Next Stop Road America For The Cup Teams

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Well… in usual fashion lately and especially with the Next Gen car, the qualifying may not tell a true story of how this race will go. I mean, with so many variables and possible problems with some unknowns, this race could prove to be very much of a toss up until the very end. I’m not so sure anything won’t go as planned but, I’m also not so sure there won’t be some problems that won’t change the outcome of the race at the most inopportune time.

A quick glance at the results of the practice and qualifying sessions shows some interesting things to consider. I mean, if you take those results at face value, there are just a few cars that are going to lead all day and the rest are going to be “also rans.” I know that sounds like an oversimplification but, it just might prove to be true. In the top five starters are several that had fast cars and as an example, I would offer up Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson and Chase Briscoe. Another would be Chris Buescher. Buescher didn’t qualify all that well but he was fast and could figure into the mix at the end of the day at Road America.

Does it strike anyone other than me as strange that the JGR Toyotas are missing from the top ten starters? In fact, they don’t show up in the lineup until thirteenth through sixteenth. I just don’t think that’s where they will stay for the whole race, do you? Yeah… that’s kinda what I thought you would say. It does sound like a bit of a stretch, doesn’t it?

Another thing about the JGR Toyotas is that Kyle Bush qualified in the thirteenth position but they are changing out the engine so he will be starting at, or near, the end of the field. That could mean a couple of things. Sometimes it isn’t a bad thing that a problem moves someone to the back of the field. Sometimes it ends up they finish up front when the race is done and everyone wonders where they came from.

I suppose it could happen this weekend but, according to some of the talk going around, the JGR Toyotas have been struggling with their Road Course program this season. I agree with that, at least somewhat but, I’ve also seen them be at the right spot at the end of the day to take the win. Once again, that could be the case this weekend at Road America but, there are a whole bunch more things to consider before that actually happens.

As I mentioned earlier, there are no Toyotas in the top ten. It is made up of just Chevys and Fords. To be fair, there are more Fords than there are Chevys but I don’t think that matters much. There are four Chevys and the rest are Fords. Three of the Chevys in the top ten are Hendrick Chevys and, had he not had a problem in his qualifying lap, William Byron may have joined his three teammates in the top ten also. As it turned out, Tyler Reddick did qualify in the top five and he is a very good Road Racer also. It could be his to win if everything goes right for him.

Another surprise to this fan was the Track House Teams. Even though they were fast in qualifying, they didn’t make the top ten even though it looked like they would after the practice sessions. I really didn’t expect them to miss the top ten because of the way they’ve been running. I guess that, now, the expectations are high for them to perform and, when they fall just a little short of those expectations, people wonder IF they are going to struggle all day or just plug away and be in contention at the end of the day. I reckon we’ll find out about that when the race is done.

The Penske Fords appeared to be lacking something in the practice and qualifying sessions and I’m just not sure whether they will be able to make a show of it. I expect they will but, I’m just not sure they will.

It is one thing when the Hendrick Chevys of Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott qualify in the top five and Chase did win the pole. However, it remains to be seen whether they will stay and be up front when the black and white checkered flag falls. Lately, the two of them have been plagued by penalties that really killed their chances of winning. (Remember Sonoma??) Both Chase and Kyle had cars good enough to win but managed to blow winning because of penalties or mistakes.

Like I said, there are a lot of variables to consider for this one and any one, or several of them could make the difference in which of the teams wins this one at Road America. It may not come down to tire problems or brake problems or any other of the possible problems I have or haven’t mentioned. It could be that the race goes off without a hitch and that one of the expected drivers wins. I don’t think it will happen that way, but it could…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… I’ll See you next time.
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© July 2, 2022 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and Pod Cast Norm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

Cup Teams Take It To Nashville

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

In a quick turn of events, Denny Hamlin somehow managed to win the pole position for the Ally 400 at Nashville Speedway. Uh, maybe I should say had it handed to him. In case you missed it, the rains came before they had a chance to run the actual qualifying laps for the final ten and they’re to be lined up according to the order from the first part of the qualifying session. Now, I don’t know if that is some kind of and omen for the Toyota teams but it was a bit of a surprise to me. That’s not to say Hamlin didn’t have speed but, I just wonder if he would have actually won the pole had qualifying continued.

Honestly, I’m not so sure the Toyotas will fair all that well even though a JGR team is on the front row. Just as well for them but, there is a fast Penske Ford on the front row and there are two fast Hendrick Chevys on the second row. In fact, the top ten look pretty interesting because they are from a variety of the teams and their position for the start of the race is just a little bit of a surprise. Well, not really but, there is a good mixture of Toyotas, Fords and Chevys as well as different drivers and teams throughout the top ten.

Actually, comparatively speaking, the Fords did look to have some good speed in qualifying, but without the final qualifying session, it is hard to tell if they are good for the long runs or just a lap or two. Now admittedly, I’m not a Ford fan but there are some Ford drivers that I do like. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m rootin’ for them to win at Nashville but it does mean I’m okay with it if they do.

Two of those drivers are Ryan Blaney and Kevin Harvick. Both have had their struggles even though Blaney did win the Million dollar All Star race. Harvick, on the other hand, has had one struggle after another and would really like to take the win this weekend and silence all the speculation. Judging from the performance of the Fords from the partial qualifying session, this could their weekend. Unfortunately, it just may not be one these two Ford drivers that do win. It could be someone like Joey Logano (starting outside pole by the way) or Chase Briscoe. It could even be someone driving a Ford and winning totally unexpectedly, I just don’t know.

That brings us back to the Toyotas and Denny Hamlin in particular. It does appear, at least to this NASCAR fan that things have been kinda landing in his lap lately. I know it sounds strange but it is interesting. He hasn’t had the fastest car but has been performing pretty well lately. I won’t say he’s been lucky because everyone knows you make your own luck but and you have to be there at the end of a race to take advantage of any circumstances that arise. Fortunately for Denny, that has happened twice so far this season and the pole this weekend was pretty much handed to him so, who knows what will happen at the end of the Ally 400 for him.

Christopher Bell is another Toyota driver that has been real close taking a win several times this season and he is starting ninth, a little further back than was expected by him and his team because he had a fast racecar. Unfortunately, he had a little problem in his qualifying lap and he didn’t have time to make it up. He has been very fast just about every race weekend and, as much as I may not want to, he could take the win at the end of the day even though he is starting ninth.

Kyle Bush hit the wall in his qualifying lap and his fate for the race is in the hands of his team and we’ll just have to wait and see how he makes it through the day.

When it comes down to it, the Chevys have a lot to prove in this one. They have been fast just about every week but they have also had their share of problems with penalties all over the place. Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Daniel Suarez and his teammate, Ross Chastain are running very strong and any one of them could end the day pulling into Victory Lane if they can manage avoiding all the little things that have been holding them back recently either on pit road or the track. Daniel Suarez is riding a little momentum since winning two weekends ago at Sonoma so, it is hard not to say he could pull another win out of his cap.

As it stands, at least from my view, this one is anybody’s to win and everybody’s to lose. They just have to keep their Next Gen cars out of trouble and in contention for those final laps at the end of the day. I’m not willing to pick a winner but, I am also not willing to be surprised if someone totally unexpected wins this one. I believe this is going to be a hard fought victory no matter which of them wins.

By the way, I do think it’s about time for Kyle Larson to win again. Wouldn’t that be a statement since he is without his crew chief, Cliff Daniels for this and three more weekends. I don’t know about you but I do think he can, IF…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© June 26, 2022 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm ProductionsError! Hyperlink reference not valid.
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

Cup Teams And The Next Gen Take On Sonoma

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Once again it is Road Racing time for the Cup cars and this weekend, it is at the challenging Sonoma track in California. Judging from the practice and qualifying sessions, it looks like there could be a remote possibility of the Hendrick Chevys having a better day racing than they’ve had in a few weeks. In fact, it looks like most of the Chevys have shown up with good speed off the trucks.

There is one thing about this season has been fairly consistent. Unfortunately, that one thing hasn’t always been a good thing for those that looked or were fast in qualifying. Sometimes those that qualified at or close to the front have fallen like rocks after only a few laps. Other times, they have had problems that have either put them way behind or out for the day. I’m not thinking that WILL be the case Sunday afternoon at Sonoma but I am saying there is reason to be concerned until a number of laps are in the book.

Now why, after saying something positive about the possibilities for the Chevys, do I think there could really be cause for concern? Well… I’ll give you one little hint that is probably more obvious than you may think. I am concerned about the continuing saga of the tire problems. In particular, the left rear.

Admittedly, there is nothing I would like to see more this weekend than to see the Chevys dominate the whole field. Of course, I know that might be asking for too much at this point of the season and I really don’t expect it but, I would like to see it. Why? you may ask. Well, in all honesty, it’s because I am a Chevy fan as well as a Hendrick Motor Sports fan. Hey, I used to race and I was particularly fond of my Chevys. I built three of them and they were all very competitive. They were even high points cars and season Champs a couple of times. Still, that’s not the only reason I want to see the Chevys do well this weekend.

You see, lately I have seen the Chevys be the best cars on the track and be just about ready to win and something goes wrong and either a Ford or Toyota end up with the trophy. It hasn’t been the best car or driver that has won, just the one at the right place at the right time. Look, I understand racing luck and being prepared for the unexpected and even the fact that it “ain’t over until it’s over.” But it appears it has been more about the tires or should I say, “where the rubber meets the road.”

So, actually… it appears, at least for the moment, we are picking up where we left off at the end of the race last year. That would be Kyle Larson leading and Chase Elliott following close behind. Could it be that it could be just a continuation of the race from last season. I don’t know, maybe but, will the result be the same?

I know this is taking a strange direction but, I have to admit, it is intriguing, at least to this fan. Could it be that the Toyotas pull off another come from behind victory? Could it be that one of the Fords ends up taking the black and white checkered flag at the end of the day in Wine Country?

You see, I don’t expect any of the three manufacturers to just lay down and let one of the others win. I expect this to be a hard-fought battle and one can only hope that it won’t be decided by that ominous villain called “tire failure.” I know I shouldn’t pick sides but, there are still those I would rather see win and those I would rather not.

Personally, I do hope it is a continuation of last season’s finish and maybe for once, at least recently, the fastest car wins and we aren’t bothered by tire failures at all…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© June 12, 2022 – 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 Gen And Cup Teams First Time At the Gateway

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

I don’t know about you but, there is one thing I really don’t like about the Next Gen car. Actually, there is more than one thing I don’t like but this one is a good place to start. Yeah, I’m sure you guessed it already. The tire problems they’ve been having have gone on way too long. Really, I don’t blame Goodyear all that much but I do think the car NASCAR has come up with leaves a little to be desired, well, at least form this fan’s view it does.

You see, from my view there is more to racing than parity and there is more to making a car go fast than just keeping everything status quo. What I mean by that is just look at the last several races over different tracks. In some instances, the tires have failed for different reasons and teams that might have won ended up either in the garage or at the back of the filed one or more laps down. Honestly folks, it’s beginning to get a little boring. They can hardly finish a race without someone or several someones having a tire failure and sometimes it is at the worst possible time and sometimes they can only run so many laps without a tire problem.

Look, I know Goodyear makes their recommendations of minimum tire pressure and maximum camber but, knowing racers the way I do, someone is always going to press the envelope and sometimes it is going to work and sometimes not. I think that is one of the most frustrating things about the whole situation. The speed of the different makes seems to depend on what they can get away with in those tolerances and it also depends on what type of track they’re at, whether short-track, mid-size track or Superspeedway. Hey, I know I’m not an engineer so what I say doesn’t really amount to a hill of beans but, I do know that something is going to have to change.

Now before you think I don’t like anything about the new car let me just stress there are several things I really do like about it. The most important one in my book is the apparent durability of it. I like the fact that not every little dust-up or brush with the wall results in one or both of the cars involved having to go to the pits or the garage. What that means is that the old term, “rubbin’ is racing” still means something. In the days past, before the Next Gen car, a little rubbing usually caused problems for one or more of the drivers, generally resulting in one or more having to take a break to change a tire or fix some bent fenders or other equipment or just retire from the race. Now, at least usually, they can continue racing.

I guess I should stop my little rant here and move on to the race this weekend at the Gateway. It is difficult but I will anyway…

From my observations of the practice session and the qualifying, it does look as though the Fords might be the ones to watch for taking the win on Sunday afternoon. It did “look” like they had the most to offer when it came to getting around the track consistently with, what looked like, winning speed. Of course, last weekend the Toyotas had pretty much the same look and then they weren’t contenders for much of the race until the laps few laps. (Well, at least that was the story for the winner, Denny Hamlin and runner up, Kyle Bush.)

Chase Briscoe has really brought the speed this weekend. He and his Ford definitely appear to have an advantage going into tomorrow’s race, but then again, anything can and probably will happen between the first lap and the last lap and he may not even be a contender at the end of the day. It may be someone like Joey Logano or Ryan Blaney, also in Fords, ending up in Victory Lane.

There are others, too. I’m sure the Toyotas of Kyle and Kurt Bush may have something to say about that as well as Christopher Bell and Martin Truex Jr. The Toyotas have shown they have something to offer but it will depend on whether they can keep from having tire problems or problems on pit road. This being the first time on this track for the Cup cars, it is hard to say how the entire race will go or which of them might be the first to win but, they all have a shot for taking the win.

Personally, this fan doesn’t think the Chevys have a chance for winning this weekend but I could be surprised. We all know Ross Chastain is going to be pressing for the win along with his teammate Daniel Suarez. Much as I don’t think any of the Chevys are going to be real contenders for the win, I could be completely surprised. They just haven’t shown the speed at all this weekend. (Well, that is except for Tyler Reddick. This could be his to win if he and his team can go the distance without the usual slip ups…)

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© June 4, 2022 – 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 Next Gen At Charlotte And The Coca Cola 600

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

The Cup teams will face off against each other at the Charlotte Motor Speedway for the running of the Coca-Cola 600 and it is anyone’s guess what the end result will be. I mean, all things considered, this one is long and it is demanding on the drivers and the crews. It is also a long day of racing for fans of motorsports because it is not only the day for the Coca-Cola 600 but also the Indianapolis 500. There’s just not much time for anything else other than racing this weekend.

Of all the races we’ve had so far with the Next Gen car, this one could be more telling than all the rest. The biggest reason is because it is the longest race the NASCAR Cup teams face in any year and another reason is the problems that so many have had with the Goodyear tires, in particular, the left rear tire.

Go ahead. Flash back for just a moment to the last couple of races and you may notice a pattern. Notice I said “may notice” a pattern and didn’t make it a completely positive recognition of the not-so-obvious. What you “may have noticed,” or maybe I should have said, “should have noticed” was just how many tire problems have ended the hopes of drivers that might have been race winners. The culprit has often been the left rear tire and it has happened often enough to raise concern, at least it does in my book. Of course, Goodyear says they have thoroughly tested the tires and they have made suggestions as to what minimum and maximum tire pressures the teams should run as well as how much camber they should run in the rear tires to run safely.

In all honesty, I am concerned enough to question the patterns I have noticed. One particular item would be the number of laps they generally have been able to run before problems occur. Unfortunately, there has generally been around twenty something laps they can run until something happens. The usual problem is the sudden loss of air pressure commonly known as a flat left rear tire. Often the result has been catastrophic for one or more cars because of that problem.

Before moving on to the Coca-Cola 600, I’d just like to say one thing. I will be interested to see if the problems continue into this, the longest race of the season. There have been times, because of the tire issues, the whole complexion of the race has changed. I realize that part of that responsibility must fall on the decisions made by the crew chiefs and engineers but some of it is just one of the shortcomings of the Next Gen car.

Judging from the practice sessions and the qualifying, looks like the JGR Toyotas are definitely showing they have found the speed they were lacking earlier in the season. They have consistently been showing that speed over the last several weeks in qualifying. It hasn’t always carried over to the final laps of the race but they are much improved.

The Fords still look to be struggling a bit but they are beginning to show signs of life, especially at the end of a race. Ryan Blaney has consistently been one of the fastest Fords every weekend and he did just come off winning the million dollars of the All Star race. He has also been consistently one of the cars vying for the win at the end of a race lately. That doesn’t mean he is always the one to beat but he is often up front in the mix at the end of the race. Joey Logano is another one of the Fords doing the same thing. Overall, from this fan’s view, Fords are still looking for the speed they need to get the job done. They do seem to be steadily improving though.

Let’s see… we’ve mentioned the Toyotas and the Fords. I guess that leaves nothing but adding the Chevys to the mix.

Of all the favorites to win this weekend, Kyle Larson did put himself at a disadvantage by hitting the wall hard in the first practice session. That led to him not being able to qualify and a lot of work for the crew to do to get ready for today’s race. Last year, he pretty much dominated the 600 and did have good speed before he hit the wall. In fact, he had the fastest lap time in the first group. I know he is quite capable to drive from the rear to the front and it is a long race but, he does have his work cut out for himself in this one.

Once again, the Hendrick Chevys, in fact, most of the Chevys had good speed and I think they will make a race of it when it comes down to the final laps. That is, IF they can survive all the pitfalls that lay before the entire field with possible tire failures and the lack of stability in the Next Gen that sometimes rears its ugly head at the most inopportune times…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© May 29, 2022 – 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

All Stars Go For The Million

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

The All Stars go for the million dollars at Texas Motor Speedway tonight. It is amazing how much work all of the teams that can compete in this one will put into a chance to win a million dollars. Just one of them will win and the rest will just chalk it up as another race they didn’t win. There’s nothing but the grand prize available and of course the prestige that goes along with winning the All Star Race.

Probably the most important question that can be asked for tonight’s race would be, “Which of the drivers and teams actually will win and take home the million (and of course split it fairly with those that helped them win.”) Of course, I really don’t know how the payoff works and I really have no idea of how much each person could get out of such a deal but, a million dollars can be split up many ways and still make a good payday for each one on the winning team.

Since I cannot tell the future and would rather watch the race be run rather than try to name a winner right off the bat, I can only do what many others have done and are doing. I can only speculate on which of the drivers and teams might have at least a slight advantage over some of the others. I won’t do that this time. You already know the format and the way things were supposed to go for the qualifying for both the Open and the All Star race. Of course that is a relative assumption on my part and, I admit, I’m not very comfortable with all the nuances myself, at least not to try and plainly explain it to someone.

Honestly, the easiest to explain was what the All Star Open drivers went through. It was be pretty much a regular qualifying format in reverse order based on owner points for 2022. Then they will run a three-stage race with two stages of twenty laps and the third stage of 10 laps. To shorten this a little bit, the winners of the stages advance to the All
Star race along with the fan vote favorite. There are other details but I won’t go into them here. (Actually, I think it would be better if we all just watch the Open take place. It will be well worth it anyway.)

Of all that was be going on, the hardest to explain was what the drivers already qualified had to do to determine their qualifying order. They started off with quite simply running a qualifying lap in reverse order of the 2022 owner points and then the top eight of those qualifiers ran a lap each, head-to-head to determine the first part of their qualifying order. Then the pit crews went to work and then it got a little complicated as to how they would line up from that point. It’s another one of those things that this fan thought it would be better to watch than try to explain. I could’ve explained it but then again, I asked the question of myself, why explain something that is easier to let NASCAR figure out and tell us about. Besides, by the time this hits the web, the lineup will already be set except for the results from the All Star Open.

First of all, let me just say at first glance of those drivers already in the All Star race, any one of them could walk away with a million dollar paycheck. There are just a lot of good drivers already qualified and it would be very difficult for me to pick one of them out from amongst the rest. Add to that the fan favorite and the results of the Open and it looks like just about any of them could win, especially with the prize that waits for the winner.

So far, it does look like the Toyotas have finally found a little speed. But this is being written before the running of the Open and it is this fan’s opinion the Toyotas and the Chevys will be up front when it counts BUT this is also for no points and a million dollars and that could make for some very interesting twists and turns by the time it is all over.

Now, you may be asking if I have one or more favorites and the answer to that question is, yes, I have several. Most of them drive Chevys but that’s not the only manufacturer I support. You may also ask it I have some I would rather not see win and the answer is once again, yes, there a few but I’ll just keep those to myself for the moment…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© May 22, 2022 – 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 Next Gen At Kansas Speedway

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Even though it seems to be getting easier, it is still the first time on the Kansas Speedway track for the Next Gen car. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you what that means. That’s right… it means they need the practice time on the track, short though it may be. Any data they can gather is data in the bank for figuring out how to make the Next Gen car go fast and make them more competitive. Though it is short, every little bit of time they can spend on the track is another step toward possibly ending up in victory lane.

At the time of me writing this, there appears to possibly be a little bit of problems with left rear tires. Now look, I’m not saying it will still be a problem when it comes to race-time. I guess it could be a problem all day on Sunday but, I don’t think It will continue as a problem though. Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong either. Usually, it is dependent on the fact that they know what was, or is, causing the situation in the first place. If it rears its ugly head again in the race, that could mean a big problem for any that would like to walk away with the win.

Changing the subject back to last weekend for just a moment, there has been a lot of speculation of what might transpire between William Byron and Joey Logano. Honestly, I’m a little at a loss about that for a couple of reasons. The first is, I know what I would like to see happen and the second is what happened when Byron tried to do a little payback at a race against Kyle Bush. In case you don’t remember that little incident, it was when Chad Knaus told William to give Bush a little payback in the form a bump. The problem was that when he did catch up to give the payback, Kyle brake-checked him and did a whale of a lot of more damage to his car. I don’t think it would be a great idea to go for something like that at all considering the end result that last time.

As a fan and a former local stock car driver, I completely understand both sides of the story but, I do totally disagree with the way Joey handled it. From my view, William didn’t do anything that Joey hasn’t done in the past and even with his own teammates. If that doesn’t sound like a little bit of “karma” payback, I don’t know what does. It is just unfortunate that William Byron’s tires were going away or Logano would have probably never caught him. Still, I and several others think Logano overdid the bump, saying it was payback for Byron leaning on him and forcing against the wall. (You may have seen it differently but, that’s the way I saw it.)

But… let’s go back to Kansas…

Once again this weekend, it looks like the JGR Toyotas showed up with some very fast cars. It looks like they’ve figured out a few things concerning the Next Gen car because, lately, they have been showing up fast off the trucks. So far, it has been tough for them to make Victory Lane a regular visit but they have been fast just not mistake free. Yeah, I know Denny Hamlin and Kyle Bush managed to squeak out a victory each but, it hasn’t been all that pretty. Christopher Bell has been running strong but has also struggled to finish. However, with him starting on the pole tomorrow, this just may be his weekend to take home the trophy.

The Hendrick Chevys once again showed they may have what it takes to pull off the victory, IF they can keep their cars running to the end. You see, I’m not so sure the left rear tire problems that several experienced during practice are over yet. From my observations, I’m not even sure they know what was causing the problem other than possible improper tire pressures. Even if that was part of the problem, I’m not sure everyone is free of having left rear tire problems yet. I reckon we will see as the race progresses but it was a bit strange when the problems occurred within so few laps.

There are the four JGR Toyotas starting in the top ten, three Fords and three Chevys starting in the top ten and the other two Hendrick Chevys of William Byron and Chase Elliott start thirteenth and fourteenth. Oh, and did I mention Tyler Reddick starts second and Kyle Larson starts third. That’s a pretty stout bunch starting up front in the top ten.

So… if the tire problems are fixed, the drivers don’t mess up on pit road and the pit crews don’t make mistakes, it could be anybody’s race in the top fifteen or so. If some or any of the above happen, then it is still anybody’s race and it just could be someone tot ally unexpected…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© May 14, 2022 – 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 Next Gen At The Track Too Tough To Tame

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

If there’s one thing about this NASCAR season that doesn’t seem to change much at all, it would be the fact that almost every week is a new track for the Next Gen car. Well… at least for now, anyway. Darlington is another weekend the Cup Teams face a track with no notebook and very little idea what to expect. Will there be situations that haven’t shown up yet? Possibly, but any that haven’t become obvious yet will likely show up at the most inopportune time for those that experience them.

Several have already experienced bad to severe situations and of course you know which ones they are. Kevin Harvick was the first to blow a left rear tire and damage the diffuser. He will be starting near the back of the field. Chase Elliott was another that blew a left rear tire and will be moving to a backup car for the start of the race. William Byron hit the wall in qualifying and may have to start in the rear if the damage was severe enough to require new parts to replace some damaged ones. Those were the most obvious ones but there were others pressing the envelope and making contact with the wall and, depending on the degree of damage inflicted, they may be joining the others near the rear of the field.

It is a shame that Chase hit the wall the way he did and there was no chance he could get the damage repaired. It was pretty obvious he was going to a backup car when we witnessed Allan Gustafson headed for the hauler to get the replacement car almost immediately after Chase’s run-in with the wall. However, it could turn out ok for him since William Byron did the same thing last weekend.

I found the qualifying to be little confusing, at least as far as the speed of the Toyotas. The JGR Toyotas in particular looked very strong. As has been usual so far this season, the qualifying has, as a whole, been quite deceptive as far as race performance has been concerned. Sure, I know that Joey Logano and Kyle Larson will likely start one/two on the front row but, I wonder what the end results will be.

There are some very good cars that will be starting in the middle to the back of the pack. It’s not because they performed so badly, it is because they either had problems or because they just didn’t do well when it was time.

From this fan’s view, I hope it doesn’t turn out to be a problem but it could be as the race progresses. That would be a problem with tires and in particular, the left rear. I’m not saying there will be a problem but I am saying there might be. The two in particular that had problems early on, Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott, had problems with the left rear tire. The reason for the failures wasn’t specifically mentioned at the time of this writing but, they both happened at different times. One had hardly any track-time when it let go and the other had around fifteen laps or so.

Now, I admit I am not a tire specialist nor will I try to be one here. I just know there were two tire failures and both of them were associated with the left rear. Will that make a difference in how the teams approach the race tomorrow afternoon? Well… I would say it will be in the back of everyone’s mind at least for a while.

Once again from this fan’s view, I think this could be a long and tedious race for the drivers and crews alike. There will be a lot of tire drop-off amounting to several seconds in lap times. This is going to make decisions for strategies as important as any. Tires could be more critical than fuel and I don’t know for sure that tires won’t become a scarce commodity towards the end of the race. (Well… that is unless NASCAR decides to make changes to their tire rules.)

Now, look. I know it is possible that I could be totally wrong in my assessment of the race at Darlington. It is possible that the biggest problem they all face will be trying to pass to advance through the field. Judging from what I saw in the practice and qualifying was everyone running pretty much the same line to make time in a lap. If that is the case tomorrow, this could be a very interesting race but also quite boring single file laps for much of the time.

Like I said, I could be wrong, BUT…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© May 7, 2022 – 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 Next Gen And The Monster At Dover

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

As has been the case since it was introduced at the beginning of this year, the Next Gen car makes another first trip to a track and Dover and the Monster Mile is it. That’s just another track this car has no time on it for the drivers to draw from. Since it is already a very challenging track and judging from the practices and qualifying, the race on Sunday should prove to be very interesting indeed. For, you see, it is one thing to run a lap or two around by yourself but another thing entirely when you have double file starts and restarts and very little room for error. That means there could possibly be a bit of carnage and pileups, especially in turns three and four.

I’m sure you noticed much as I did, most of the problems drivers had were associated with turns three and four. That’s where several cars were sacrificed to the wall and other situations and had to either be repaired or replaced with backup cars. One of those was William Byron from the Hendrick camp. He hit the wall hard and had to go to a backup car as well as missing some valuable track time getting ready to face the Monster. I’m sure some of the first part of the race will be spent trying to tweak on the replacement car, trying to make sure he will be able to be as competitive as possible by the time the end of the race rolls around. He just may have his work cut out for himself considering how the other three of the Hendrick teams are running.

Considering the record of the Hendrick teams at the Monster Mile, it would be a pretty good bet to think one of the four might take the win on Sunday afternoon. I might be inclined to agree with you if you think that except for one thing, (well, maybe two.) The first is how poorly the teams that have qualified up front lately haven’t necessarily performed all that well in the race. The second is that there are four hundred miles for them to get their cars tweaked in and the ones that make the best adjustments in the shortest period of time will likely be contending for the win.

I mean, just look at Chris Buescher sitting on his first pole as well as the first pole for the newly formed RFK racing camp. Sure, I know they’ve all been around as individuals for a while but, it is the first for them as a new organization and since Brad Keselowski joined forces with Rouch/Fenway. Buescher winning the pole with a fast qualifying lap had to be a real shot in the arm for RFK Racing. It could be the spark that ignites the fire to get things really rolling for them.

That also brings up the possibility of TrackHouse Racing running away with another win for Ross Chastain considering how well he has been running lately. After all, he has won two races already this season and not many expected that and, dare I say, not many expected it would be Ross that would be leading the way at TrackHouse. Both Ross and Daniel Suarez looked to have good speed in the practice and qualifying sessions and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Daniel didn’t pull of his first win this weekend. If he can only avoid the mistakes and things that have kept him from being up front when it counts, he just might be another first time winner this year. It isn’t all that far-fetched when you think about it. Both of the TrackHouse teams have shown up ready to race and win. It’s just that Ross has been the one with the wins so far.

When it comes to the Fords and Toyotas well, that’s a tough call for this weekend. There are several from each of these two camps that could walk away with a win tomorrow. All of the ones I’m thinking about are names we all are very familiar with. Most likely of the Fords would be names like Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney and others. When it comes to the Toyotas, names that stand out to this fan are Denny Hamlin, Kyle and Kurt Bush along with Martin Truex Jr. Anyone of these could end up taking the trophy and it wouldn’t be that much of a surprise.

At the end of the day, I still think the Chevys will likely rule the day but I am at a bit of a loss as to whether it will be one of the TrackHouse or one of the Hendrick Chevys. I do think it could be Chase Elliott but he has been susceptible to mid and late race problems. Still, he is about due to win one this year and on something other than on a road course.

Of course, I realize there are others that could win and it could be someone like Ricky Stenhouse Jr. or Erik Jones. Shucks, I would be a bit surprised if someone totally unexpected wins like AJ Allmendinger or Justin Haley. At this point, even though as unlikely as it seems, the winner could be someone that’s just in the right place at the right time and the seas part, (just like they did for Ross Chastain last weekend… )

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 30, 2022 – 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 On Talladega With The Next Gen

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Well, it’s time for the NASCAR Cup teams to take on the Talladega Super Speedway again, but this time it’s with the Next Gen car and they won’t get any practice time. This time, they jump right onto the track with qualifying and then they don’t get in the car again until tomorrow afternoon when it’s time to race. Of course, as a disclaimer, NASCAR did give them a lot of practice time when they visited Daytona in February. It is good that they got the extra time there and, hopefully, what they learned there will transfer to the track at Talladega. That goes not only for the drivers and teams but also for Goodyear and the type tires they have brought for the teams to use on Sunday afternoon.

So, before I move on to the Talladega race, I just have to say a few words about last weekend’s race at Bristol. I have heard so many say so much about last weekend’s race and most of it has been heaping accolades on as a whole. I don’t disagree with that, at least for the most part but, I still wasn’t as impressed as many others were. There was a great improvement in the track conditioning even though there were some weather delays at different times.

I also admit the racing was better but it was also a bit disappointing at times (at least form this fan’s view.) There was no one at fault for that but the one thing that would have made it better for me was, when Tyler Reddick and Chase Briscoe got together, that Tyler would have gotten straightened out and been able to pull up in front of Kyle Bush and won the race anyway. Now that would have been a great finish to the race in my book. I still say that the drivers are the ones that enjoy the Bristol Dirt more than anyone (and that I DO understand.)

One other thing, before I move on. I think it is interesting when Kyle basically has a race handed to him even though he was about a straightaway behind, he feels different about his win than when it happens to Alex bowmen. Even though he sounded much more reasonable in the post-race interview and admitting JGR still has ground to make up, I still found it interesting the difference in attituded.

So, getting back to Talladega … if anything shows up as really different this weekend, at least from this fan’s view, it would be the difference of the ones showing the most speed in qualifying and the ones that appeared to be struggling a bit. It was sort of a shock to see the JGR Toyotas taking up the front row. More often than not lately, the Hendrick cars often took those spots.

This weekend, it appears there might be a shift in strategy. I could be mistaken – and I know I’m not the only one that thinks this way – but usually the fastest cars in qualifying don’t necessarily run the fastest in the race. Could it be that it’s just a difference in having no practice and missing the setup tweaks or just because the JGR teams have found something they’ve been missing in the first races of the season. Sure, I know the Chevys have shown some speed in qualifying on the Super Speedways but, for the first time in a while, the first Hendrick team is Kyle Larson and he is starting sixth with William Byron starting in eighth. A closer look at the top twelve shows there are six Toyotas and six Chevys. The first Ford is Joey Logano in thirteenth followed by the Chevy of Austin Dillon and the Ford of Brad Keselowski.

The Fords have usually been the ones leading the pack near the end of the Super Speedway races recently but that could be because of the Chevys and Toyotas being taken out during one of the “Big Ones” earlier in a race. It seems the Chevys in particular have been caught up in those and that could be the reason they just haven’t been around at the end of the day, at least not up front.

It remains to be seen which of the manufacturers will end up working the best together and which ones can maintain their track position throughout the many laps as they work toward the last fifty laps or so. From my view, I think the usual ones will be up front at the end of the day but there could be a surprise winner and shake up everything. I’m thinking there could be a Chevy in Victory Lane at the end of this one but I can’t rule out any of the others either simply because of the evident speed in the Toyota camps and the usual dominance of the Fords at the end of a Super Speedway race.

Do the Toyotas have some new found speed? Were the Chevys holding back hoping to use a little different strategy in this one? Are the Fords showing all they’ve got or are they just waiting for the race to take it to the rest? There’s only one thing that will prove it one way or another and that’s when the green flag drops and they drop the hammer…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 23, 2022 – 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