A Historic NASCAR Weekend At Pocono from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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Hi everyone. I decided to do something a little different this week and talk about Pocono after the fact. After all, with all of the rain delays and lightning delays and no people in the stands, it was a relatively long weekend at Pocono and not just for the Cup teams. It really was a historic week for NASCAR at Pocono with all of the racing that took place over two days but what’s even more interesting to this fan is how difficult it seems for the drivers to adapt to no fans in the stands.

I have to admit that the racing, at least to this fan, wasn’t really all that interesting. Of course, Pocono is not one of my favorite races to watch nor is it one of my favorite races to talk about. You see I have a long running disagreement with the way they talk about Pocono anyway. Pocono is the only race track that they talk about differently when they come to the turns. They say there are only three. I say there are six. Why do you suppose that is? I assure you, I don’t really know their thinking other than they want to make themselves seem different than every other race track except maybe one.

I do admit that it is a different race track as far as the way that it’s designed. What I find interesting is that, at any other track, when you enter a turn and when you exit a turn, both are numbered as turns. But not so at Pocono! At Pocono, a turn entry and a turn exit is counted as one turn. If you look at a normal oval instead of a triangle you will find they count the turns as they enter, turn one and as they exit, turn two.

I guess if I think it through completely, Pocono is numbered similarly to the Indianapolis Speedway or maybe a Road Course. I guess it could have to do with the straight sections instead of the continuing curve at those two locations. You see, if it were me, I would count the turns the way they count the turns just about everywhere else that you have a continuing curve. At Pocono, there would be six turns. At Indianapolis, there would be eight turns so, as you can see I’m confused when it comes to the way they count turns at these race tracks.

Now, I suppose you’re wondering why I’m taking so much time to talk about the way they number the turns at Pocono and so little time talking about the races. Well I do have a good reason for that and I will share part of it with you. You see, I don’t have a lot of filler information or interest in getting into the inflammatory situations at hand. These are things that have to be handled individually and I don’t like all of the rhetoric that goes along with such volatile things. People can say a lot of things and vent a lot of frustrations but in doing so it seems that very little gets accomplished. I don’t want to get into that.

Watching NASCAR these days has become a lot like what the drivers go through when they climb from their cars after they’ve taken the winning checkered flag. I think I began to lose interest this year when they began to consider iRacing to be simply the same as the real cars being on the real tracks. I do admit, that the iRacing developing team has done a great job of building their program, their graphics and all of the things that they present to make it seem so realistic. To me, it is a great presentation for those that can afford or want to get involved in iRacing itself but it was no replacement in any way for the real racing in NASCAR that was preempted because of the pandemic.

Am I criticizing the iRacers? No, I just don’t think that much of Fox Sports for trying to make it something that it wasn’t. In fact, I think they should have just decided to leave the iRacing as it was and is. It was, and is, a game made for gamers and drivers to hone their skills. It has nothing to do with real, on the track NASCAR racing in any of the series.

Not that it doesn’t require skill which was proven when the NASCAR regulars joined in and had never done it before. It showed how long it takes to develop the skill. I didn’t even have a problem when they had NASCAR drivers join the regular iRacers. I did, however, have a problem when it became sort of a requirement for all, or at least most, of the regular NASCAR drivers to become iRacers. In reality, and from this fan’s opinion and viewpoint, I think they probably did it just because of the loss of revenue because of the loss of the real NASCAR racing. By bringing in the regular NASCAR drivers in larger numbers, they knew more people would watch something that they wouldn’t normally watch. To me that was a cheap shot at NASCAR fans. (Like I said, at least that’s MY opinion.)

We do live in difficult times for now and it is unfortunate that NASCAR and some of the fans of NASCAR have had knee jerk reactions to some of the decisions and things that have happened recently. I don’t criticize anyone, but all of this chaos in so many different areas and ways has caused me to lose interest in the sport that I’ve been a part of for many, many years. I also think that this is a natural progression for me and others. Losing interest has been difficult and maybe even a little hard to admit. I’m not saying I won’t continue watching and even writing about NASCAR but, I am saying it is more difficult to watch a race completely through or even write about it. I find I record more races and speed search through the most boring parts more regularly than I once did or just wait and find out who won later.

I don’t know, maybe I just need a break…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© June 30, 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

Homestead Is Next from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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It’s a busy weekend at Homestead, FL and all of the NASCAR series are showing up to do a little racing. The Cup teams take on Homestead Sunday afternoon and we can only hope that the racing will be good. Unless you’ve been totally disconnected recently, you already know that there is a lot going on in NASCAR and not all of it is without controversy. I wish I could say that everyone agrees with NASCAR’s decisions and thinks that they do what they do for all the right reasons. Unfortunately, I really don’t think that’s the case. Without going into these matters at hand and getting involved in controversy after controversy or disagreement after disagreement, I’ll just try to talk about the Sunday afternoon race that’s coming up.

I will say this though. I’ve been a NASCAR fan for a long, long time. I’ve seen a lot of changes and a lot of fans and drivers come and go. There have been disagreements and controversies that have come along and there have been people that have joined NASCAR and left NASCAR over the years. No matter how you view it, these times are different times. Without being completely specific, I have to say that these are very trying times for all of us and for our country. Personally, I do hope cooler heads will prevail and we stop with all the knee-jerk reactions that often bring regrets later.

Now that I’ve said all that, what I have to say about the race will probably not be as long as most of my articles are. This one will be relatively short for several reasons. For one, I have limited time this weekend for personal reasons and I don’t have a whole lot to say about the Homestead race. I will say that the racing at Martinsville was both exciting and boring to me. It seems that every time I think that the Chevys are making headway, the Fords and the Toyotas make a strong showing.

Now, since I know you’re very familiar with my thinking on makes since I’ve made no attempt to hide my loyalty to Chevrolet, I have to admit that I still want to see the Chevys win more than they do. Maybe that’s not fair to Toyota fans or Ford fans but, it is fair for me since I’m a Chevy fan. So, Martin Truex Jr. winning at Martinsville is good for him, his team and Toyota but not so good for those of us Chevy fans. It’s OK though, we don’t hold it against you Ford and Toyota fans and there’s a good chance the Chevys could make a good, strong showing at Homestead, maybe even end up in Victory Lane. I also don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to think that a Hendrick driver might be the one in Victory Lane and it could be Jimmie Johnson.

It’s not really much of a surprise to this fan that the Fords or starting on the front row nor a surprise me if the Toyotas don’t make a strong showing at this track since they usually do. What I am wondering is whether or not they will get to race at the usual time or if it will be delayed because of rain. We have been having quite a bit of afternoon rain over the last several days down here in Florida. How ever it goes, one thing is sure. Someone will win and they will either be driving a Toyota, a Ford or a Chevy. Nobody will know until the checkered flag drops. After all, this is just my opinion and, with all that’s going on, there probably ain’t nobody listening anyway…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© June 13, 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

On To Atlanta With No Practice Or Qualifying from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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The NASCAR Cup teams are taking it to Atlanta this weekend and, once again, they’re doing it without practice or qualifying. As I said recently, it looks like NASCAR might be finding a way to change the way they do racing, at least in the near future. The reason I say that is because it doesn’t seem to affect the racing in any negative way without those things. Of course, we all know that this is a very different time but, I think it is plausible for NASCAR to continue doing what they’re doing without practice and qualifying and still continue to have good racing. I seriously doubt they’ll take any of my advice about that but for the present, it seems this is working out very well and, at least from this fans view, the racing seems to be a little better(?) And more intense. Well, I’m not so sure that everyone feels the way I do about it but it has been interesting.

Of course, we really need people in the stands so that when the drivers do something like win or make a good move or just get out and mix it up with somebody, the fans can give them their uproarious support either for or against. it’s pretty obvious to this fan that it does affect the drivers without having the fan reaction when they climb out of the car for whatever reason, especially after they’ve won. I would say it has taken a little bit of getting used to.

If I could reflect on the days when I used to race, I remember that it was really great to have that fan reaction after a hard-fought battle with someone for the win. I even remember having an accident like being put in the wall or rolling over are numerous times on the front straightaway in front of the stands and hearing their reaction. Somehow it makes it a little easier to take when you climb out of the car and everybody yells and cheers because they know you’re OK. (Trust me, I’ve been there both ways…)

Before I talk about this weekend’s race at Atlanta come I would like to make a short comment on what happened between Joey Logano and Chase Elliott near the end of the race last weekend at Bristol. I really didn’t see it the way that several did and I don’t know if it’s because I was able to watch the camera shots or because I just saw it differently. It seems that Joey Logano thought Chase Elliott got him loose by giving him a nudge after Denny Hamlin got into the loose stuff and gave the lead away to Joey Logano. From my view, it appears that Chase might have taken the air off of Logano’s spoiler and that’s what caused Joey to lose traction and slide up as Denny Hamlin had just before him.

Shortly after that the caution came out and as the cameras followed Elliot in Logano I think down the back street, Logano got into Elliott’s bumper and gave him a good long hard push, appearing to let him know that he wasn’t happy with him pushing him up and towards the wall. Since I don’t think that’s what happened it is possible that Chase had a little bit of a temper resurgence and that’s why he drove so hard into the turn after the restart even though it was pretty obvious he was trying to win the race and definitely over drove it.

What struck me is more than a little humorous, was how upset Joey Logano was that Chase had done that to him – driven into the turn so hard as to take them both out – as though he had never done that to someone else in the past. It appears that all he really wanted was an apology in for Chase to man up. Funny, it seems I recall times when Joey didn’t do that himself.

Oh well, enough of that…

The race this weekend in Atlanta should prove to be very interesting and there are several that could end up in Victory Lane. We talk about people that have won there numerous times or several times before, they’re the ones that are likely to win again. Well, at least that’s what we’re told. However, I think the Chevy just might win this one. I know there are several others that could win whether it be in a Toyota or Ford. I just think that this could be where Jimmy Johnson actually gets over his100 race losing streak. No I’m not saying that he will because chase Elliott has been running strong too along with teammate William Byron and Alex Bowman. Those four right there are probably the biggest reason that I suspect or at least am expecting a Chevy will end up in Victory Lane. Now, I could be wrong and that wouldn’t be anything new but don’t be surprised if it happens Just the way I say.

I do admit that Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch and Ryan Blaney all have a chance and there is also a good chance Martin Truex Jr. could pull off the victory. I can’t tell you how much I hope that Joey Logano doesn’t win, (it’s a personal thing with me), but unfortunately, he is a possible winner also. Of course. there’s always that guy named Brad Keselowski (and you already know how his luck has been running.)

The thing about this race in Atlanta is that the track is pretty well worn out, there are multiple grooves the drivers can run in, and strategy is going to play a very strategic part in this one. The fuel mileage is going to be much further than the tire mileage and that should make things interesting. Who knows, someone completely unexpected could win this one and it wouldn’t surprise any of us, would it?

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© June 6, 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 NASCAR Marathon Continues at Bristol from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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Well, it’s been a long haul but the Cup teams do get a break after this weekend until the following weekend. From this fans view, NASCAR has done a good job of getting all the races in, even with the inclement weather they’ve been fighting, and they’ve done a good job of keeping things moving. One has to wonder if the tracks could have done as good a job as they’ve done considering they had no fans in the stands to contend with, even though I really think they would have rather had fans in the stands. I guess that still remains to be seen and I’m happy to say I think they will be up to the task.

The race this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway should prove to be an interesting and fascinating race and it’s anyone’s guess who might take the win. Once again, they take to the track without practicing or qualifying and that should still make it interesting for the tough little track in Thunder Valley that is always a challenge But I loved challenge by almost every driver.

This could be a race that Brad Keselowski wins again. After all he does start on the pole and that could be a good thing for him. His teammate Joey Logano is also showing some strength recently but he has also faded at the end of races which is uncharacteristic for him. When it comes to all three of the Penske Fords, Ryan Blaney has probably been the one that has struggled the most, especially since they restarted the season after the layoff for the virus.

This fan can’t help but wonder if this weekend will be the weekend where the Toyotas begin to show something. I know they’ve been hit or miss since the restart of the season, but I also know that they are quite capable of pulling off victories. Kyle Busch has had good weeks and bad weeks and in his usual fashion, at least from this fans view, when things are going right, he’s happy and when things are going wrong, he’s not. Denny Hamlin is been on again off again, at least in my opinion, and this very well could be a race where he shines. Martin Truex Jr. has been struggling most of the season but I expect him to begin to show his strengths as the season progresses even though it may not be this weekend.

If you’re a Chevy fan, which I am, you’ve been pretty happy with the performance of the Chevys, especially since they started back racing after the layoff. In particular, the Hendrick Chevys have shown some real improvement, particularly over last year. Of the four Hendrick teams, Chase Elliott is showing the most strength even though he’s had a run of “bad luck.” Of course, he did pull off two wins last week, one in Cup and one in the Truck Series. He also picked up the bounty for beating Kyle Busch in the Truck Series. It’s not just my opinion, but there are many that have spoken highly of Chase’s performance, especially in recent weeks. He and his crew chief, Alan Gustafson, have shown up good off the truck almost every week and, in particular, unloading off the truck in recent weeks.

Alex Bowman and William Byron have also been very good off the trucks but, William Byron has had his share of bad luck also. In fact, I would go so far as to say that, had he not had that problem in the pits with, Corey Lajoie, he may have given Chase a run for his money along with Kevin Harvick at the end of the race on Thursday. I think, well at least in this fans view, the Hendrick Chevys have definitely turned things around over their performance in the last two years. As I admitted earlier, I’m a Chevy fan and always have been. Along with that I’m a Hendrick fan even though I also have favorite drivers in other makes and on other teams. Now all that remains for HMS is to get Jimmie Johnson into Victory Lane. Somehow, I think that’s going to happen pretty soon.

So, it appears that good racing doesn’t really depend on the stands being full and the marathon that NASCAR has been running over the last couple of weeks playing catch up has had some very good and intense racing. It is an adjustment, particularly for the drivers, to win a race and climb out of their cars with no applause or cheers from the stands. A lot of things are changing in our world today but, it appears that no matter how they have to run the races, the competition really doesn’t change. It’s been intense, it’s been good and the real thing is still much better and the virtual thing. Well…at least from this fans view…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© May 31, 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 Teams Take It To Fontana from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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The NASCAR Cup Series teams take on the mile-and-a-half Auto Club Speedway oval at Fontana this weekend. It is the second of three races in the swing out west for them and it is the second real test of the newly designed Chevy Camaros. Oh sure, they were tested last weekend at Las Vegas but this is a little bit different. Some are saying last weekend showed they have improved but this weekend will show if there is consistency in the improvements.

In keeping with the Chevy improvements theme, I’d like to take a look back at the last two races for just a moment or two. You may or may not agree with me but, considering which cars won the Daytona 500 and the Pennzoil 400, I’m not so sure the best car actually won those races. Oh, I know what you’ll say. It’s not the way you run, it’s the way you finish. Or maybe you’re one of those that’s says you have to put yourself in position to win and take the breaks as they come.

Believe me, this is not a cut against Ryan Newman or Ryan Blaney at Daytona. Either one of them could have won and instead Denny Hamlin did. Before circumstances turned against him, Chase Elliott may have won. (Well, at least that’s this fan’s opinion.) He was also the dominate car at Las Vegas, but once again, a little bad luck on a tire change near the end of the 400 took him out of contention for the win and instead Joey Logano won. both Hamlin and Logano pretty much get a free ride into the playoffs and neither one was the best car on those two days other than finishing first.

Now I know it’s asking for trouble when I talk about what coulda, shoulda or woulda happened in those past two races. I know that Daytona can be a crap shoot right down to the very last inch of a race and I do realize that Ryan Blaney and Ryan Newman had the same chance at winning as did Denny Hamlin. The same goes for Ryan Blaney and Alex Bowman at Las Vegas. If they hadn’t pitted on that last caution, maybe… just maybe, they would have beaten Joey Logano instead of watching him drive away. I can hear the armchair drivers out there saying, “that’s just racing!” but it still gets to me how “racing luck” plays such a big part these days.

Okay, enough of races in the past this year. I’m still interested in how the Chevys are going to do in this one at the Auto Club Speedway.

I guess it’s pretty obvious, I’m a Chevy fan. I have owned Chevys almost exclusively all my driving life, I used to race Chevys when I was racing. I do like them and I did like the way my Chevy racecars ran and, I have to admit, I liked winning with them. When it comes to NASCAR, I am still a Chevy fan and I guess I am biased toward Chevys and how they do, can and will perform in the NASCAR schedule when I watch or write about the races.

This weekend I was pleased to see Alex Bowman having the fastest laps in the two practice sessions and it gives me hope for the race on Sunday that a Chevy might make the trip to Victory Lane. Not just Alex Bowman but Kyle Larson, Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott, William Byron and yes, even Kurt Bush. After the last two years in particular, I long to see the Chevys show up and be the ones to beat every weekend. I know that might be lot to ask in these times but, I have to be honest, would like to see it again.

When it comes to the race this weekend, the Fords look to be strong and Chevys have speed. Looking at it from the sidelines, either of those makes could end up winning the Auto Club 400. I’m not so sure the Toyotas weren’t working on long run speeds. With the way the tires drop off in a run, long run speed is going to be important to all of the teams and I’m just not sure if the Toyotas have shown all they have yet this weekend. I guess we’ll find out when it’s over. After all, this is the NASCAR Cup Series and anybody could win this one and it could be a Ford, a Chevy OR a Toyota.

Okay, now for a little bit more honesty and admitted bias for the Auto Club 400 on Sunday afternoon. I would really like to see Jimmie Johnson win this one. After all, it is his last race at his hometown track in regular Cup racing. I know it may be a pipedream but I would really like to see him in the final four going for the Championship at the end of the year. Who knows, this may be his week to end his winless streak and make a move into the playoffs early if he does so. I’m not going come right out and say he will win this one but it sure wouldn’t bother me at all if he did…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© February 29, 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

Vegas Is Next For NASCAR Cup 2020 from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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The NASCAR Cup teams take it to the track at Vegas this weekend. Considering the wreck-fest we saw at Daytona last weekend, the Vegas track may seem a little tame. Oh, I’m not saying there won’t be any action. I’m just saying there won’t be as many wrecked racecars as there were when Speed Weeks was finished at Daytona. I’m sure that will be a welcome relief to the team owners since they were the ones that saw much of their monetary investment in their Super Speedway cars end up in the dumpster or in a junk yard. From this fan’s view, the race may pay well but it also costs a lot to try for the win and watch much of that investment end up as a crumpled mess.

Of course, one thing that wasn’t wasted when it comes to investments was the investment NASCAR has made over the last several years concerning driver safety. Ryan Newman’s accident coming to the checkered flag could have turned out much different IF there hadn’t been the continuing investment in making the racecars safer for the drivers.

As a former local stock car owner/driver, I can say Ryan didn’t exactly walk away, but we are all happy and thankful he did walk out of the hospital a couple of days later with no visible signs of the horrific accident he was involved in. I will say this though… I’ll bet he was hurting from hitting the safer barrier along with the wild ride and being hit by Corey Lajoie. I’ve never had an accident while going near two hundred miles an hour but I have had a couple of accidents racing at our local short tracks and, from one in particular, I hurt for at least a week… and that was at less than a hundred miles per hour…

Oh well, enough about Daytona (and me…) What about Vegas??

I have to say, my takeaway from the first two practices at Vegas was a little mixed. The Fords in usual fashion for Vegas looked fast in the first practice and, surprising to this fan, the Chevys looked to be making headway, speed wise, in the final practice on Friday. I’m undecided about the Toyotas if for no other reason than I’m not sure they were showing all they had. It is possible they were and that all three makes are fairly evenly matched for this weekend but, I’m not so sure they weren’t leaving something on the table. In Vegas terms, I guess you could say they weren’t showing all their cards yet.

Since I am writing this before qualifying, I’m not considering how the different teams might perform in their qualifying laps. When it comes to this weekend, I really think the final practice session told much of what needs to be known for the race Sunday afternoon. Sure, I admit pit stall locations are important but, in my opinion, the lap speed consistency over a long run is more important. It is likely there could be long green flag runs in this one and consistent lap times will rule the day, especially if it leads to running up front.

When it came down to it, the Chevys and the Fords looked pretty good as far as consistent lap times. In fact, that is what all of the teams seemed to be working on. That in itself could make this a very interesting race could mean the racing will be tight, two and three wide or more much of the time. If there are restarts, it should prove to be very interesting.

Once again, the Stewart/Haas Fords looked to be the ones to watch and all of the SHR teams looked strong, at least from this fan’s view. Clint Bowyer showed a lot of speed early along with his teammates Aric Almirola and Kevin Harvick. I’m not ignoring the rookie in their group but I think more time is required to see how he will do.

Kurt Bush looked very strong, especially in the final practice and, barring something really unexpected, I can’t rule out the possibility of him being in the hunt in the final laps at his hometown. Kyle Larson could also be right up there at the end, too and it wouldn’t be that big of a surprise to this fan.

So… let’s see. The Fords look fast, the Toyotas look fast and the Chevys look fast. Whatever could that mean when it comes down to the final laps? Could it mean someone unexpected could win or will it be one of the past winners? I’m really not too sure and I’m not sure if it will be a Chase Elliott, a Jimmie Johnson, a Kevin Harvick or a Clint Bowyer. How about Kyle Bush, Martin Truex Jr, Kurt Bush, Brad K, Denny Hamlin or Joey Logano.

From this fan’s view, if ever there was a hard race to choose a favorite for winning, this could be one. I’m thinking the Chevys are going to make a good showing but I’m not sure at all who might win. All I know is it is going to worth watching to find out…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© February 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

The 2020 NASCAR Bush Clash from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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Well… it’s that time again. Time for NASCAR to take it to the track at Daytona. For many, it has been a long wait and for others… well… let’s just say time flies… As for me, the time has flown by and I just can’t believe it’s time for another NASCAR season to begin. Not that I’m not looking forward to it… I just can’t believe it’s time to go for 38 weeks of racing again already.

There are a lot of things I hear people repeat over and over again and I guess I’ll join the crowd and say a few of them. First is the obvious statements of the year we are entering dealing with 2020. Some have said it is a year of clearer vision (of course relating to 20/20 vision.) Then there is the fact we are entering into a new decade. Some say it is a time of new beginnings or possibly even a new start for some and the end of an era for others.

One thing is certain. The 2020 season is starting off with a lot of changes. The Chevys are starting off with a new Camaro. (Well… at least, re-designed at the front and rear.) The Penske teams have swapped drivers and crew chiefs around and it remains to be seen how well that works for them. The SHR teams have welcomed a new driver and let Daniel Suarez go. Jimmie Johnson is making this season his last full-time season racing full time in NASCAR Cup.

Even the cars have a new rules package, different than last year’s at Daytona. That should make life interesting for some, or all, of the drivers competing in the Clash and yes, even in the 500 next weekend. No matter how you look at it, that is a lot of changes and there is a lot going on all around the NASCAR Cup garage as well as with the NASCAR Cup teams.

So far, there is a lot going on but not a lot to talk about when it comes to the Bush Clash taking place this weekend. Well, that is if you don’t want to talk about the things I just mentioned. Most of what I’ve already said has been said over and over again for the last couple of weeks in particular. I don’t want to keep on talking about the things that others have covered again and again and almost worn out the talking points. It is customary for me to regularly offer my opinion and predictions for the coming race and I’m having trouble finding much new to talk about. That doesn’t mean there is nothing new to talk about. It just means others have covered them completely and quite well.

When it comes to the Bush Clash, It is always an exciting race and it gives us as fans a good look at how the 500 will go. So I’ll just keep this short and say, “I’ll have more to say about everything next week and weekend when we have the duals and the big one, the Daytona 500.” Until then, I’ll be watching and absorbing all I can so I can better talk about the Daytona 500 from this NASCAR Fan’s View.

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© February 8, 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

Four Gone After Kansas from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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When the MENCS teams finish the race at Kansas Speedway this weekend, four will be gone from the competition for the 2019 Championship. The question is, which four won’t be moving on. This is an elimination race and there will only be eight left to move on to the Round of Eight.

Stress levels are high, especially among the six hovering just above or just below the cut line. Talladega was not nice to many last weekend and the Hendrick teams appeared to suffer the most damage. Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott and William Byron all took a hit in the points standings and all are fighting for the opportunity to move on to the round of eight. Clint Bowyer is the lone non-Hendrick driver below the cut line. He has his work cut out for himself the same as the Hendrick teams if he wants to move on into the round of Eight.

I’m sure all of this you already know since it has been the hot topic ever since the race at Talladega was in the books. As I mentioned above, Talladega was a wreck-fest that took a big toll on the playoff drivers. Of the four below the cut line, William Byron has the greatest task ahead of him, at least from this fan’s view, but I’ll talk more about him and the others a little later.

Even though there are some in the playoffs with little to nothing to worry about going into the Hollywood Casino 400 as Kansas Speedway, two in particular should be concerned. Of course you know that would be Brad Keselowski, and Joey Logano. Even though they are twenty and eighteen points to the good, they cannot afford to have a bad day. There is nothing definite about their weekend unless they either win or score a lot of points over the others. Going into the race, the two Penske drivers look to have a fairly good cushion and are expected to move on but, if anything happens to put them finishing way down in the order, they could be gone.

There are six that don’t have much to be concerned about. Well… I guess it is possible that disaster could strike. It is definite that Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney will move on. Kyle Bush and Kevin Harvick are very solid also and odds are they don’t need to be concerned about moving on even though Kyle Bush has been struggling lately. If one of the drivers below the cut line wins, well… that could make things a bit more interesting depending on how the others finish.

So… the Kansas Speed way is a slick track and the Cup cars will be running pretty much wide open except when situations dictate they lift or brake. That means it is going to be hard to pass and will likely result in the use of some “chrome bumpers” if drivers decide to hold their lines. If that is the case, it could mean the flare up of tempers. Hopefully, those flareups won’t take out someone in the playoffs or someone trying to stay in them.

William Byron has shown a lot of improvement this season and this fan thinks he has, at least, hope of winning this one. If he does, (which I think is his only hope of moving into the “Round of Eight”), he will join Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson as winners to move on. I’m not saying he will win, I’m just saying he could and it would definitely shake things up if he did. Alex Bowman is in the same boat as far as I’m concerned. He has shown he can pull the proverbial “rabbit out of the hat” and I really wouldn’t put it past him to do it again. Chase Elliott won at Kansas last season and some have picked him as the one to beat in the Hollywood Casino 400. I guess I could go on and on mentioning names of possible winners but I won’t.

Here’s the problem. The Hendrick teams haven’t looked all that strong so far this weekend. Of course I am writing this before qualifying so that could change my mind. Since basically the three Hendrick teams just about need a win to advance or have some disasters strike those above them, they’re going to have to show more speed than they have so far this weekend. I’m not saying they’re up against an impossible task, I’m just saying they can’t make any mistakes and they have to have a lot of things go their way.

No matter how you look at it, there is a lot on the line for many and some look to be up against impossible odds. Their only hope, from this fan’s view, is to win. Unfortunately, only one can win and from my view, there are definitely four that need to…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 19, 2019 – 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 The Monster from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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What better place for the round of twelve to open than at the Monster Mile. This weekend the MENCS teams will be running the package with the most downforce and the most horsepower that NASCAR allows this year. The Monster is fast… Very fast!

There isn’t a lot that can be said that hasn’t already been said about the Monster. Everyone already knows pretty much all there is to know about it. The only difference about this weekend compared to the race back in May is that this one is the first race in the round of twelve in the playoffs. The only questions to be answered are whether the results will be different than they were back in the Spring.

From this fan’s view, things could be a lot different. Martin Truex Jr. dominated and won the May race. Way back then, the Toyotas ruled, the Fords were running “good” and the Chevys were still pretty much struggling. This weekend things haven’t changed all that much but the Chevys are looking much more competitive. Chase Elliott won this race last fall and the Chevys have shown up this weekend looking quite a bit more ready to run up front.

After last weekend at The Roval, the Hendrick Chevys are looking to carry their performance level into Sunday’s race and it does appear they have a little bit of momentum going for them. Kyle Larson from the Ganassi camp also looks to have something for the Toyotas and Fords.

Now that I’ve mentioned last weekend, I can’t help but say something about Chase Elliott’s win at The Roval. Yeah, I know you’ve heard just about all you want to about last weekend, but I just have to give my two cents. You already know I’m a big Chevy fan and also a Hendrick MotorSports fan. It also holds true I am a big Chase Elliott fan. After he over-drove the restart right into the barrier at the first turn, I figured he was done. I had no idea he would come back from that setback and win. It was truly an unexpected victory even though the Hendrick Chevys have shown a lot of strength at the Road courses.

I have to say I had pretty much counted Alex Bowman out after his first lap happenings, also. As the laps wound down to the final few, I was as surprised as anyone he would finish second and was coming close to challenging Elliott for the win. It was a really strong performance for the HMS teams as they all finished in the top ten.

Oh well, that’s enough of last week for now…

I’ve already mentioned Kyle Larson and this fan thinks he could take his CGR Chevy to Victory Lane. He’s already shown he has speed this weekend; it just remains to be seen how he runs all the way to the end. Lately, that’s been their problem… getting to the end at, or near, the front.

From this fan’s view, Jimmie Johnson just can’t be counted out as a possible winner on Sunday since already has so many wins at the Monster. Sure, I know it’s been a while since he’s won at the Monster (or at all), but he still knows what it takes to win there. I’m not saying he will but I do think it’s possible. It all depends on whether the Chevys show their speed in the race instead of in practice and qualifying.

Of course, we all know the JGR Toyotas have to be considered as having a really good day at the Monster; In particular, Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Bush and Denny Hamlin. In the Spring, Martin Truex Jr dominated and won and he has been showing a lot of strength over the last several races. He didn’t perform so well at the Roval but he just can’t be ruled out as having the same kind of day he had in the Spring. I don’t know that he will dominate as he did but I am sure he will be someone to watch on Sunday.

A quick look at those that could possibly win on Sunday shows just about any of the ones still in the playoffs could. They’re not the only ones, though. There are several not in, but still running to win, that could. It is very hard to pick just one. It could be Chase Elliott, since he won last year. It could be Alex Bowman if he runs like he did last week (and as long as Bubba doesn’t decide to help him not make a turn as a little payback from the Roval.) It could be Kevin Harvick. We haven’t heard much from him lately but he still runs well. The possibilities are endless for this one.

Say… you don’t think the JGR teams have picked a bad time to go into a little slump, do you? I guess it is a possibility. I mean, they just haven’t looked like they did when they were winning all of those races this season. Well, that is, if we don’t look at Martin Truex Jr and the way he’s been running…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 5, 2019 – 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

Sonoma Road Course With A New-Old Twist from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams take on the road course at Sonoma. It will be the same old road course with a new twist on the old course layout. Of course, I know you’ve already heard they will running on the old layout of the track which includes the carousel and it hasn’t been used for the Cup Stock Cars of NASCAR in a very long time.

So, what is so special about the race at Sonoma this weekend? Well… I guess you could say there are several things and one of them has to do with Darrell Waltrip. He is retiring from the broadcast booth after this race on Sunday afternoon after almost twenty years in that part of the NASCAR scene. He hasn’t been in an actual race in a long time but has been around NASCAR for most of his life. His first race in what is now called the Cup series was at Talladega in 1972 and he was a very important factor for many years. (I was a fan of his for a long time, too.)

Another reason this race is special, (and not just this season), is because it is a challenging racetrack and demands a lot from the drivers and teams for the entirety of the race. To add to the challenge for the MENCS teams is that this is the first time in twenty years the series has used the carousel part of the track and it is the first time any of the present day drivers have driven the course in this fashion. That should make an always interesting Sonoma Road Course race even more interesting and it could open the door for someone that hasn’t won this season to win and that appears to be the way many are thinking.

Of course, we all know there are those that are expected to perform at, or near, the front and there are those many think WILL win simply because they have won in the past. From this fan’s view, I’m not at all sure which of them might win but I will say there are those I would rather see win than others.

I won’t go into that just yet but, I will say something I never thought I would say. “I’m tired of seeing the same few drivers win,” even though several years back, I liked it when my favorite driver was winning a lot of races. I couldn’t understand, then, why other fans felt the way I do now. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that none of my favorite drivers are winning and it could be that the Chevys still struggle to find speed and track position when it counts, even after two years of working with the Camaro.

Yeah, I know they are making progress but I’ve been a Chevy fan for a long time and, in my opinion for whatever reason they chose the Camaro, I still think it was a bad choice and there is something about it that just doesn’t perform like the Fords and Toyotas on the track. I’m not sure exactly what the difference is but I don’t think it’s all about horsepower. That may have something to do with it but there is something about hooking it all up to the track that is different. I’m not an engineer, never claimed to be, but in my amateur opinion something makes the Chevy struggle more than the other two makes, even when they are out front in clean air. (Now that I’ve said all that, maybe it does have “a little” something to do with horsepower after all, even though NASCAR has limited the amount they can have…)

One thing about the race Sunday afternoon at Sonoma is that I think it will be much more interesting than the race at Michigan two weeks ago. The Sonoma track is narrow and yet fast in some areas even though the average speed is under 100 mph for this two plus mile circuit. To this fan, Michigan was a rather humdrum race and, if it hadn’t been for the cautions and restarts, it wouldn’t have had much action at all. I disagree with those that say it was a great race and heard more than one say it was great to see that the leader couldn’t pull away from the rest when they got out front. That didn’t make it interesting any more than the little bit of two and three wide racing there was. That may have been true but there was still a limited amount of passing and a lot of follow the leader.

It is likely that the usual and expected ones will run out front. To name a few would be the most talked about drivers like, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Kurt and Kyle Bush. Personally though, this fan would really like to see someone win that hasn’t won so far this season. Though there are many that fall into that category, a few I would really like to see win would be David Ragan, Michael McDowell, William Byron, Alex Bowman and, yes, even Jimmie Johnson. Though the others mentioned are the most talked about, these have a good shot at winning on Sunday afternoon also. It all depends on how the strategies play out and how many mistakes AREN’T made…

Well… at least that’s this fan’s view…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© June 22, 2019 – 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

No Restrictor Plates At Talladega? from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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I know you’ve already heard it a thousand times this week. There will be no restrictor plates at Talladega for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this weekend. It’s another week of rule changes for the Cup teams and it should make for a very interesting race on Sunday afternoon. (Of course, it could mean another weekend of not-so-great racing as well.)

Alright, I admit it. This has been a season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series where the racing just hasn’t been all that great. (Well, at least that’s this fan’s opinion.) There isn’t anything wrong with change and there have been a lot of them this season but, from this fan’s view, the 2019 season has been a little lackluster for much of the time. (Once again, I stress that this is this fan’s view and you may or may not agree with it.) Sure, the last couple of races at the short tracks before taking a week off were better but, in my opinion, the season as a whole so far just hasn’t been all that exciting. I point to everything from the way qualifying has gone to even the stages being somewhat uneventful. It just seems that something’s missing. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me but compared to last season, there just doesn’t seem to be the same intensity in the stages or in the racing overall.

Take, for example, the qualifying sessions. Until they shortened the amount of time to get on the track and acquire a qualifying time, nothing was happening for most of the first two rounds until the last few minutes. Don’t you agree there’s nothing more exciting than watching the cars all sitting and waiting on pit road waiting until they have to take a lap? Yeah, that’s what I thought…

So… why might this weekend’s race at Talladega be different? What is it about this race that could be so different from previous races at the Super Speedway in Alabama? What else is going on other than they have removed the restrictor plates? (At least they still had no restrictor plates at the time of this writing.)

This will be the first time restrictor plates haven’t been used in over thirty years. They have made some other rule changes to the cars dealing with drag and horse power but the biggest news is the lack of restrictor plates. This will be old news to the avid NASCAR fan but they have a nine inch spoiler on the rear deck, an additional extension below the bumper along with a couple of other items and all of this was to control the speed so they wouldn’t need the restrictor plates.

So far though, the speeds have been over 202 mph when in the draft. That is approaching a speed that NASCAR doesn’t want to have them run at for safety reasons. It is true, when running by themselves, the speeds are much reduced but, when they get together in a pack, drafting speeds are higher than many expected they would be. The closing rates are much higher also and there are still questions about stability when running in the draft

I don’t remember a time, at least in recent Talladega history, that there has been such obvious concern for how the cars are going to drive and what it’s going to be like for the long haul during the 500 miles. Now don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying the drivers are fearful of the cars or the possibilities. I’m just bringing up my thoughts on how they have been talking of how they think the racing will be on Sunday afternoon. They are very uncertain and really and honestly don’t know what to expect. It is going to be a new and different Talladega experience for them. Well… at least for a while, until they adapt to the conditions created by the rule changes.

I hate to bring it up again but, as a Chevy fan, I’m just not sure the Chevys are ready to run up front yet. During the first practice session they looked like they just might be very competitive. After a couple of tweaks to the rules by NASCAR entering into the second practice, they moved right back down the speed chart to none being in the top ten. That may not bode well for them on Sunday in the Geico 500 but, I guess we’ll just have to wait and seen on that one.

When it comes to races on the Super Speedways, I have to admit I am still a big fan. That being said, there are a couple of things I hope we don’t see on Sunday afternoon. I really hope they don’t pick up tandem racing again. A lot of people liked the “two-car draft” racing but I wasn’t a fan. I guess I’m one that likes the door handle to door handle, bumper to bumper stuff. I like it best when they’re in big packs, slicing and dicing in and out of the lanes they’re in to make a run on those in front of them. Sometimes they advance and sometimes they fall back a bunch of spots and have to try it all over again. The other thing I hope we don’t have to endure for any extended number of laps is everyone falling into single file and just counting down the laps until a stage is nearing its end. I know there will be a certain amount of that but, I do hope the racing is better than that.

When all is said and done, there is a definite possibility that there could be at least one big one and possibly more over the 500 miles of the Geico 500 at Talladega. I just hope there are some cars left running at the end and that one of the drivers contending for the win on the final lap is driving a Chevy…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 27, 2019 – 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

Controversy Reigns After Richmond

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>>> Sorry friends, but I just could not remain silent about the happenings at Richmond and in the week since. I have had my own opinion since watching the events transpire, but I have chosen to wait to vent until now. To say I am disappointed would be at least the slightest bit of an understatement. It is my personal opinion, all NASCAR fans need to take a long hard look at what the sport we love is evolving into and why what happened Saturday night with a close points race on the line could spell a lot of mistrust and trouble for NASCAR in the future.

From this point on in this article, I will try not to speak for anyone but myself and please understand these are expressly my opinions and I do believe I ask legitimate questions. Even though I am not naive, I did think NASCAR as a whole held itself to a higher standard than other motorsports and just sports in general. However, the entire weekend at Richmond has somewhat changed my opinion and, if the truth be known I think NASCAR blew more than one “judgement” call over the weekend. Two of them had to do with restarts and the stupid rule of not passing the leader until the start finish line. Even though these two instances stand out in my mind and I still question why “judgement” calls are becoming less and less consistent and appear to be more and more one-sided or even whimsical. I have to admit, (and this is strictly my opinion), the powers in NASCAR seem to be making more decisions that cause controversy because of inconsistency than calling them as they see them and being consistent. <<< (Oh well, back to last Saturday night at Richmond...) Well... Did he or didn't he?? That's just one of the questions on everyone's mind after an extremely dramatic Saturday night under the lights at Richmond. Whether intentional or not, Clint Bowyer's spin with very few laps to go made a huge difference in who made it in to the Chase and who didn't. From this fans view, there are still several ways of looking at it and, unfortunately, not too many fans or crews are willing to say it wasn't intentional. Of course some say there's no way Bowyer could have known what would happen and that is a good point. From this Fan's View, it doesn't really matter whether he knew what the outcome would be or not. What does matter is that his team-mate, Martin Truex Jr. was not going to make the Chase if the caution didn't come out and when it did come out, it gave him another chance. There is the strange conversation (from this fan's view, it was obviously in code) between Bowyer and his crew chief that just adds to the suspicion something was up and it was definitely to Truex's advantage if anything happened to the leader, Ryan Newman, at the time in the pits. The way things stood at that time, winning was the only way Ryan was going to make it in. According to NASCAR, they had no definitive proof or conclusive evidence Bowyer did do it on purpose but they found enough proof in the conversation between Ty Norris and Bryan Vickers to have to step in and take action. What followed was a decision to punish one team in a dramatic and unprecedented monetary fashion. That action only went as far as to remove Martin Truex Jr. from the Chase and put Ryan Newman in. Now, even more “evidence” has surfaced that shows others were involved in making deals to assure they would make it into the Chase, but at the time of this writing, NASCAR hasn’t decided whether or not they will take further action. I do understand the hesitancy but this whole thing could have been solved by what was called “the ripple effect.” If they hadn’t decided to draw the line at MWR and Martin Truex Jr, they wouldn’t have to be still dealing with this bad situation. It is my personal opinion they should have taken steps that could have dealt with the spin and the team orders to the #55 to come into the pits for a tire “going down” (which was another coded message in my opinion.) It is unfortunate that NASCAR has come down to this. Their integrity is damaged and the integrity of the sport is damaged also. Not because teams do everything they can to make it into the Chase (including making deals with team-mates and other teams to guarantee their spot in making it in) but because it used to be about racing to make the Chase. Now, more than ever, it appears to be more about who you can pay off (with money or future favors) to make it in and that is what is so sad about this situation to this fan. Like I said… I’m not naïve and I know this is not the first time this has been done (or the last time for that matter.) This is one of the first times in my memory it has been this flagrant in the NASCAR Cup and it is a shame. There was a time NASCAR stood head and shoulders above the rest when it came to integrity and fairness (even though some may not have always seen it that way.) Now… well… it appears any of those future conversations and questions about “fixed” outcomes and questionable finishes to races may just have credence. In my opinion, let’s get back to what it was all about to begin with. It used to be about the racing and the best car winning and that is what it should still be about. At least from this fan’s view all of this could fall under the cover-all rule NASCAR uses when all else fails and that would be, “… actions deemed detrimental to Stock Car Racing.” What do you think…??? See ya next time... All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer © September 12, 2013 – all rights reserved Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions