and they had several laps of good, hard, side-by-side and bumper-to-bumper racing. Once again, without going into a lot of detail, it came down to the final lap going down the back straight.

After a hard-fought battle between the two, and this is my opinion, Denny took a cheap shot at Kyle and turned him into the wall. He said he was overly aggressive and accidentally got into his left rear and turned him into the wall. Even though Kyle took it better than this fan, what disappointed me was that for several laps the two had battled for the victory and it was still either ones race when Denny decided to turn him into the wall. He said it was an accident but, I believe it was intentional. After all was said and done, he turned Kyle to pass him and it could have still been Denny’s race if they would have battled the same as they had all the way to the checker. The fans in the stands and I were both disappointed. Not that Denny won but the way he won.

So, judging from what we’ve already seen in the heat races – even with the rain tires – tonight’s race should prove to be very interesting. It could be won by anyone of the competitors and it could be a race where one driver dominates the field. I’m really hoping it isn’t a follow the leader type race and I hope it isn’t just a “bumper-car fest.” I do believe the drivers will do just about anything if it means being able to take home a million dollars. I just hope they race for the win and not just bulldoze their way through…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© May 21, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and Pod Cast Norm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

Categories
Nascar Racing

Cup Teams Take It To the Lady In Black

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Darlington… yeah, that’s one name for it. Another is, “The Lady In Black.” Another is, “The Track Too Tough To Tame,” and it is the track the Cup teams are going to “attack” today and I believe that is exactly what they are going to do; attack “The Track To Tough To Tame.”

Everyone knows the track this week is one of the oldest tracks in the series and it has always been one of the toughest tracks, so I guess you can say it literally lives up to its name. It is tough on tires – always has been. It’s a challenge to drive with the difference between turns one and two and three and four and it’s tough on the drivers even though most of them love the track. The preferred line is right up next to the wall but you have to be able to run low as well. It is a track that makes for very exciting racing.

It looks like the Toyotas have found some speed again this weekend and they start one-two on the front row. Of course the Chevys take up the next three and a half rows before there are two more Toyotas. The Fords don’t show up until the tenth and eleventh spots so, from this fan’s view, it looks like they are still searching for a little speed, at least for qualifying. (And well… you already know how I feel about the difference between qualifying laps and racing laps.)

So… does it really look like it could be a repeat of last weekend with a Toyota taking the victory? Well… it could be but, I’m really not so sure. The Chevys have been showing a lot of speed most all season and it seems the Toyotas are just now coming to life. Well, at least finishing up front that is. JGR has two races in a row and they look to be a force arriving at the right time. Of course, they do have a better showing on the length tracks we are coming to than they did on the shorter tracks.

Now, what about the Fords? All the Fords have been struggling when it comes down to the final laps of the races. They only have one win this season and that was Joey Logano. Realistically, I’m sure Joey could have a run for the victory today but, he has been struggling recently. I’m not sure if they are really struggling or if, since they have a win in the bank, they’re just not just trying a lot of things before they get to the meat of the season. It could be they have found all the things that don’t work and they will start honing their results to be at full strength when it comes down to the playoffs. (Can you tell I don’t trust anyone when it comes to racing results until the playoffs start? But then again, they may be truly struggling and it only follows that they will find their way…)

Another Ford that might be a threat today at Darlington would be Ryan Blaney, at least from this fan’s view. He has been about the most consistent Ford most of the season. He has always shown up with speed, it’s just they haven’t closed the deal yet. I do think the fords will figure out their problems and the speed will follow and turn into winning ways. It’s just not like them to stay down for an entire season and there are several that do show signs of life whether or not they have been running up front.

Once again, I have to say the Toyotas do look strong for the race today. Both Martin Truex Jr. and Bubba Wallace qualified with good speed and just by starting up front could be an advantage for them. I won’t rule out their Toyota teammates either because Denny Hamlin, Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick have been showing speed just about every weekend so there is no way to rule them out of running for the win today. When it comes to Ty Gibbs, well, I just don’t know. He has been running good but just hasn’t been able to close the deal at the end of a race. Of course, as good as the Toyotas and Ty have been running, he could show the way at the end of this one. (Notice I’m not saying he will; I’m just saying he could…)

I just can’t close this out without mentioning the Chevys, many of them, have once again shown up with speed and any one of several of them could take it to victory lane today. Chase Elliott, William Byron, Kyle Larson, Kyle Bush, Ross Chastain and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – any of them could pull off a victory and that’s just to name several. There are others but, it comes down to this. I think it is going to be a day where the Toyotas and Chevys fight it out to the very end. Of course, when it comes down to it, the Toyotas could dominate the whole thing but…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© May 14, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and Pod Cast Norm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

Categories
Nascar Racing

Cup Teams Take It To Kansas Speedway  

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

The NASCAR Cup teams take it to Kansas Speedway this weekend and there are a bunch of drivers that need a win or a very good finish in this race. Not so much to take away some of the stress of them trying to qualify for the playoffs but more for just getting some momentum going in this 2023 NASCAR season. I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not but the Chevys have been the ones to beat when it comes to race day. In fact, there are two drivers and teams that have started off the season with laps led and looking hard to beat, are the two Hendrick teams of Willian Byron and Kyle Larson. So far this season, they have led the most laps and each of them have two victories.

Now, I’m not saying they have been unbeatable (which has been very obvious lately) but they have consistently shown up with fast cars and generally results to show for it. In fact, from this fan’s view, I would say Kyle Larson could have already won four or five of the races in this early part of the season. But once again, it seems that, “If it weren’t for bad luck, he’d have no luck at all,” to quote from an old song from many years ago. At least two times in the last few weeks, being in the right place at the wrong time has cost him a possible victory. Some would call that racing luck and I believe that has had something to do with it. I won’t go into a long explanation of why I think his luck has been bad, especially the last two weekends but just the same, it can turn the other way just as fast.

William Byron and the number twenty-four team on the other hand, has so far been very impressive most all season long, too. Both he and Kyle have looked strong off the truck just about every week. In fact, he could have won last week had it not been for a bad set of tires in the last long green flag run. Even if it hadn’t been for the poor performance in that part of the final stage, he might have been able to give Martin Truex Jr. a run for his money along with Ross Chastain.

Speaking of Ross, he is from Alva, FL and that is about thirty miles from where I live. His TrackHouse Chevys have been fast almost every week, too. Although he hasn’t made a lot of friends this season much like last season, I can’t argue with his success and I am sure a win is in his future but his aggressive style will likely come back to bite him along the way. Even this last weekend, he got into Brennan Poole and that contact on lap eighty-two of the four hundred took Kyle Larson out of contention for the rest of the race. Although not able to keep the pace for the rest of the race, he did manage to get in Ross’s way and possibly held him up just long enough from getting to Truex, Jr. and, from this fan’s view, kept him from a possible win over Truex Jr.

Although the Chevys look strong this weekend, from this fan’s view so do the Toyotas. After last weekend, I just can’t reasonably count out Martin Truex Jr. from making it two in a row. It looks like they have found some speed over at the JGR Toyota camp and Martin led the way last weekend. Looking at qualifying speeds, it is awfully hard to not see the Toyotas of Truex, Bell, Reddick and Hamlin as threats to win this weekend along with Bubba Wallace. Any one of the Toyotas could pull into Victory Lane when this one is over.

And then… there are the Fords. After a disastrous race last weekend, Joey Logano looked much better this weekend for the Kansas Speedway. He had speed and qualified sixth for the race today. Of course, he is right there in between the four JGR Toyotas but I don’t think that will deter him from making a run for the win. After Last week’s race, this fan thinks he and his crew chief have something to prove and it could result in a win which wouldn’t surprise me all that much, (even if I would rather see a Chevy sitting in Victory Lane.)

The race today at Kansas Speedway is going to be a hot one and possibly in more ways than one. Temperature-wise it’s going to be hot and that could be rough on both cars and drivers. It is expected that up against the wall will be the best place to run, but at this track, the racing groove is from the bottom to the top. It just depends on which one ends up working the best. If someone, or several someones, can run the bottom and the top they will likely walk away with the win.

This is another race where it is hard to pick a possible winner and I won’t even try. One thing this fan knows for sure is that only one of the thirty-six drivers can win. Which one is the real question…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© May 07, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and Pod Cast Norm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

Categories
Nascar Racing

Taking On The Monster

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

There’s a reason they call it the Monster. Contrary to what the name might conjure up in your mind, it’s not because it is a big track. It’s because it is a monster of a mile track and it treats most everyone the same. Without question it is one of, if not the toughest, one-mile track that can be found just about anywhere. That’s why a large statue of Miles the Monster stands holding a life-sized car in his hand and he dares that car and all the rest to try and tame him again. Unfortunately, as monstrous as he looks, he does always manage to be tamed by one of the Cup Teams every time.

Another reason it’s called the Monster Mile is because, almost every race-day, the monster manages to chew up a lot of cars. The biggest reason for that is because the track is what is described as a self-cleaning racetrack. As I am sure you are well aware, that is because a car that hits the outside wall often travels down to the inside wall and generally takes one or more cars with it. It usually isn’t a very pretty sight.

One more thing about the Monster… it is a very fast one mile oval and that also contributes to the severity of the contact with the wall and what happens after that.

The way things were shaping up before qualifying was cancelled, the lineup for today’s race could have looked a lot different than it does now. Even though he was struggling to make speed, Kyle Bush will start on the pole. Christopher Bell will start beside him on the outside pole position and both of them would have likely started much further back in the lineup if the qualifying would have looked anything like the practice session.

Along with the lack of qualifying and difference in the way thing s could have turned out is pit stall selection. Since track position will likely be a very important key to today’s race, many of the ones that were struggling in the practice sessions will likely gain a little advantage over some simply because of the possibility of better pit selections. No, I’m not saying qualifying wouldn’t have turned out the same way the lineup stands now but, it very well could have looked much different.

There is no way of knowing if things might have turned out different had they been able to have qualifying but it could have. Brad Keselowski and Kyle Larson were at the top of the chart when practice was called along with qualifying. In fact, there were three Hendrick Chevys in the top five comprised of Larson, William Byron and Chase Elliott. Now, Brad didn’t lose too many spots because he will still start fourth but the three Hendrick cars in the top five didn’t fare as well. Byron will start eighth, Elliott tenth and Larson, well… he fell all the way back to eighteenth and at the Monster, that means he has his work cut out for himself.

One of the biggest concerns for today’s race may be tires. Things could be different because of the Xfinity cars putting down some rubber on the track but, there is no guarantee the track won’t be eating up tires like it was during practices. The reasons given for the tire problems was the cool ambient and track temperature and that the track wasn’t taking rubber. The discussion before the Xfinity race was that the track would be better able to take rubber with the Cup cars. If not, there was a lot of concern if the teams would have enough tires to make it through the entire race.

Now, I’m not saying things will turn out as ominously as it appeared it might, especially with the tire situation but, if tire problems do occur, that in itself could change the whole outcome of the race. The problem with this unknown, at least from this fan’s view, is that we may not know until someone has a tire failure and ends up in the wall taking several others with them. It was thought that NASCAR may throw a competition caution so the teams could check out the tire wear situation. My concern, especially at the Monster, is whether or not that will keep tires from being a problem. It could be a day of destruction for more than a few if tires do become a problem.

And then… there’s the possibility of rain shortening the race. Do you think the drivers will be pressing harder to gain track position than they might if there was no threat of rain? Yeah… me, too.

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 30, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and Pod Cast Norm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

Categories
Nascar Racing

Cup Teams Take It To Talladega

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Once again the NASCAR Cup teams take it to Talladega. You know, the place they run door handle to door handle and bumper to bumper at close to 200 miles per hour for numerous laps around the just over two-and-a-half-mile oval. A place that often has one or more big ones in the course of a day on the fastest track in racing. Yeah… that’s the one.

Talladega has always been one of my favorite races. Every time they visit the place I try my best to be available to watch. There were times when I was much younger, I remember traveling with my parents during several vacations we would drive past the place on race day. From the road we were traveling, you could see just enough to whet your appetite and hope you mom and dad would pull into the track and we would get to see it in person. Traveling by the place on race day is the closest I’ve ever been to actually attending a race at the super speedway.

I even remember the few times the timing was right as we traveled, we could listen to the race on the radio as we drove by. Believe me, my family loved stock car racing and, though we never got to attend a Talladega race in person, we always either watched it on TV or listened to the race on the radio almost every time they raced there.

So… what do you think the race today will be like? Will it be a lot of follow the leader or will it be get out front and try to stay there? Those are a couple of good questions and I’m not so sure I have an answer for them. How many cars do you think will finish the race? After all, Daytona and Talladega are know to be tracks where they often have “The Big One” and it is possible we could see one today. In fact, it’s possible we could see more than one.

Looking at the way things panned out after qualifying, this could be a very interesting day at the races in Talladega. The Toyotas and Fords occupy most of the top fifteen starting spots with only two Chevys. That could mean the Toyotas are finally making a turn in their season and it would be a welcome turn considering. With last week’s performance by Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr., maybe they will finally take a win. After all, Denny is starting on the pole and all four of the JGR Toyotas are starting in the top ten.

The SHR Fords also kind of help fill out the top ten along with the Penske Fords. Aric Almirola starts on the front row with Denny Hamlin and they are followed by several fast Toyotas and Fords namely those of Ty Gibbs, Chase Briscoe, Ryan Blaney, Christopher Bell, Martin Truex Jr. and Joey Logano.

If it weren’t for the lone Chevy of last week’s winner, Kyle Larson, all of the top ten starters would be Fords and Toyotas. I found that to be quite surprising when I think of the how the Chevys have been running and qualifying so far this season.

Once again I have to bring up how this fan thinks qualifying affects the outcome of a Super Speedway race. When it comes down to it I believe qualifying has less to do with how the race will end up at a track like this than to say, one like Martinsville or Bristol and others. The reason for that, at least in my opinion, is because pit stalls are more important at the shorter tracks than they are at the Super Speedways. That doesn’t mean the pit stop strategies and locations aren’t important every race but, they just seem to me to be less important on a weekend like this one. I could be wrong – wouldn’t be the first time – but I could be right.

I’m really not sure which of the drivers or teams might win today’s race. It could be someone totally unexpected or it could be someone like Kevin Harvick (who would like nothing better than to get a win in this, his final season in NASCAR.) I suppose it could be one of the Toyotas, like Martin Truex Jr. or Christopher Bell. Shucks, it could even Ryan Blaney in his Penske Ford. I really don’t expect that to happen but, I suppose it could.

When it comes down to it, I guess I’m in agreement with Larry McReynolds when he says (in particular at Talladega or Daytona) “if you’re in it, you can win it.” That seems to hold particularly true, especially at a place like Talladega. Honestly, I would be a bit surprised if a Chevy won. Maybe even the one driven by Chase Elliott…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 23, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and Pod Cast Norm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

Categories
Nascar Racing

Who Will Win This One At Martinsville?

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Play

Martinsville… a track fondly called “the paperclip” because of its shape with long straights and tight turns at both ends. It’s a track that is hard to pass on and demands consistency every lap. The pits are as challenging as the track and there is hardly much room to even get the cars into the stalls for service let alone try and avoid the others pitted close. It requires concentration and hitting the marks and, most of all, drivers have to control their emotions and tempers. But then… that’s what short track racing is made up of and that is one of the biggest reasons Martinsville is probably the most popular short track on the NASCAR circuit. It is also the oldest.

Martinsville is a track that is hard to pass on and it requires patience to make it to the end of the race. You can bet that there will be lots of use of blocking and bumpers to move someone out of the way of a faster car that just can’t wait any longer. The more that happens, the more heated drivers become and eventually their emotions generally get the best of them and someone ends up in the wall. Sometimes there is payback for past run-ins even in previous races and sometimes it is handled heatedly either on the track or after the race and sometimes even with fisticuffs and scuffles. Eventually things cool down and everyone moves on the next race.

So… what will happen today on the Martinsville “paperclip” and just how intense will the competition be? In fact, who will win this one at Martinsville? Will it be a new first-time winner or will it be a crafty old veteran that takes it to Victory Lane and take home the grandfather clock?

From the way the qualifying went, it could go several different ways. Well, at least from this fan’s view. This is the first race back for Chase Elliott after missing six races and a lot of people think he might be the one. I guess that is a possibility but it also comes with questions of reality. Being out of the car for six weeks and still healing up from a broken leg makes it a bit of a stretch to think he will be able to pull it off, especially starting as far back as he is in the lineup. Still, all things considered, it is a possibility and stranger things have happened in NASCAR. In reality, for him to win he would have to beat a lot of cars that qualified much better than him and a lot of things would have to fall his way for that to happen. (Well, that is also from this fan’s view.)

Just a quick look at the lineup for today’s race shows just how big of a challenge it will be for Chase to move from starting twenty-fourth to taking the final checkered flag. Ryan Preece could be the most formidable challenge to all the field. He showed himself to have a very fast racecar in practice and qualifying and, as we all saw last week, he isn’t going to shy away from anyone that might press him for the win. From my view, his chances of dominating this one seems to be pretty high but, there are a bunch of others that might have a lot to say about that, too.

To mention a few of the drivers hungry for a win this weekend I would start with Daniel Suarez starting next to Preece on the front row. He hasn’t had the best of luck recently but this could be the race he turns it around and takes home his first grandfather clock.

Along with him are a bunch of other hungry drivers starting in the top twelve. All of the Stewart Haas teams are starting in the top ten. Drivers like Aric Almirola, Chase Briscoe and, of course, Kevin Harvick can’t be overlooked for possibly winning. In fact, the Fords and the Toyotas both looked to have a lot of speed and drivers from both camps all look to this race to start a turn around on their 2023 season and anyone of them could pull off the win.

When it comes to the Toyotas, the names of Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. quickly come to mind and Denny has already made it known he expects Martinsville to be a turnaround on his lack-luster season so far. It isn’t really a stretch for him to make it happen since he generally runs well at this track. The same goes for Truex Jr. he has already been showing signs of getting back to running in the front and this could be the race that he starts on a tear. Christopher Bell has already shown himself to be consistent most of the season and, after his win last weekend on the dirt at Bristol, it is hard to rule him out of contention when it comes down to the final laps. Of course, I can’t leave out Tyler Reddick or Bubba Wallace. Both are hungry and both are showing speed.

Probably the biggest surprise to me this weekend is the lack of Chevys showing up in the top fifteen in qualifying. There were only three and also surprising was that the Hendrick Chevys were mostly absent from the top fifteen except for William Byron. Usually, the Hendrick teams show up strong at Martinsville and it is special to them for a lot of reasons. They do have their work cut out for them this weekend if we only look at qualifying (and you know how I feel about qualifying results and race results.)

It could happen that the Chevys end up challenging for the win and the others fall by the wayside. That would be a total surprise to me since the Fords and Toyotas are looking so strong but, then again, this is NASCAR and this is Martinsville…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 16, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and Pod Cast Norm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

Categories
Nascar Racing

Bristol Dirt Racing Under The Lights

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Play

The old local radio advertisement I remember from years ago went something like this: “Saturday night under the lights! Saturday night under the lights…!” and from there they would say where the racing would be taking place and, of course, it would have been at one of our local race tracks either dirt or asphalt. I grew up in a relatively small town but we did have two dirt tracks and the racing generally took place on Friday and Saturday nights, sometimes even on Sunday afternoon. The biggest drawing track was the one near the airport and it had its races on Saturday night and that’s the one I remember the most. Now, I’m not saying this weekend’s race reminds me a lot of those Saturday nights in Southern Illinois but, it does bring a lot of memories back to mind of night racing on the dirt in my hometown.

There are at least two things very different about the race this weekend however. This one takes place on a Sunday night and, of course, “It’s Bristol, Baby!”

It seems the winners and also-rans have pretty much been chosen for tonight’s race. At the top of the list are Christopher Bell, Kyle Larson, Kyle Bush and Tyler Reddick. All of those are good choices and any one of them could win tonight. The problem I have with making a list that mostly talks of people with a lot of dirt track experience in their background is that it generally doesn’t take into account the adaptability of other drivers to quickly take to the dirt and surprise everyone.

Admittedly, I never did race on the dirt and never had to set up my car for racing on the dirt, but I will say, some of the most fun I remember having while I was racing was when we had to dry out the track after a quick rain shower. I believe that was the closest we came to dirt-tracking because of how slick it was. Even though we were on asphalt, at least in my opinion, the lack of grip was just like racing on dirt.

I’m sure there will be some that will disagree with me but that doesn’t change my view at all. I know how different it was to race on wet asphalt as opposed to dry and how our cars handled on the wet. We were always in a power slide in the turns and had to have good throttle control to keep going the way we wanted the car to go at speed.

But enough about me and my days from the past racing at the local short tracks in my hometown. I realize NASCAR on the dirt at Bristol is whole different beast. Well, at least in most ways. Just the aura that comes to mind when the track name is mentioned has always been interesting to me. When people talk of Bristol, they often use the phrase, “It’s Bristol, baby” or “That’s Bristol, baby!” Much of that is because it is one of the shortest tracks on the NASCAR circuit and it is what many people grew up watching. There has always been something about short track racing under the lights and tonight’s race will be no different.

Kyle Larson’s performance in his qualifying heat race put him on the pole position for the start of tonight’s race. Even he said he and his team had a long way to go in their setup for tonight’s race if they wanted to stay out front. He recognized they started out string but, by the end of fifteen laps, they were almost not able to stay ahead of Ryan Preece.

Speaking of Ryan Preece, his run in that qualifying race was a bit unexpected and that is one reason why I don’t put much stock in just looking at the drivers that spent a lot of time racing on dirt. I believe tonight’s race could be a total surprise as far as it goes. I could be wrong and there are a few drivers I would like to see win but, it is quite possible this could be another week where I believe there could be a totally unexpected winner. Yeah, I’m pulling for a couple of my favorites but, from what I’ve seen so far, there are a lot of possibilities when it comes to winners.

So, does that mean I’m going to go into a long list of drivers and teams that I think could win tonight? No, not at all. What I’m going to say is that nothing would surprise me in tonight’s race because, “It’s Bristol, baby!!”

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

Categories
Nascar Racing

Cup Teams Taking It To Richmond

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Play

Well… It’s that time again. Time for the Cup teams to take it to Richmond. This could be just another weekend but some things have changed since the last time drivers took to the track. There have been rule changes and they will likely have an effect on the way the cars handle and it just might be a totally different race than the last time the Cup drivers were there. Less downforce is the main difference and it just might make everything, well… how do I want to say this, different from the track to the pits.

That ‘s not the only things different this weekend though. First of all, there was no practice and no qualifying. In my opinion, the teams have become quite familiar with that situation but, there are a few other things that might affect the outcome of this one.

The Hendrick teams did have a victory over their being penalized a couple of weeks ago and the outcome of that changes the way the teams will lineup in the Toyota Owners 400. What do I mean by that? This won’t be news to anyone that follows NASCAR Cup racing even a little closely but, they did get their points back and it changes the way they line up. It also affects where they will be in their pit selections. Alex Bowman starts on the pole because of the return of points to the teams and the whole lineup is affected by the return of those points to the Hendrick teams.

So, what’s the big deal about the return of the points to the Hendrick teams? Well, at least from this fan’s view, it kinda puts them back in the game for the end of the year. Sure, it’s true some of them were performing good enough to probably get back to where they are now by the end of the season but this expedited the whole situation. The Hendrick teams started off the season strong and were out front almost every week. The penalties put a damper on their situation but it remains to be seen if this situation gives them a lift. After all, they have been running strong even with their regular crew chiefs missing from the pit boxes.

This is just an observation from this fan’s view but, Kyle Larson’s season so far reminds me of words to the song from the old Hee Haw TV show; “If it weren’t for bad luck, he’d have no luck at all.” From my view, he has had the worst luck of all the Hendrick teams. Last weekend was no different. He looked to have a car that could have possibly won but he was bitten by the old nemesis of all racers, “Racing Luck.” It has been a tough year for someone that started off the year so strong. Just about anything that could go wrong has gone wrong for the number five team and last week was no different.

Now look, I’m not saying some of it hasn’t been his fault but, for the most part, it’s just stuff happening. I can’t help but wonder if this might be the week that things begin to turn around for him. Considering how he’s been running and where he’s been finishing, something good is bound to happen for him. So far it’s just been a struggle but that usually doesn’t last for long and things do quite suddenly turn around when it comes to racing, especially in NASCAR.

So far this season, it has been mostly a Chevy show. Things are beginning to change though and all three of the manufacturers are beginning to run up front. Every week, the Fords and Toyotas look to be catching up to the Chevys strong start and it could be a very interesting time ahead.

Now that I’ve given so many accolades to the Chevys, I have to say the Fords have shown their moments in the front. Go back a couple of weeks and you find Joey Logano dominating at Atlanta. He didn’t just win he did dominate that day and the Fords are beginning to show more signs of life every weekend.

Along with the dominating performance of Logano at Atlanta, last week’s race was about the same for the Toyotas and Tyler Reddick’s performance. Even though he was hard pressed by the Chevy of William Byron, he was definitely the fastest and strongest car at COTA.

You see, that’s what makes this so difficult. Every time you think you know how things are going to go, someone shows up and changes how you have to look at the races and which of the drivers and teams will win. For a while it looked to me and this was going to be a Chevy year and the others were going to be playing catch up for most of it.

Without the practice and the qualifying happening this weekend, it is difficult to say what will happen in this Richmond race but I expect it will be a good one. Right now, I’m leaning toward a strong Chevy performance. But with the latest races in the last two weeks, It could be anybody’s race and it could be someone totally unexpected. How’s that for having a grip on what you think might happen… ?

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 2, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and Pod Cast Norm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

Categories
Nascar Racing

Road Racing at Cota Up Next

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Play

It used to be that road races were just weekends to be survived and not many drivers liked having to turn both left and right. Some were often replaced for these races by “ringers” familiar with road racing and sometimes the “ringers” would even perform really well. Other times, well, not so much.

Then some of the NASCAR drivers decided to become proficient at these type courses and fewer “ringers” were called on to fill in for those drivers. These days, however, most, if not all drivers, have improved their skills or have decided to do what they can to make a go of the Road Courses.

That is probably a good thing since there are more road courses in the regular season competition than there used to be. I guess what I’m trying to say so far is that, if you want to be in NASCAR Cup you might as well learn to drive every type of track on the NASCAR Cup circuit. If not, you might be replaced by someone else.

So, do I think there any that should be worried about losing their jobs in Cup? No, not at all… at least in the present status of the NASCAR Teams.

It has been interesting to watch Cup racing this year. For one thing, at least from my view, the Hendrick teams have an advantage over the rest of the field. Does that mean they win every weekend? No, not at all. What it means that they seem to show up with the cars to beat and they have often shown the way and been the ones to beat every weekend. Have they been beaten? Yes, but they could have won almost every race so far this season. Nothing like stating the obvious but leading the way for the Hendrick teams has been two in particular. Of course you already know the names I’m going to say but I have to say them anyway.

Do the names, Kyle Larson and William Byron ring a bell with you? Yeah, I thought that might be the case. I would also add the name of Alex Bowman because he has silently been running consistently well, week in and week out.

Now, their accomplishments have been overshadowed by the penalties handed down by NASCAR for the problem they had with the louvers on the hood a couple of weeks or so age – even though the results are being contested – they went from rating high in the points to falling well back into the field. Personally, I don’t think the way they’ve been running in this early part of the season had anything at all to do with the situation concerning the louvers NASCAR penalized them for. I understand they wanted to make an example of them doing what they shouldn’t have done according to the guidelines set by NASCAR.

As an example of my opinion I would offer the qualifying session and even the qualifying as my proof. Look at which of the drivers won the pole. Yeah, that’s right, William Byron. Even Kyle Larson ran well during the first session but he did lose out of being in the final qualifying session and qualified thirteenth. However, Alex Bowman did qualify sixth for the start of today’s race.

Ok, I know I’ve been neglecting the Ford and Toyota drivers along with a bunch of Chevy drivers but, today’s race will likely do the same thing. If anything holds true from the qualifying sessions, this just might be a race between two people, William Byron and Tyler Reddick. They were both strong performers in practice and qualifying and could relatively stink up the show. I’m not saying they will but I’m saying this could be a race for third on back.

Okay, now that I’ve said that, you already know what I think qualifying has to do with the way the race really goes. You see, I don’t think it will be a race between just two people. I think it’s going to be a race with a lot of give and take and maybe even a surprise winner. There are those drivers I just can’t discount from the possibility of winning or, at the very least making it interesting right down to the final flag. Am I willing to pick winner? No, definitely not but, I am willing to say this could be a very interesting race at a very interesting track. There are a lot of twists and turns ahead for the drivers and teams and strategy is going to play a very important part…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© March 26, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and Pod Cast Norm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

Categories
Nascar Racing

Atlanta Is Up Next For The Cup Teams

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Play

Well… There’s one thing that can still be said about the Atlanta Motor Speedway and that’s that it is fast. Of course, it is a little treacherous for the drivers with it being run like Daytona and Talladega. With just 550 horsepower and the teams facing the new configuration for the second year, that means it will be like the Super Speedway races with all that goes along with them. That means another time of flat-out door to door, bumper to bumper drafting and close racing. It also means it will likely be hard to pass and track position will be one of the most important things if one of them wants to win.

From this fan’s view, qualifying made it look like the Fords have shown up ready and raring to go to change the dominance the Chevys have shown so far this season. Admittedly, the Fords looked strong at Daytona but they didn’t finish the deal and the Chevys did. Except for last weekend at Phoenix when it looked like Kevin Harvick was going to take the win, the Chevys have pretty much dominated the show.

Now, you and I both know that qualifying often doesn’t mean all that much when it comes to race day other than getting a good choice for a pit stall. So, it remains to be seen if the Fords can show the same strength this afternoon when it comes to the actual race or if the Chevys, and maybe the Toyotas, will fare better than their qualifying did. If the Fords continue in the race as they did in qualifying, well, this just might be a dominate day for them.

Everyone is talking about the penalties handed down to the Hendrick Chevys this week and, on the surface, it could be a game changer for their recent dominance. I mean, after all, they have been the ones to beat every weekend so far. Even though some say this weekend will be a reality check, I’m not so sure. Just look at their performance last weekend when their louvers were confiscated by NASCAR and they had to use some from another Chevy team. From my view – and a lot of others – they were still the dominate cars with Kyle Larson and William Byron leading most of the laps and Byron winning two in a row even after the louver deal.

Yeah, I know Kevin Harvick in his Ford would likely have won last weekend had it not been for the late-race caution but Kyle Larson would probably have won the week before if there hadn’t also been a late-race caution.

So, what will be the story this weekend with all of the penalties handed down to the Hendrick teams and the loss of crew chiefs and loss of points and money to fines? Will they bounce back and dominate as they have in the first races or will they suffer defeat and drop like rocks in the race today?

Well, I’m not sure but one thing I know. Even though the Fords absolutely dominated qualifying and eight of them are starting in the first four rows, Kyle Larson is starting ninth and William Byron is starting eleventh. It doesn’t sound so impossible that those two could end up in front when the final checkered flag drop on today’s race. No, I’m not saying they will and I’m not saying they won’t but I am saying they very well could. I guess it could come down to whether or not the loss of their crew chiefs affects them in a big way or at all.

When it comes down to it, I admit the Fords do look like they might be hard to beat this weekend. After all, they did run strong at Daytona and this could possibly be the weekend they take it to the bank when the race is done which is what they didn’t do at Daytona.

There are at least eight fast Fords and it remains to be seen just how deep the talent is a Hendrick Motorsports and whether or not they can prove the louvers had very little to do with their performance over the last several weeks.

In this fan’s opinion, I expect this to be a showdown between the Fords and Chevys with maybe a chance for Christopher Bell in his Toyota to finish up front since he has been the front runner in the Toyota camps. I’ m still not convinced Danny Hamlin will make it to the end of the day and end up in Victory Lane even though it is a remote possibility. Of course, there is always the possibility Bubba Wallace could show up at the front also but, in all honesty, the Toyotas just haven’t shown the speed of the Fords and the Chevys so far.

The best I can say for today’s race is I guess we’ll just have to watch it to the end and see who dominates the day. Will it be a Ford, a Chevy or a Toyota? Yeah, I reckon it will…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© March 19, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and Pod Cast Norm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

Categories
Nascar Racing

Phoenix With New Rules Is Next

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Play

The big question for the race this weekend at Phoenix Raceway is how the new rules package will affect not only the drivers but, the racing in general. After the practice session, it appears the drivers have pretty much gotten a grip on the difference in handling but there are still questions that will only be answered when the race starts.

From this fan’s view and my observations, this race could be quite a bit different than the last time NASCAR visited Phoenix. Let’s see… less downforce, slipping and sliding and just general lack of grip at times means what many describe as better racing. I can’t disagree with that and I definitely agree that putting the results back into the hands of the drivers can make a world of difference to the interest of the racing. There’s nothing like watching a good, competitive battle between drivers.

Ok, that being said, which of the drivers and teams appear to have an upper hand with this rules package so far. Well… that’s a good question and one that’s not easily or quickly answered. Usually, the Fords have had a slight advantage going into Phoenix but this year might not be that way. Now don’t get me wrong. The Chevys – and the Toyotas to a little lesser extent – often show up as the cars to beat. Although it is hard to tell much from one practice session, it does appear to this fan that the teams are fairly well matched. I’m not saying some aren’t running better than others but it has been pretty obvious from fall-off of lap times, the tires will be the most important commodity and will likely have an affect on the overall racing.

Again this week, the Hendrick Chevys have shown up with speed and, in particular, the teams of Willian Byron and Kyle Larson. By the time qualifying came around, it did appear the Toyotas and Fords had also found some speed or, at least comfort for their drivers and things were looking a bit less one-sided.

Look, you and I both know you can’t tell a lot from qualifying if, for no other reason, it’s only the speed of one lap. Qualifying can be deceptive. It has been in the past and will continue to be so in the future. Even though that is true and often the top qualifiers quickly fall back in the pack at first, this weekend could be a bit different. This weekend to top qualifiers could be the ones to watch for the win.

After the practice session, some of the drivers were surprised with where they qualified. It appears the crews were able to make adjustments and the cars responded positively to the adjustments. Of course, it was also obvious that tires were also a key factor in the times and a couple of laps on them made a difference.

So, from this fan’s view, I have to give my opinion of what I think stands out to me. It is pretty obvious that Kyle Larson has shown up with a noticeably fast Hendrick Chevy Camaro. He was fast in practice and fast enough in qualifying to take the pole. It is possible he could dominate the race this afternoon but it just as possible he could fall like a rock backwards through the field during the race and not be factor at the end. Somehow I doubt that will happen because he was fast off the truck, fast in practice and fastest in qualifying but, he only beat Denny Hamlin for the pole by the smallest of margins.

But wait a minute. I have another theory of how the race may go. With the rules change, I expect the dirt-track racers will have an advantage, at least in the beginning. That means there are more possibilities for front runners than just Kyle Larson. In fact, I will go so far as to say so far this season, those that came from dirt track backgrounds have been performing noticeably a little better and that holds somewhat true for the Next Gen car since it was introduced. I know that’s a statement that might be disagreed with but, it is the way I see it.

It is possible that Kyle Larson could dominate this one and gain a little bit back from finishing second instead of first last weekend. Up until Aric Almirola spun with about three laps to go, Kyle was basically walking away with the victory over William Byron even though Byron dominated the day overall. Perhaps this afternoon, Kyle may be the one that dominates and William finishes second…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© March 12, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and Pod Cast Norm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated