Kansas Starts The Round Of Eight

from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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There are several questions that come to mind as the NASCAR Cup Series starts the “Round of Eight” in the 2020 playoffs at Kansas this weekend. I’m sure you may have different questions than I do but, these are the first ones that crossed my mind as I began to think about the race this weekend.

I think one of the biggest questions I have is will Chase Elliott be able to carry his momentum from last weekend at the Roval to victory this weekend? He has proven himself to be one of the best on the road courses but will he be able to perform at a higher level than he has on the one and a half mile ovals? Just looking at the playoffs so far shows us he has been one of the better performers in the playoffs. I can’t help but wonder if that momentum won’t continue and carry him into the final four with a very good chance of winning his first Cup Championship or at least making to the final four early on in this round of eight. I may be jumping the gun just a little but, he has had a hot shoe recently and he could easily be in Victory Lane when this one is in the books.

Another question I have is whether or not Denny Hamlin will struggle or get back on track at Kansas? He has had a strong year but, lately he just hasn’t shown the same strength as he did earlier in the season. In the past, Denny has made it into the playoffs and into the final four but not made it all the way to winning his first Championship. This is one of his best years and he is quite capable to take it all the way. He has shown a lot more maturity this season than in seasons past but I still wonder, will this be his year?

Martin Truex Jr. is also on my “what if” list. He has had a good season but it hasn’t been stellar for him lately. I think the first question that comes to my mind about him is, “What if” he doesn’t make the cut for the final four? I am absolutely not saying he won’t make it but I do definitely ask the question, which of the others will if he doesn’t? It could be quite misleading to look at his performance lately and say anything at all but, he and his team have struggled a bit in the playoffs. In fact, I would go so far to say that this may not be his year to make it to the final four but it also begs the question, has he shown the consistency it will take to get there? After all, the Toyotas have been searching a bit for speed, especially in the 2020 playoffs, just ask Kyle Bush…

From this fan’s view, I’m not sure if Kevin Harvick has been a little off his game or if he has just been playing it safe. Maybe he has just been playing it safe but if the opposite is true, the final four could look very different. For much of the 2020 season, he has been one of the top choices to be in the final four and it looks like he could be. Well, that is if the wheels don’t fall off (which even this fan admits isn’t very likely.) The main point is that he just hasn’t shown himself as dominate as he did earlier in the season. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m just asking questions about some of the “what ifs” if things don’t go the way so many have said they would. I admit, he has been one of the strongest competitors this year but, well… “what if?” How many are prepared to accept the fact if he doesn’t make it??

I really just have to throw this out there; “does Brad Keselowski’s performance lately really instill a great deal of confidence he I going to be one of the final four?” At times, I would have to answer yes but, he has had those moments that make me wonder. In this fan’s opinion, I have thought he was undoubtedly going to be there and then there are those other moments that I’m just not sure at all. Yes, it’s true. He did dominate at one of the recent playoff races and wanted to save that car for Phoenix but he has also struggled, perhaps even more than he expected. He may be able to use that car at Phoenix but it may not be for the Championship. In fact, I have expected him to shine more than he has, but then that’s just my observation and some have decided he IS going to be there.

So, let’s see… that leaves us with three hardly anyone has talked about throughout the last of the season; Alex Bowman, Kurt Bush and Joey Logano. Well, actually there has been a lot of talk about Joey Logano so, maybe I shouldn’t include him here with the other two. Let me talk about Joey first and then move on to the other two.

I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Joey Logano but, I can’t deny his ability and his intensity. He is one of the most hard-charging drivers in Cup, sometimes to his own demise. He has often tried to make things happen when he could have just been a little more patient and let certain things just fall into his lap. I’m really not saying he shouldn’t press the way he does or that he shouldn’t try to get all he can at any given time. I’m just saying he might want to have a little more patience at certain times and it might improve his chances for advancing to the final four this season.

Alex Bowman and Kurt Bush were pretty much written off of making the final four but they have both persevered and here they are, in the round of eight. Whether either one, or both, of them make it any further is one of the greatest unknowns of the 2020 season, (well, at least to this fan.) Either one, or both, of them could win one of the next three races and make the final four and it wouldn’t surprise this fan in the least. In fact, don’t you think that would put a large exclamation point on the year 2020? (Yeah, it probably won’t happen, but… “What If?”)

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 17, 2020 – 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 Roval Question – Rain or No Rain

from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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The big question from the Cup Series this weekend is, will it rain or will it not? Inclement weather couldn’t come at a more dramatic time in the playoffs since this is the cutoff race for the round of twelve. There are at least four of the twelve drivers that need to win if they want to stay in the playoffs and adding rain to the mix should make for a very interesting afternoon of racing at the Roval in Charlotte.

I realize the implications of rain make the situation a bit more complicated than it normally would but, racing in the rain is a decision NASCAR made several years ago. If memory serves me correctly, they haven’t had to actually do that yet and most of the drivers are concerned about their lack of experience at racing in the rain. In fact, many have expressed that they haven’t raced in the rain ever. That means they will have a large learning curve if the rains do come down, at least until NASCAR thinks it is too dangerous to continue racing because of safety concerns…

As a former small-time stock car racer, I realize there aren’t too many of you that care to hear about my experiences of rain at the track but, I will share a few things anyway. Most of the time the rain was intermittent or light and even when the track was too wet to continue, often we could dry it by all of the classes getting out and driving around the track many times to dry it out. Of course, we were small-time and didn’t have the same means as NASCAR to dry it out but it could be done and the racing continue.

If I can take another moment to express my experience, those were some of the most fun times I can remember from my old racing days. It was unbelievable how slippery the track got with just a little bit of drizzle coming down. Sometimes it would rain really hard for about fifteen or twenty minutes or so and they would clear the track, depending on the time, and wait it out. Those were my only times of driving on a track that drove like the old dirt tracks I grew up around even though it was asphalt. We weren’t actually going fast at those times but we could put our cars in a power slide almost all the way around the track just like driving on dirt. I’m telling you; it may not have been racing for a win but it sure was fun. It seemed it also made us better at handling our cars if some fluid was dumped on the track and that was a plus.

Now, that had nothing to do with what’s going on at the Roval this weekend but I threw it in for free just because I remember those times very vividly and I had a lot of fun along with many of the other people I raced with…

Because of the possible inclement weather at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the door could be opened for someone other than the favorites to show up in Victory Lane at the end of the day. It could also open the door for one of those below the cut line and needing to win to stay in, to make it into the next round. That doesn’t mean the favorites won’t be there fighting it out for the victory, it just opens the door to a whole lot more possibilities.

These days, there are quite a few good road course racers in NASCAR. The days of bringing in road course ringers are long over and, though there may be some that don’t like road courses, most of the drivers do at least make a good showing. I’m not saying all of them do but most of them seem to be able to handle the road courses competitively, whether or not they are running for the win.

The Roval is the breaking point for some and can be one of the most important races of the season for those in the top twelve going in to this one. IF one of those in the ninth to twelfth positions pulls off a win, it can totally wreck someone else’s chances of moving on. If may even be one of the drivers close to the cut line that ends up being knocked out of the playoffs. That’s what will likely make this race so dramatic. The possibilities are, or at least could be, an overwhelming disappointment for someone and a complete turnaround for another.

As a fan, I think it is pretty obvious that emotions will be high and tempers may not flare up immediately but, probably will at sometime during the race. The drama will only increase as the laps wind down and won’t let up until this one is done.

So… will it rain or won’t it? I don’t know but, I reckon we’re fixing to find out when the green flag drops and what ever is going to happen, happens…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 10, 2020 – 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 Pressure Ramps Up At Talladega

from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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Well… it’s that time again. You do know what I’m talking about, don’t you? You know that thing they used to call restrictor plate racing. Yeah, that’s right; at one of the two remaining Super Speedways on the NASCAR circuit. This weekend is another one of those races at Talladega.

Personally, I’ve always liked the races at the Super Speedways. Well… except for the times when they did that tandem thing. You know, that time when they would go two by two, hooking up front and rear bumpers because it was a faster way to get around the track. That was when I thought NASCAR racing became completely boring. Actually, I was happy when they made it where they couldn’t do that anymore. That’s not to say they don’t hook up together in a similar way; It’s just that they don’t do it lap after lap until their radiators need to breathe a little.

As we already know, the race this weekend is the second in the round of twelve and it is important for those wanting to move on to the round of eight to have good finishes. Well, that is all but Kurt Bush. He’s already guaranteed a spot in the next round because of his win last weekend. In all actuality, this is the first of two tough races in a row in the round of twelve. Not necessarily because the tracks are so difficult, although they are a challenge, but because they are hard places to advance in the standings if things don’t go right.

I’m still not convinced that Kyle Bush will actually win a race this season. Maybe I should say, when it actually counts this season, especially for the playoffs. As the points stand right now, he is just outside the cutoff line for the round of eight. It is possible he could fulfill his own prophecy of being eliminated in this round. Sure, I know it was only in a post-race interview and he was relatively frustrated at the time but, from my view, it is possible he might not move on to the next round. He hasn’t had the best luck this season and it is possible he could be eliminated from the playoffs before it turns around. This is another one of those times when it looks like we’ll just have to wait and see.

Actually, a close look at the standings and the two races coming up, shows those in third to twelfth aren’t all that set coming into Talladega and then the Roval. It is hard to predict what the standings could look like after Talladega let alone the Roval. There are only so many points separating third from twelfth and a win by one of those in ninth to twelfth would completely negate the small advantage. Of course, some are more safe than others in that group but having problems over the next two weekends could spell trouble for someone that looks to be quite safe, points-wise, at the present time.

The two remaining Hendrick Motorsports drivers in the playoffs, Alex Bowman and Chase Elliott just don’t look all that safe going into Talladega. All it will take is someone below them winning this weekend or them having a bad finish and losing spots, and then moving them below the cutoff and making next week at the Roval all the more pressure packed. That’s one of the big unknowns about running at Talladega. There is always the chance of getting caught up in someone else’s problem or one of the possible multiple “Big Ones.”

Kevin Harvick is still the one most likely to move on to the final four unless his season turns completely around and everything goes down the tubes over the next several weeks. The chances of that happening isn’t very likely so I’ll just leave it at, he is one of my picks to advance all the way to the Final Four for the Championship for now.

When it comes to Denny Hamlin, well, I’m still not convinced his luck has turned around. Yes, I know he finished third last weekend and is starting on the pole this weekend (barring failure at inspection time.) It is a good spot for him to start at Talladega but it also doesn’t mean he will finish well and, judging from previous races this season and previous years in the run for the Championship, it could be that he doesn’t even make it to the Final Four when all is said and done. His advantage right now is the points he has and that is his only saving grace for now. Otherwise, he would likely be fighting it out with the rest for just moving on to the round of eight.

Something about racing at Talladega, especially in the playoffs. The pressure really ramps up, depending on where a driver is in the standings and you really won’t know who the winner is until one of them actually crosses the finish line ahead of all the rest…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 3, 2020 – 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 Round Of Twelve Opens At Vegas from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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There are a lot of unanswered questions going into this weekend at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Some of them are: Will this be a Bush brothers weekend? Will Kyle Bush break his losing streak? Will Kevin Harvick dominate the field? Will one of the Hendrick teams finally break into the win column? Could the other Stewart/Haas teams steal the show? How will the Penske teams do? Can Denny Hamlin turn his run of “bad luck” around? Will someone totally unexpected win?

Well, those are just a few but, most of them might be answered in one way or another this weekend at Las Vegas. It could be that some have to wait until a later date and we may not know which way the playoffs will turn until we get to the round of eight. This weekend and the next two should prove to be very interesting.

Let’s take a look at the first one.

This is the Bush brothers home track. They want to perform well in front of the home crowd. Oops, wait a minute. There won’t be a crowd present in the stands. So, will that make a difference? Nah… I don’t think so. They’re gonna run the way they run and that’s that. One thing though. I don’t know how Kyle Bush is going to do and I do wonder if he will actually win a race this season.

I’ll skip over Kevin Harvick for now.

Let’s move over to whether or not one of the Hendrick teams will find their way to Victory Lane. Unfortunately, this is a harder question than it might look like at first take. There are four teams running and two of them are actually in the playoffs. For two, winning just means they add a win to their season total. That’s not a bad thing but it won’t make any difference when it comes to the playoffs. For the other two, a win would automatically move them into the next round and make life much easier over the following two races. Both Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman could take the win BUT, the way the Hendrick teams have been running, I’m not going to put down a lot of money on it. This fan just doesn’t think they’ve been running consistent enough, performance-wise, and they have been making costly mistakes. When it comes to them, well…

There are three other Stewart/Haas teams and it IS possible one of them could pull off a victory. The #4 team surely can’t be the only team of the group that can find Victory Lane although they haven’t shown up there in recent times. Of them, my first pick would be Clint Bowyer, but then he hasn’t shown all that much recently either. As for the other two, well, let’s just see if they can pull off the steal.

When it comes to the Penske teams, they are the wild cards this weekend from this fan’s view. Either Logano or Keselowski could win but they aren’t at the top of my list. Blaney is a long shot simply because his season has relatively fallen apart at the seams in my opinion so, when it comes to the Penske teams, I just don’t know…

There are those that say Denny Hamlin is due for a good week and could take the win this weekend. I am not one of those, however. I’m not saying he won’t make a run for it and I am not saying he will have another bad day. What I base my opinion on is what he said in a short interview a couple of weeks ago. When asked if he would end up in the final four, he answered, hopefully. From this fan’s view, that says he has lost some of his confidence from several weeks ago. After all, things haven’t been going all that well for him and his team lately and that does play with you mind, especially at this time in the season. Let’s just say he might, could possibly win and leave it at that for now. After all, he is still in it because of the points he acquired during the regular season.

When it comes to Kevin Harvick, the only thing I can say is that this season of 2020 has definitely been his year. He seems to do well without the practice and qualifying sessions and has definitely been the strongest performer in this latter part of the season. That is not to say he has dominated completely, but he has definitely been in position to take advantage of the many mistakes of others. If he continues as he has, it may not make much difference if he wins or not. He is a very good choice to win but, at this point, I’m not saying whether he will or won’t.

With all of that going on amongst the ones in the playoffs, adding an unexpected winner to the mix would just add a whole lot more intensity to the next two races in the playoffs. Even though Talladega is already what they call a “crap-shoot” that anyone in the field could win, I’m sure one of the top twelve would like to have a win at Vegas and not have to worry about Talladega or the Roval…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© September 26, 2020 – 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

Another Saturday Night Short Tracking At Bristol from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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There is always something different about racing on a Saturday night under the lights, especially at Bristol. If you’ve been listening to the promos for this Saturday night at Bristol, they’ve been spending most of their time trying to get you to know about the beating and banging that Bristol seems to draw out. Personally, I disagree with their premise because I’ve raced at short tracks on a Saturday night, I’ve watched racing on short tracks on a Saturday night and I’ve seen it on TV. The thing I’ve noticed about short track racing under the lights on a Saturday night is it is pretty much beating and banging on any short track, everywhere.

Now that I’ve said that I don’t want you to think that Bristol is like every other short track on a Saturday night because it isn’t. Bristol is a “beast” all its own and it won’t be the usual short track under the lights race. This one is an elimination race for the first round of the 2020 playoffs. That means there will likely be higher emotions and intensity for most, if not all, of the race.

As many expected, last weekend at Richmond proved to be good for some and really bad for others. Brad Keselowski pretty much had the field covered for most of the race. From this fan’s view, I didn’t really see anyone that could run with him or anyone that could catch or keep him behind them. His was a truly dominating performance and may give us a little view of the possibility for the final four. For right now though, the final four is a long way off and there are several that just want to make it to the round of twelve. A close look tells this fan that there are at least six or seven contenders but there only a few ways for them to move into the next round and eliminate those already on the inside.

There are three above the cutline and four below. Of the three above the line, there are only seven points keeping them above the four below. Yeah, I know what you’re gonna say, “aren’t you missing something, Rusty?” Well maybe but, the ones with the biggest task ahead of them are Ryan Blaney and Matt Dibenedetto. Barring the fact one of these two wins or something really unexpected happens to one or two someones above them or the cut line, well, I think they are pretty much out of it.

When it comes to William Byron and Cole Custer, from this fan’s view they are still in it. Byron is just three points below the cut and Custer is only eight. Either one or both of them just need to gain that many more points than the three above the cut and they will both make it to the next round. That is by no means a given but, it is very possible they could be in and two above could be out of the playoffs.

Some seem to think Joey Logano is going to make a big turn around and end up in the final four and possibly even win the 2020 Championship. In my opinion, I am not so sure that he will make it that far. Yeah, I know he’s surprised us in previous times and is more than capable of doing exactly that but, I’m just not sure this is his year to pull that kind of feat off. If he does – and that is a mighty big IF in this fan’s view – I’m more than willing to apologize after he does. The problem is, I just don’t think he will and I can think of no one I would rather not see be the 2020 NASCAR Cup Champ than him. It’s nothing personal. I would just rather see several others do it other than him.

At this point, I’m not even sure Denny Hamlin will make the final cut. the only think keeping him in contention for the moment is because he acquired a lot of points during the regular season. That’s not to say he isn’t capable or that he won’t take it all the way. I just know he has been his own worst enemy when it comes to the playoffs and the final four. I am concerned this might be a repeat of previous years even though he has shown a lot of confidence and ability this season. I reckon this is one of those situations that, “time will tell.”

There are a couple of Hendrick teams that could make it all the way to the final four though I doubt all three HMS teams will make it. A lot would have to happen for that to take place and I just don’t think their performance this season has been good enough to put all of them in the final four. Personally, I think a lot would have to go wrong for the other teams during the playoffs for that to happen.

There’s a lot of talk that Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick will make up part of the final four. From this fan’s view, I don’t have a problem with Kevin Harvick being there but, I’m not so sure about Truex Jr. They have been running good but they have also struggled at times and that makes me think maybe they will or maybe they won’t. It is up to them and that thing called “Racing Luck… ”

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© September 19, 2020 – 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 Playoffs Begin At Darlington from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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Remember… this is the year 2020. What begins this weekend at Darlington many thought would never happen this year. After all, everyone had to take a break for the shut down and NASCAR was not exempt from that either. Some will point to the fact that NASCAR was the first to resume their racing schedule (even though it was altered from the norm) and managed to bring their racing schedule up to date as of this weekend. Of course I, and many others, have our own opinion of some of the decisions made by NASCAR during the process, they still managed to get all twenty six races in before this weekend. So… no matter what your opinion, the playoffs start this weekend, right on schedule.

There have been many setbacks in this season and I’m sure we all realize some have departed the NASCAR scene for good. If you’re reading this, it is likely you’re not one of them as well as I. I admit I am taking this opportunity to get some things off my chest and make my view clear. I didn’t agree with several things NASCAR did over the last several months but I made the decision to continue with my articles and blogcast even though I had very strong thoughts and concerns about several things. I don’t blame people for the decisions they’ve made or expressing themselves in the ways they have but, I made my decision and that’s why I’m still here. (Support me if you will, hate me if you must. I definitely won’t hold it against you. I appreciate you being here whatever the case.) I offer my view as what it is, my opinion, and I will not be intimidated in either direction for expressing it.

Now, if you’ve been listening to those talking about the playoffs over the last week, you’ve probably noticed they’ve already decided the outcome and which ones will be in the final four at Phoenix. From this fan’s view, according to them, the whole playoff picture revolves around only two competitors and those would be, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin. Well… at least to many of those “analysts” I mentioned in bulk earlier. Actually, I prefer to call them “the talkers” rather than “analysts” simply because they do a lot of talking (just like politicians) and we’re supposed to take their opinions as gospel whether they’re right or wrong. Much like the afore mentioned politicians, they hope we’ll forget what they said if they are wrong or if someone other than the ones they’ve already crowned don’t win. (Oh well, I guess my opinion doesn’t really matter that much either, but I’ve given it anyway.)

Okay, I think I’m ready to get off that tangent and get back on the track…

Probably one of the biggest reasons I’ve chosen to talk about the things I have today is because, there really isn’t that much to talk about for the race this weekend. Other than this being the first race of three and the third being an elimination race for which drivers and teams will make it to the round of twelve, there’s not much difference in this race than any other race on a typical weekend in NASCAR. Yeah, I know if you listen to “the talkers,” there’s a lot riding on this first race of the playoffs; BUT from this fan’s view, it’s just another race until the results are in. The winner, if in the top sixteen, automatically moves on to the next round whether they are listed as number one or number sixteen when the race starts. If someone outside the top sixteen wins, well, that just means the drama becomes a little more intense and makes the next two races more important for those wanting to move on to the round of twelve.

One thing “the talkers” have brought out and seem to agree on is the fact that Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin have won half the races of the twenty-six in the regular season. For some reason it seems that means their performance will continue all the way to the end at the Championship race at Phoenix and that is where I might disagree. One thing I’ve learned about racing, whether in observing or participating is, there are times racing luck turns against someone and it can last for more than one race. Now, I’m not saying that’s going to happen. I’m just saying it has happened and could happen again to those that are the favorites. Look, parts break, engines blow and accidents happen. It can happen to anyone, no matter whether they are the favorites to win it all or the ones expected to lose. It can also happen multiple times in a row. Once again, I am not saying it will… I’m just saying it could.

I guess one thing should be included before I sign off for this week. One of the most prevalent discussions “the talkers” have brought into the conversation but it wasn’t unexpected by this fan. They’ve been asking all week which of the sixteen might have the advantage in the playoffs. Of course, their discussions usually ask whether it will be the older more experienced drivers or the newer, young guns. Yes, they do have a point in saying Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick have the advantage, if for no other reason than they have the most wins this season and have shown up ready to perform well almost right off the truck and able to adjust to the track conditions relatively quickly. They also mention Martin Truex Jr. as the likely third strong contender along with Kyle Bush finally winning a race this season and moving into the final four.

Well… I honestly have no idea if it will be the old, experienced drivers and teams or the young ones looking to make their mark in the future of NASCAR. What I do know is the younger drivers may not have the experience but they do have the desire. That alone could be the deciding factor when all is said and done; or… maybe not…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© September 5, 2020 – 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

Facing Double Monsters At Dover from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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Double the Monsters and Double the Fun? Well… there may be some that look at it that way but, there’s several that aren’t thinking it’s going to be double fun. For those on or at the bubble, they aren’t thinking about anything but winning or, at the very minimum, scoring a lot of points to help their situation. To add to the pressure, their biggest fear is “what if” someone outside the top 18 or 19 wins and kills their position in the top sixteen or their hopes of getting there. After all, this is a double race weekend at the same track.

This double weekend could be double trouble for those in the fourteenth to nineteenth positions in the standings. Imagine if someone totally unexpected wins one of the two races and moves into the playoff mix. Then imagine if two unexpected winners come away from the weekend in the playoffs and leaving at least two outside looking at what could have been. With the way things have been lately, that scenario isn’t likely, but then again, stranger things have been known to happen, especially in NASCAR and especially in this year of 2020.

Along with those possibilities, think if one or some of those have not one but two really bad finishes. That could totally change the playoff picture, too. Clint Bowyer seems to be relatively safe with his points situation. All he needs to stay in the top sixteen is to finish at least in the top fifteen and hope that all of the others do worse than him. Matt DiBenedetto is right on the edge and needs to finish well and possibly get some points to help his situation out. As it stands at the moment, he is relatively safe. Well… at least that’s this fan’s opinion.

When it comes to William Byron, he needs to finish both races in the top ten or fifteen at least. Now that may not help him, but it may keep him in the top sixteen. He absolutely can’t stand to have a bad race. In fact, he can’t stand to have a bad race either day or both days. (Now, if that’s not an understatement from this fan, then I don’t know what would be.) Well… I guess if he does have a bad race or two and drops out of the top sixteen, he could always win at the Daytona Super Speedway next week…

As a Jimmie Johnson fan and wanting to see him win and be in the playoffs, I have concerns for him and his 48 team being able to deliver good enough finishes or even a victory this weekend. dover is a place he has done well at in years past. Even though he is had some good performances over the last several weeks, his finishes haven’t always been there at the end of the races. It is a shame to see the seven-time Cup champion struggling so but it does seem that the struggle is there. I don’t think it’s his driving ability. I just think the Hendrick teams are struggling for speed right now with the exception of Chase Elliott and even he has shown inconsistent speed week in and week out.

Personally, in this fan’s opinion, Jimmie needs to win. There’s just no two ways about it. Oh, I know he can point his way in but that is a very precarious way too look at trying to be in position to win an eighth championship. I’m not so sure they at Hendrick Motor Sports have the performance necessary for him to do something spectacular at the end of this season. If you’re wondering what that spectacular thing would be, that would be winning his eighth championship which would really be quite an accomplishment considering how they’ve been running this year and over the last couple of years.

It is this fans opinion that it is a shame that Jimmie Johnson had to end his career in the year of the pandemic. In so many ways, it seems so unfair and yet they just haven’t shown the performance necessary or put themselves in a position to do better than they have. Some of the failures have been and should be placed squarely on the shoulders of the driver. He is made mistakes but, there just hasn’t been the performance from the HMS teams that was expected either. To be blunt, they have all struggled at HMS at some point in this weird season of 2020.

No matter how you look at it, Dover is a tough track and it is a fast track. It’s not fast just in speed, either. Things happen fast at Dover and anything can happen to those that need good finishes and they can come away with a total disaster. It may not be their fault and they can get caught up in somebody else’s mistakes but the results will be the same. Dover is a monster and the monster can steel everything from you. So, will any of those that need to, be able to conquer the monster this weekend? Well, I believe that remains to be seen…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© August 22, 2020 – 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

Taking On The Road Course At Daytona from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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Well, it’s pretty much another weekend of firsts for the NASCAR Cup teams. A quick look back at history tells us that this is not actually the first time the Cup teams have raced on the road course but for all intents and purposes, it is. One thing that won’t be a first this weekend is that there won’t be any practice or qualifying. Of course, we know that many of the drivers will be or have been spending time in there iRacing rigs or the simulators and it remains to be seen how that information transfers to actually racing on the road course.

For some of the drivers this won’t be their first time on the road course at Daytona. Some of them have driven it in other series so it remains to be seen whether that will give them an advantage or not. Personally, I don’t think it’ll take them all that long to catch on to what it takes to make good time around the track but I could be wrong and it could be that this is a race filled with wrecks and other incidents. In listening to them talk about the track, it appears there are some tricky places along the way. Now that maybe true and the only thing that will do, at least from this fan’s view, is make it a much more interesting race that it might already be.

Possibly, one of the more interesting things for this race, is that they will likely run the race even if it is raining. Now we all know that there won’t be any laps run if there is lightning in the area and they do have those guidelines to follow. But it’s still possible that they could be running in the rain at some time or other during the race.

Even though there are some favorites for winning this one, this is also a case that the Victor might be someone completely unexpected. There’s no reason to go into a long conversation or dialogue or monologue as to who those might be, but rest assured the possibility is there.

The most talked about people to win this one are starting on the front row. Of course, that would be Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin. I’m not so sure did one of them will win, but I do have to admit that the possibility is very strong.

From this fans view, there are several other names that have a very good chance and their names must also rise to the top of the list. Martin Truex Jr, Chase Elliott, Joey Logano and a host of others that do show themselves to be quite capable of running well on a road course. In fact, Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr are two that would be likely choices by many. Chase Elliott is showing himself to be very capable on road courses and his one more than one in the last couple of years. Martin Truex Jr has also displayed his ability to win on road courses so, at least from this fans view, it’s a hard choice between those two.

Of course, as a Jimmie Johnson fan, I’m one of those that would like to see him win for several reasons. One of the most important reasons would be that it would at least lock him into the first part of the playoffs. Now, it’s not that he’s shown that much strength in performance recently but he is quite capable of winning on a road course. For me, I guess he’s a sentimental favorite and I would just like to see him win a race, break his losing streak and also open up an opportunity to win another Championship. I’m sure there are those that say, “There ain’t no way he’s gonna win the Championship!” and, I have to admit, they are probably right. But still, it’s nice to dream and think about the things that could be.

Since I’m thinking about the road course at Daytona and the first turn on the first lap, I can only say one thing. This might be another one of those very interesting first laps like the Roval last year. Now I’m not saying anything is gonna happen out of the ordinary but it is quite possible that the unexpected could happen. I suppose it’s even possible that some of the front runners and expected winners could either take themselves out or be taken out by someone else on this challenging road course. Perhaps my takeaway for all of this is that just the list of unknowns is going to make this race worth watching, especially at the beginning. No, I’m not saying that it’ll hold my attention the whole time through, but…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© August 16, 2020 – 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

Michigan Double Header from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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With one of the two Cup races in the books for this weekend at Michigan, one has to wonder if it’s just gonna be between the Fords and the Toyotas when it comes down to it. Kevin Harvick, is looking very strong and could possibly win a second one this weekend adding to his total wins on the 2020 season. He totally dominated yesterday’s race.

Denny Hamlin, in a JGR Toyota is the only Toyota that showed much ability to keep up with the Fords yesterday and this fan can’t help but wonder if it will be the same today. Yes, there were some others that showed some strength here and there but, basically it was Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin. Now, that’s two Fords and one Toyota in case you’re wondering.

There appears to be something going on with Stewart-Haas Racing, especially Kevin Harvick’s #4 SHR Ford, and they show up every week lately ready to race for the win off the truck. Now that doesn’t mean that they win every week, but it does mean that they unload off the truck with a lot of performance.

2020 has been a disastrous year for many of us including those in varying sports as well as NASCAR. Some of the things that are going on could have been avoided if they hadn’t tried so hard to join in on certain things that they should have never joined in on. You see, the iRacing that they covered earlier in the year is good for some but I don’t think it was good for the total sport of NASCAR. Yes, I admit it’s interesting and impressive how their graphics and everything works and looks but it’s still just a video game to me. I know there are others that feel the same way I do about it, but in all honesty, I can only speak for myself. You see it’s not my intention to make any enemies here simply because I’m a little older and really don’t do much gaming. I think it’s fine that other people do, is just not for me. (Perhaps I would feel differently if I could afford to buy into the iRacing thing. Understand, if I had the money I’d even still be trying to race somewhere.)

Speaking of a disastrous 2020, Hendrick motor sports is probably suffering through another one of the biggest continuing letdowns they’ve faced over the last three years. The only one that’s really performing from HMS is Chase Elliott’s #9 team with crew chief, Alan Gustafson. I Will give some honorable mention to Alex Bowman, and William Byron but overall as a team, they’re struggling. Maybe I should say, still struggling.

When the year 2020 started at Daytona, Hendrick Motorsports and the Chevys in general looked like they had figured a few things out. They had a slight redesign of the car and looked pretty strong at the very beginning of the year. Of course, then came the pandemic and the time off and then there was the performance drop-off. The performance drop-off appeared to be almost immediate after the break for the shutdown during the pandemic. Since that time, at least from this fan view, they’ve been relatively struggling to find speed and it’s not just at HMS. All the Chevys appear to be struggling to find speed.

With this being Jimmie Johnson’s final season, unless he decides to go one more year, it has to be a great disappointment to him to not only be having such a bad season But not being able to celebrate the final season In NASCAR with his fans. Of course we know Jimmie Johnson won’t just disappear from the face of the earth, and we really don’t know for sure what is next move will be. Yes, for the year 2020 and him possibly getting into the playoffs, things look pretty bleak. I’m not giving up on him yet but it does look like he’s got some real hurdles to get over to get into the top 16 or even get back to a performance level that would make him a threat to win his eighth Championship before he leaves.

Of course, I could go into a long dissertation of how sad it is that a Champion of his stature is having such a bad year in his final year but there’s no reason for that now. He’s already recognized as one of the best to ever compete in NASCAR and he’s won a lot of championships at a time when they are hard to come by. It’s just sad to see how bad the last few years have been for him.

So, as we watch the race at Michigan today, it will be interesting to see if the Chevys learned anything yesterday that will make them more competitive against the Fords and, in particular, Kevin Harvick. I don’t mind being critical when it’s necessary but I think we are all just trying to get through the year 2020 and criticism comes easy this year. I think it’s great that Kevin Harvick is having such a good year and that Denny Hamlin is also and may have the opportunity to win his first Cup Championship. But until the season is over and things get back to some semblance of normalcy, I’m just wondering… well… nevermind…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© August 9, 2020 – 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

Cup Teams Take It To Texas from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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I’m sure you’ve heard the old quote, “the more things change the more they stay the same” but, things will be different as the Cup Teams take it to the Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. Well, at least for the Cup teams it will be different than it might have been. There WILL be fans in the stands.

Even with all that’s going on, they do expect to have fans in the stands but they do expect the number of fans to be smaller than normal and even fewer than they could have according to the state and health official guidelines. The reasons offered for the number of fans possibly being smaller than the number allowed is, because of the recent surge in Texas of the Corona virus and the heat that’s taken over that part of the country at this time. To offer just a slight clarification from this fans view, there won’t be fans in the stands for the Xfinity or Truck Series on Saturday; just the Cup teams on Sunday. (Well, at least that’s the way I understand it so far.)

Since this has been a year of change and challenge for NASCAR, in particular because of the virus pandemic, one can’t help but speculate and wonder that next year might be a different year of change also. Since they have been doing more racing in a shorter period of time, this fan wonders if they might possibly shorten the season in the future. By putting the races closer together they could cut the season by one third to one half in my opinion. If they continue to eliminate practice and qualifying all together, which would be a continuation of what they’re doing right now, it may make for the same type racing we are witnessing at the present time.

Of course, this is all speculation on the part of this fan and from this fan’s view but, I think it is a very real possibility for the future of NASCAR. Something that many have talked about, especially over the last few years, is shortening the season. By doing it the way they’ve had to do it this year, they might be able to institute it in the not-so-distant future. Of course I realize that this would make it extremely difficult on the teams in transportation and prepping for the different tracks but, they’ve managed to pull it off this year so who’s to say they couldn’t do it in the future with some minor changes.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not calling for a total revamping of the NASCAR season. I’m just wondering if they might not find, or take, this opportunity to make a change, at least temporarily, to see how it affects fan attendance and television time. It could be a real challenge or, it could be that it works and makes it even more popular than it has been.

Of course, one of the real draws for attendance at the racetracks is to be able to mingle with the drivers and team members before and after the race. Another is the ability to spend more time in a venue which affects the economies built around the NASCAR schedule. That means there would need to be fans in the stands. I do realize this would make it harder on the teams and their logistics and on the tracks, especially if they continue with the midweek racing. But after all, they used to race a lot of races in a year and not just on the weekends.

Now that was just a little jaunt into the things I’ve been thinking about over the last several weeks. Another thing I would like to talk about and just make short mention of Bristol. The All Star race was a good one and there were a couple of things about it that people are still talking about. One is the choose cone and the other is the glow lights. I’m gonna give you my personal opinion as well as this fan’s view opinion. I like the idea of the choose cone because it will stop things from happening at the exit of the pits just so people can either make it into the inside line or outside line. As far as the glow lights go … well… I can take them or leave them. I mean really… Do they really make any difference other than during night racing allowing the fans to tell where their favorite make is by the color. I mean really, who cares. Mostly fans are interested in the drivers and numbers.

Well, let’s move on to Texas.

As a fan, I don’t have a whole lot to say about the race this weekend before it happens. There will probably be a lot more to talk about after it’s over. Probably the best thing about the race in Texas is going to be the fact that there are fans in the stands and, as was obvious last Wednesday at Bristol, the fans do make a difference. There seems to be more energy before the race starts and while we wait for the engines to be started. It also seems like there is much more energy and excitement for the winner when he can do his burnout, get his flag, and salute the crowd. That was pretty obvious as far as the change over the last several races with no fans. (It was much different than the iRacing in the fake cheers and the fake recognition of the crowd as they celebrated their win. Now, remember this was just this fans view.)

I suppose it is possible that the Chevys could make a good showing this weekend considering how Chase Elliott performed at Bristol. I don’t think they were all that strong at Bristol as far as a group goes but Chase really showed they’ve still got Bristol pretty much figured out.

The Fords looked awfully strong in Bristol also and Kyle Busch as well in a Toyota and he hasn’t won his first race yet this year. I’m not gonna make a choice as to who I think will win because I think that that’s going to be a difficult thing to do anyway, especially considering they will have no practice and no qualifying. The advantage may go to the Fords in one way because, at the time of this writing, Aric Almirola will be starting on the pole. At this point I would have to say that the Stewart Haas Fords look very strong just about any place they show up to race recently so I won’t discount the possibility of one of them winning this one.

I know this may sound a bit biased but, I really would like to see someone win this weekend that many people have pretty much written off and it’s true he has had his struggles this season. It just so happens it’s supposed to be his last season in full time NASCAR and his name is Jimmie Johnson. I really would like to see him lock himself into the playoffs , make it through them all the way to the championship race and maybe even win his eighth championship as he departs being full time in the sport. Will it happen? I don’t know but, I really would like to see it and I don’t think I’m alone in that…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© July 18, 2020 – 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

Next Up – Kentucky from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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Well, there is at least one good thing about NASCAR racing at Kentucky this weekend and that would be Jimmie Johnson’s to return to competition. When it was discovered he had tested positive for the covid virus, many were wondering if he would or when he would be coming back to race and still have a shot making the playoffs. Personally, I think he would rather win a race or two before worrying about whether or not he’s going to make the playoffs. I think there are a lot of his fans that feel the same way. That being said, this fan is happy he tested negative to the virus so quickly two times in a row.24 hrs apart. I wonder what that says?

Taking a quick look at the starting lineup, Kyle Busch is starting on the pole. In some ways I can’t help but think that would be a relief to him. Lately, he’s been struggling to do much of anything positive even though the results that he has attained haven’t been that bad. There are two ways for looking at him starting on the pole and the front row. One is he could run away and dominate the race since he will be in clean air as long as he’s out front. Another is that he can’t blame it on having to start at the rear. No, I’m not saying that Kyle Busch makes excuses for any of his performances but, I am saying he has struggled recently and I’m sure he would like to have a really good performance, possibly even a win.

Another thing I see when I look at the starting lineup is how many Fords seem to be starting at, or near, the front. That could mean trouble for the seemingly struggling Chevys that, just a few weeks ago, looked so strong. From this fans view, The Ford driven by Kevin Harvick is hard not to rate for finishing near the front, possibly marking up another win. I’m not gonna give him the race yet, but his performance recently has been very impressive. Along with him are his other teammates on the Stewart-Haas race team. I’m not saying that they are dominating, I’m just saying that they look pretty strong and show up every week very competitive off the truck. To give credit where credit is due, I would say that the prep crew and the crew along with the crew chief are able to adapt very quickly to the tracks that they frequent recently. To me, that says a lot about how prepared they are and the possibility of Kevin Harvick, in particular, being the one to watch to win the championship this year.

Although Denny Hamlin is looking very strong this year, I’m not sure that he’s gonna be the one to take on Kevin Harvick. Of course it is possible that he could surprise me and take it all the way to the end and be in the final four and it be a race to the checkered flag for him and Kevin Harvick at the end of the year. That’s another scenario I’m not saying will happen, but I am saying it could happen.

If you would have asked this fan several weeks ago what his opinion of the Chevys was, he would have told you then it looked like they had turned things around and it was going to be a wild ride to the end of the season. Unfortunately, it appears the Chevys have stumbled and not just the Hendrick Chevys. All of the Chevys just don’t seem to be running all that well. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I think the Chevys will underperform this weekend. In fact, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see one of the Hendrick Chevys win at Kentucky or possibly even a Chevy from the Richard Childress camp. Of the Hendrick Motorsports teams, any one of the four could take home the win. Chase Elliott has been the fastest on a regular basis but then again, William Byron and Alex Bowman have had their shining moments also. Maybe that will surprise some of you that I say that but, there has to come a point where the Chevys put it all together again.

Personally, I would really like to see and Jimmie Johnson win on his first trip back from a weekend off and take a trip to Victory Lane for the first time in a long time. Will it happen? Well, probably not… well that is unless his luck takes a turn around…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© July 11, 2020 – 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

NASCAR Cup At Indy In 2020 from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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Well… As you can tell, I’m back for at least one more NASCAR Cup race and this one is at Indy. I’m not sure if it will be the same without the fans in the stands but I am sure it will be the same NASCAR that competed last weekend at Pocono. Well… there is one exception. Jimmie Johnson won’t be there for what was supposed to be his final Indy 400 at the famous track at Indianapolis. Covid and the NASCAR process for those that test positive for this disease has seen to that.

For the kind of year it has been for NASCAR and Jimmie Johnson, you can’t help but feel a little bit of his pain. This was supposed to be his year of farewell to the sport he has had such an impact on and it has been one setback after another. After all, Jimmie is a seven-time NASCAR Cup champion and definitely bound for the NASCAR Hall of Fame at some time in the future. As a fan of NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports and Jimmie Johnson, I would have really liked to have seen him win that eighth Cup Championship. Not because I didn’t or don’t like the other two that have seven but because I would just liked to have seen it. Of course, the season isn’t over yet and there is still a long-shot possibility he could pull it off but, I just don’t think it is in the cards for him.

It is unfortunate that he hasn’t had stellar years over the last few but he has still left a fine legacy in the sport. As many have stated over time, he is probably the one of the most underrated drivers in the sport. He has accomplished a lot in his time in NASCAR and his record tells part of the story. The rest is told by the way he has represented himself and the sport on and off the track.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway is well known for more than just NASCAR. The Xfinity cars ran the road course on Saturday after the Indy cars that same day and I imagine that may open the door for the Cup cars to run that course someday in the future. I guess it would be similar to the Roval at Charlotte. Whatever the case, that’s not what will be happening Sunday afternoon. Sunday afternoon Will be a normal NASCAR race at the historic Speedway except there will be no fans no practice and no qualifying. That in itself could make it a very interesting afternoon or a very boring one.

To be honest, I have absolutely no idea have which drivers, teams and makes will win this one. I really think it will come down to strategy plays and track position. From this fans view, I am sure the Fords Will show the strength they have recently and of course, Joey Logano will be starting on the pole or, at least was supposed to when I started writing this, So I’m sure he will be a player unless something goes wrong. His teammate, Brad Keselowski, usually makes a good showing at Indy however I’m not gonna put all my stock in the Penske teams, including Ryan Blaney.

The Stewart Haas teams always seem to show up ready to race at Indy and they could be the contenders this weekend for taking the checkered flag. I’m not saying they’re the only ones that might win; I’m just saying they’re are the ones to watch, (well, at least as far as the Fords go.)

Just taking a quick look back at Pocono, Chevy fans may not have much too celebrate at the end of the day. They just didn’t run that well at Pocono. I think this will be a good test for the Hendrick Chevy’s. Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman and William Byron could finish at or very near the front; but not unless they and their teams figured out what they did wrong at Pocono. Yeah, I know the Chase Elliott finished very well last weekend but I have seen Him and his team struggle in the past and sometimes the struggle becomes quite hurtful in loss of points and positions. Fortunately, for him he already has a win and that kind of guarantees him being in the playoffs.

I’m really questioning what kind of racing we will see this weekend. Indy is a fantastic track but it wasn’t made for stock cars even though they do very well there. So I guess I’ll just have to wait and see the end result.

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© July 5, 2020 – 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