Michigan Is Next With Four To Go

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

So… this is the first time for the Next Gen car on the Michigan track and it looks like the Toyotas have shown up, ready to race. Since I wasn’t available for the qualifying sessions – for reasons beyond my control – I’ll just have to go with what I am told. There are six Toyotas in the top eleven and three of those take up the top three starting positions. The surprise to me of those top three is Bubba Wallace. I really just didn’t expect him to be on the pole for one thing and, for another, I really didn’t expect the Toyotas to all be in the top twelve.

The Fords look about the way they have lately. Of course, I can’t discount the fact that Logano and Cindric qualified in the top five and the first Chevys to show up are Tyler Reddick in sixth and Kyle Larson in eighth.

Two of the Ford drivers that need good finishes on Sunday afternoon would be Kevin Harvick and Ryan Blaney. Unfortunately, Harvick qualified sixteenth and Blaney twenty-fourth. If qualifying says anything about how their day might go, I would say they’ve both got their work cut out themselves. Martin Truex Jr, on the other hand, qualified seventh and was one of those faster Toyotas and, like Harvick and Blaney, really needs a win to pretty much assure himself to make the playoffs.

That’s what makes these next races so important and interesting. Even if one of them wins, there are still three races left for others to win and then, if I can add a little drama, that really makes it interesting for all of them.

Do I think we’re going to have three or four more, first time, winners this season over the next three or four weeks, this one included? To tell the truth, I do think it’s possible but probably not too likely. The problem is, there just aren’t that many drivers that have been running that strong compared to those that have been running at or near the front on a fairly regular basis.

Sure, I know on any given weekend, almost anyone has a chance to win and really mess up the playoff picture. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t stay the way it is right now with a couple of drivers that could actually point their way in or that one more first-time winner couldn’t do the same thing. When it comes to this season, just about anything can happen. That has been proven a couple of times so far. Not even the winner of a race can rest assured of their win until they pass post-race inspection.

I don’t know how you see it but, from my view it does appear the Hendrick teams are struggling a bit. Just look at what has happened to Kyle Larson over the last several weeks. That collision last weekend at Indy with Ty Dillon is just one example. The impact alone was scary and could have turned out much worse. As it was, it was still bad.

William Byron is another one that seems to be experiencing the Hendrick run of bad luck lately. Once again, from my view, when it comes down to whether or not it can happen to him, I’ll just say, if it can go wrong, it will and probably has for them lately. The same can be said for Alex Bowman, too. Even if he shows up with a fast car, (which he hasn’t recently,) something usually happens to either take him out of competition for that weekend or put him several laps behind.

And then that brings me to Chase Elliott. He is the one that can seem to do no wrong, at least on his own. First, he has a win handed to him when the first two cars that finished ahead of him are disqualified from either of them winning. Last weekend, he had a real opportunity to win clean over Tyler Reddick and then there was the ominous turn one at Indy in overtime. You saw how they all piled into one another, his teammate William Byron and Ryan Blaney got together (along with many others) and Chase didn’t even finish all that close to the front. Which was just a perfect end to a not-so-perfect day for the Hendrick camp.

So… when I think of how the race this weekend might go, I’m definitely expecting the unexpected. Whether or not that means a first-time winner or a surprise finish with a not so expected winner, I’m not sure. What I am sure of is that this could be an interesting day and the race won’t be over until it’s over…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© August 6, 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

Taking It To The Indy Road Course

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Once again, it’s time for the Cup teams to take on the Indy road course. I don’t know about you but, I kinda miss the old race on the oval. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the road course race. I’m just saying I kinda miss the old Brickyard original. There was a lot of history to the oval part of Indy and I liked watching the cars compete on the oval where do many others had raced. You know, big name drivers and not just those in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Anyway, it does appear those days are gone for now and we have all settled in to the road course races. That doesn’t bother me so much either because I like them also. It is interesting how the Next Gen car seems to work best on the road courses and, along with other changes that NASCAR has made in these more recent times, the parity of the field and the drivers has changed the competition.

Although I never got to do any road course racing in my time racing, I do think I could have done well at it if for no other reason than I just liked driving racecars and the faster the better and the more challenging the more I liked it. Of course, that’s easy for me to say now. Heck, I used to stress over trying to be faster than the rest of the drivers in my class, and now, I don’t have any stress at all. (Well, that is now that I don’t own or drive a car anymore. Not that I wouldn’t like to, though.)

Judging from the practice and qualifying, it looks like the Fords might have a chance at winning. There were several of them running really fast laps and, admittedly, I was surprised. I expected the Chevys to sort of be the more prevalent ones at the top of the charts. However, that wasn’t the case.

Well… except for one Chevy that is. That would be the Chevy of Tyler Reddick. He was the fastest of all the qualifiers on Saturday morning. In fact he wasn’t just the fastest qualifier, he was the fastest by a long shot.

We all know that qualifying doesn’t always tell the real story of how the race will go but, if he has the advantage over the field during the race that he had during qualifying, he could be the dominating runaway winner of this one. We all know he is a good road course racer and seems to be clicking on all cylinders right now but will he manage to maintain an obvious advantage throughout the race on Sunday afternoon?

As a fan, I have been surprised at the performance of Kyle Larson this season. As of late, he has been struggling. Even when it looks like he may be in the hunt for the win, it seems something happens to put a damper on his performance. Some of it is his fault and some of it is his crew’s fault but they just haven’t been at the top of their game in recent weeks. It is my opinion, he is struggling somewhat with the Next Gen the way those that spent a several years in the old car have. That may not be a fair assessment of what’s going on but, it is a possibility. I know he is very talented and can drive just about anything well but it is definite, at least from my view, he just isn’t on top of his game like last season.

Chase Elliott, on the other hand, is just consistently showing himself to be a contender in the playoffs and, even though he was handed a gift last weekend when both Denny Hamlin and Kyle Bush were disqualified after finishing first and second. That gives him four wins this season and he has also finished in the top two several weeks in a row.

It has been an interesting year so far and it is winding down to the final weeks before the playoffs. I’m not sure that we have seen all of the winners yet and I’m not sure that all of the “win and you’re in” drivers will make it to the playoffs. If there are three more winners that haven’t won yet this season and they are all high enough in the points to qualify for the playoffs, it could be another first for this playoff format. But then again, it is 2022 and it has definitely been a year of firsts in NASCAR…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© July 30, 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 On Pocono

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Once again, it’s time for the Cup Teams to take on the Tricky Triangle at Pocono. Though it is a different style track, it is still a track that challenges even the most experienced drivers in Cup. One reason for the challenge is the shape of the track and the reason it is called “the Tricky Triangle,” is because of its shape. I don’t have to tell you this because I’m sure you all know but, it is pretty much the shape of a triangle with rounded corners. I do have to sort of agree with Brad Keselowski though. It should have more turns than just three.

I’m sure you’re well acquainted with the track at Pocono. If you’ve been around NASCAR for any time at all, you know all the reasoning behind its nickname and the way they number the turns. They only count the three corners as one turn each. However, I have always wondered why they do it the way they do. At just about any other track in NASCAR, they count each corner as a turn. That’s why, even on an oval, they have turns one and two and then three and four. That’s why I’ve always thought they should count each turn the same way they do elsewhere and, at least from my view, there should end up being six turns. Of course, I realize why Brad says there are only five and I don’t totally disagree with his view but, we do see it a little differently.

Since I do disagree, let me explain my view of his count and mine.

From his view, he counts turn three as a single turn probably because it is such a small radius (and believe me, I don’t claim to read his mind.) I can understand that but, all things considered and compared to most every other track, there is usually an entry and an exit to a turn. That is why I count the way I do. Turn three is the entry and what I count as turn four, is the exit. I’m not the only one that thinks this way because I’ve heard other drivers talk differently about the turns than the accepted count of three. They also count six turns and that’s the way they talk about them to their crew chiefs and spotters. (I know this goes against the marketing strategy for the Tricky Triangle but it is a valid point. Of course, I really don’t think it matters much at all to anyone but I did want to express my opinion of the turn count anyway.

So, the big talking points these days appear to center around how many winners there will be before the cutoff after Daytona. Since there are already fourteen different winners in the books, it could be that even those that have already won a race may not make it to the playoffs. It all depends on how many wins and points they have. If they won early in the season but haven’t performed all that well since their win, they could be on shaky ground. If there are two more winners in these next six races, there will be no drivers that point their way in. If there are more than two more different winners by playoff time, then points figure back into the mix again. From the look of things, there are definitely a couple of drivers and teams on very shaky ground and they my not make the playoffs.

Of all the possibilities, I can’t help but wonder what the rest of this season will be like especially with all the drama that can still take place. Sure, there are some that are comfortable with where they are and they really don’t have to worry about whether or not they will make the playoffs. What they do have to be concerned about is whether or not they have all their ducks in a row to advance as far as the final four and run for the actual championship. To have one or more wins and stage points to draw on for the playoffs and still get booted out in the first round and never even come close to running for the championship is a hard pill to swallow.

You may or may not be wondering why I’ve spent so much time talking about the track and other items instead of talking about the drivers and the possibilities for them this weekend. To be honest, there just isn’t a whole lot to say that’s new and important this weekend. What is important is race day and how things pan out during the race. Over the last several weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time talking about the Chevys, the Fords and the Toyotas. Of all the things happening in NASCAR this weekend, there just aren’t that many things as important as what happens as the race progresses. The questions raised are about whether or not there will be problems with the tires or the brakes which are things talked about every week. Another big conversation point is whether or not Kyle Bush will be back with JGR next season and that question is still unanswered.

I think this weekend it is more important to just watch the race and see how it turns out and whether or not the playoff picture changes a little or a lot…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© July 23, 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 On Loudon With The Next Gen

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Well, it’s that time again. Another weekend on a track with the Next Gen for the first time and it could be a race with a twist. What I mean by that is, there could be a very unexpected winner or at least one that hasn’t won in a while. From the practice and the qualifying, it did look like the Toyotas have come with speed and the Chevys, in particular the Hendrick Chevys again, are showing speed off the trucks also.

Everyone knows the track at Loudon is a track that will test the drivers throughout the afternoon and that part hasn’t changed all that much. What will really make it different will be the Next Gen car and what it brings to the racing since it has been introduced at the beginning of this season. You know what I mean don’t you? The way it has to be driven to make good pace on the track. Pace good enough to pass the competition and a car that is able to run just about any line to keep pace and pass without too many laps being wasted to advance.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well… so far it doesn’t look that easy from my observations. I saw struggles by drivers exiting turn two and entering into turn three. If you listened to the talk from the drivers and the talking heads, you heard the bumps going into turn three were making it difficult because they are in a braking zone and it was upsetting the entry enough to throw the drivers off as they entered it. Of course, qualifying is much different than the actual racing. In qualifying they can use the whole track. When it comes to the actual race, especially on starts and re-starts, there is limited space to maneuver around the turns. That means there could be trouble in several ways for the field as they try to advance their positions at the most opportune time.

At first glance looking at the lineup, it looks like it is going to be a race between the Toyotas and the Chevys. From my view, it looked like the Fords are struggling a bit for speed but, I caution that looks can be a bit deceiving. It could be that come time for the race Sunday afternoon, the Fords could end up being the strong ones and the other two makes could drop like rocks to the back.

Sure, I know that could be a totally false assumption and the Toyotas and Chevys could run away with the stages and one of them could end up in Victory Lane. To be totally honest, in my opinion, this race could go to just about any one of the expected contenders. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, it could go to an unexpected driver and team and totally mess up the playoff picture. After all, time is winding down for drivers and teams to make the playoffs and the picture isn’t totally clear yet.

It is clear that there have been thirteen winners so far this season. That only leaves three spots left to fill “IF” they are all filled by winners. There is still the possibility that one or two might point their way in but, in all honesty, it is possible that there could be more than sixteen winners and then the playoff picture would be delegated to the ones with the most wins and points to separate the ones in and the ones out.

There are those that need a win to make the playoffs. Some of the more obvious ones would be Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Aric Almirola, Eric Jones and Austin Dillon. To add to the drama for this weekend, anyone of these drivers can win this one. They all need a win, they all would like to take a win and they would all like to win. The question is, which one will pull off the victory and change the course of their playoff hopes.

There is a problem with the above-mentioned drivers, though. There are others that are performing better than they are this weekend. It is possible one of the expected ones like, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Bush and others starting in the top ten could end up in Victory Lane. Since several of them have at least one win, it is also possible any one of them could add to their win totals. Wouldn’t that add at least one new wrinkle to an already interesting season… ?

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© July 16, 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 On Atlanta Again

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

So… If you thought last time the Cup Teams visited Atlanta was interesting, then this time might be even more interesting. You see, at least in my opinion, they don’t really have any good excuses for not being able to perform well. The reason for that is that they now have a notebook on the place, (limited as it may be at the moment.) Last time, the track threw them some curve balls since they redesigned it and repaved it. This time, it isn’t new. It is a place they’ve run a bunch of laps at and it should be a little easier to “get a grip on the place” (excuse the pun.)

Lately, the Chevys have been running strong just about everywhere, especially at the intermediate tracks and road courses. Take last weekend for example. They finished in the top five and it was quite an impressive showing. In fact, in the top ten, six were Chevys and four were Fords. The first Toyota was Martin Truex Jr. and he finished in thirteenth.

To say the Toyotas have been struggling a bit might be a bit of an understatement. Of course, that could all change this weekend at Atlanta. I say that because the Toyotas have either been hot or cold, fast off the truck or struggling to move up in the field. Sure, I know Denny Hamlin and Kyle Bush have won races and will be in the playoffs (barring the unforeseen) but, they just haven’t been consistent week in and week out. In the past year or so, the JGR Toyotas showed much stronger than they have this season.

If you remember, I mentioned several weeks ago that it was my opinion both Hamlin and Bush kind of had their victories handed to them. That’s not to say they weren’t at the right spot to take advantage of others misfortune but it does say if certain situations hadn’t happened, they may not have won the races they did. All of that is water over the dam now but, it does say something about how the racing has gone with the Next Gen car this season.

I guess there’s no better time than to give my opinion of the Next Gen car right now. Well, at least from observing it so far this season. I’ve heard all the positive comments about it so far from the talking heads, week in and week out. In my opinion, there are good things and some not-so-good things about it. Without going into a long dissertation of what I think, I’ll just say I think they have a few things they need to work on for next year. I’m not so sure they will but NASCAR usually works on things to make them better.

Once again, it may be only my opinion but it does seem the new car favors the younger drivers. The veteran drivers, so far, have seemed to have taken longer to adapt to the new car than the younger drivers. Personally, I think the veteran drivers have had more of everything they need to forget. They have had years to train their muscle memory and program themselves to attack the tracks in a certain way and now I think that is holding them back.

I know this may be just my opinion but think about it. For the most part, the older veteran drivers have been the ones struggling the most and the ones that have only been in Cup for a few years or less seem to have struggled less. I admit the racing has been relatively good but, I also admit they have been fairly predictable as far as when certain problems will happen during a race and that often changes the finish of a race, often at the end in particular. You know, those things like tire problems, brake problems and other things.

So, now that the qualifying has been rained out and the field has been set, it is anyone’s guess as to how things are going to go for this one. I mean, even without the qualifying it was going to be hard to determine which of them would possibly have an advantage. It could be another Chevy day or it could be a Ford leading the way. However it goes, it should be unlike the usual Atlanta race. Actually, it could be another one of those races we’ve seen a lot of this year. You know the ones where there are first time winners and those that we have an unexpected winner…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© July 9, 2022 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCast Norm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

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