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

Next Gen On Bristol Dirt

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Here’s some non-news for everyone. All but one of the NASCAR series are taking it to Bristol Dirt this weekend. Only the Trucks and the Cup series will be racing the dirt BUT, you already know that. From this fan’s view and in spite of all the hype, I am in a wait and see attitude of how the racing will be on the Bristol Dirt. You see, contrary to all the positive comments about last year and the hope for even better this year, I wasn’t really all that impressed last year and I am not so sure about this year’s race.

Okay, I know last year had it’s weather challenges and I know it was the first time dirt track prep became important in a long time but still, I guess I expected better. Even though a lot of the talk from last year’s race was positive in many ways, the ones that seemed to enjoy it the most were the drivers. Most all of their comments were about how much fun it was and it was a challenge. From where I sat and what I watched, wasn’t all that interesting.

Look, I grew up around dirt track racing in Southern Illinois and, as I remember it, I witnessed better racing on our local tracks than I saw last year at Bristol. Sure I know that was long time ago and I was quite a bit younger but the racing at those tracks was very good and most always exciting. (I also don’t remember all the dust blocking the view and being able to see the racing even when they raced in the afternoons.) That is one thing I hope they have managed to get right this year. I don’t ever remember our tracks having to stop the racing and wet down the track to maintain a decent racing surface.

I admit, when we as a family moved to Florida, I lost track of dirt racing because, the tracks we frequented, were all asphalt. There were a couple of dirt tracks around but we didn’t go to those so I may not be the best person to ask about it.

What I do remember with fondness – and probably the closest we came to dirt track conditions in Florida – was when it rained a little before race-time. Cars from all the classes would go out and dry the track by driving around and around until we could get it back to a reasonable racing surface dryness. When it was wet it was slick. All of us would press the envelope and drive dirt track style, slipping and sliding sideways just like the dirt guys until it became raceable. To some, it may not have been much fun but to me, I learned a lot about car handling and keeping the car in control as well as having fun drying out the track and pressing the envelope.

Well, I guess that’s enough ranting and remembering times past and it’s time to move on to the present.

The race this year on the Dirt of Bristol is not only the second time on the track with new approaches to the dirt and the track but also with the new Next Gen car. Those two things almost make it the first time on the track again. I’m sure the teams learned something about setting up for the dirt from last time but it is also going to be a brand new experience because of the car. The practices have already shown the drivers a little glimpse of what they will be up against and, to this fan, it looked like they were getting the hang of it. I think it remains to be seen what the actual race will be like because there will be more cars on the track and not only will the drivers be contending with the track but also the other drivers. that always makes for interesting happenings.

At the time of this writing, qualifying hasn’t taken place so I don’t really know how the lineup will look. What I do know is that qualifying has very little to do with how the actual race will go. I’m sure track position will play major factor and I’m sure there will be quite a bit of bumping and grinding as the race progresses. That will likely be what makes it worth watching, if for no other reason than seeing how they all treat each other. I’m expecting there will be more than a little emotion and maybe even a few temper tantrums. I’m just not so sure that this year’s race will be as much fun for the drivers as they say last year’s was. Since they’ve had last year on the Bristol Dirt, they may be a bit more aggressive this year. Last year was fun for them. This year, well… I guess we’ll see…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 16, 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 At Martinsville Under The Lights

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

If there’s one thing likely about the Martinsville race this weekend, it’s that it will not be just another Saturday Night under the lights. You might be wondering why I would say that and I do have an answer for that question. It is, quite simply, because of the Next Gen car.

If any of you were watching the practices and the qualifying, you probably noticed several things stand out blatantly right from the beginning. First, some were shifting and some were not. After some that hadn’t had practice time on the track saw or heard the shifts of the drivers on the track, they realized they were also going to have to work on shifting in their practice and qualifying session and during the race. Second, many realized early they were going to have to work on saving their cars and tires for the long runs. Last weekend’s race proved that might be a complete necessity in Saturday night’s race. Third, it appeared many were locking up their left front tires. It wasn’t so bad while they were mostly running in single file or by themselves but, when it comes to race time, that could prove to be disastrous. If they want their tires to last through a tire and fuel run and maintain good track position, that can’t happen.

So, what else might be out of the ordinary from a Saturday night under the lights at Martinsville? Well, if you listen to the drivers, just about everything is a new learning experience.

It does appear that all of them are still in the steep learning curve brought about by the Next Gen car being put in play this season. One thing seems a little different to this fan though. It seems that not only are the veterans struggling to quickly learn how to drive the Next Gen car on the Martinsville “hairpin,” but the younger, less experienced drivers are also. That just might make this race even more emotional and interesting than usual and I’m willing to bet there will be some payback and heated “discussions” when all is said and done.

Personally, this fan doesn’t think this race will go at all according to usual plan. I think the crew chiefs and drivers will have to have a strategy and stick to it no matter what but, be willing to alter that strategy but if actions on the track warrant it. I kinda base that on the way things went last weekend with tire wear, pit stops and caution flags, etc. (You know, that’s the biggest reason Denny Hamlin won.) That’s also why I have spent a little time talking about the possibility of losing control in the corners when running side by side or making a move to pass. I think the corners are the place where some of the most drastic changes might be made in which of them are running up front. If there is close racing for the lead at any point, I do think the turns might be a bit precarious, especially for anyone on the outside of someone.

It was interesting to see the mixture of teams qualifying in the top ten. Of course, the Hendrick teams have three of them in the top eight. Once again, I don’t put a lot of stock in qualifying this year, especially with the Next Gen and 400 laps at Martinsville.

Martinsville is tough enough but running 400 laps offers a lot of opportunities to adjust on the car and learn what makes it go faster as the race progresses. That’s what makes it a little difficult to pick possible winners. I’m thinking the Fords look pretty fast and a quick look at the starting lineup says the Fords and Chevys could make a pretty good showing in tonight’s race. I’m not ruling out a possible Toyota victory and, judging how the Toyotas ran last weekend, they just might be the dark horses in this one.

So… here we are at Martinsville, well known for high emotions and hot tempers especially when it comes down to the end of the race. It has happened before and it could happen tonight depending on how things go. Like I said, this is short track racing under the lights on a Saturday night and anything can happen. We might just have some “heated discussions” following this one just like last night after the Xfinity race. (And please, don’t ask my opinion of Ty Gibbs and his, uh, “discussion” with Sam Mayer last night. Honestly… you don’t want to know…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 9, 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 Taking It Short Tracking At Richmond

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

I know this title sounds a little strange but it is true. The Next Gen car is taking it short tracking at Richmond and that also means it is taking it to the drivers and teams and another weekend of unknowns and learning experiences. To hear the drivers and crew chiefs talk, the next gen car is taking time to figure out and some are making headway and others are not. It seems the ones that aren’t are the ones that have been around in the Cup series longer and, as I have said before, it could just have a lot they need to forget about the old car and the years they had driving it.

So, this weekends race is on what is now a three-quarter mile track – which still qualifies it as a short track – and a track that was challenging before the Next Gen car. It is definitely going to be an interesting afternoon of racing and, to be honest, it could be another weekend that TrackHouse Racing stands out above the rest. I’m not saying they will, judging from where they qualified but, I’m not saying anything about qualifying as far as how the race will end.

Just a quick glance at the lineup for Sunday’s race shows that the Hendrick cars didn’t qualify all that well, except for William Byron qualifying outside pole. The rest of the HMS teams qualified fifteenth or worse. I guess you could ask the question do I think that’s where they will stay all race long or whether things might work out that they are up front. To be honest, I’m not sure. I do expect them to finish better than that but it also appears they have been struggling a little bit here and there lately. Will that continue into this weekend’s race at Richmond Raceway? That’s another question I don’t have a solid answer for. I’m sure that depends on how much they figure out between the first laps and the last one.

Once again Ryan Blaney has shown up with a fast racecar this weekend. He qualified on the pole and he has been running well all season so far this year. Yeah, I know the season is young and there is a lot more to go but, he is one to watch almost every week. From my view, he has had numerous opportunities to finish up front but circumstances have not allowed that to happen… yet! I expect Ryan will be a multiple race winner this season, although I’m not sure it will start this weekend. Of all the Fords, he has been one of the most consistently faster one to show up each weekend, so far.

Of the Penske teams, Ryan has been the best performer and he could take a win this weekend. He has a lot of challenges ahead at this feisty Richmond Raceway short track, but if he can avoid the pitfalls ahead of him, he just might take this trophy home.

First, he will have to stay ahead of one of the hottest performers this season and that would be Ross Chastain of Track House Racing. I never got to race against Ross because he is a lot younger than me but, he is from Alva and I am in Fort Myers. That’s not far away from me and I am happy to see him doing so well this season. He starts eighth and his teammate starts fourteenth but it wouldn’t surprise me to see both of them running for the win when it comes down to the time it counts. They both have some challenges ahead for them to finish up front but, I expect they will make it interesting.

So, let’s take a quick look at what this weekend might be like. One out of the four Hendrick cars are qualified in the top fourteen. Chase Elliott qualified fifteenth. whether or not William Byron or Chase Elliott can either stay out front or move out front is questionable. I not wishing them any bad luck but they have not shown a lot this weekend. The different Ford teams seem to be hit or miss on their speed and Richmond is a track that requires a lot of consistency.

Actually the Toyotas look to be in better shape but, well… you know how their season has gone so far. There are those that think Kyle Bush may win this one but this fan isn’t so sure. I mean, he hasn’t had the best of luck this year either. Of course I know racing luck can happen to anyone but he has had his share so far this season. The thinking may be true and he just might pull this one off. He will have to contend with his three teammates though. Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Christopher Bell are just as hungry and just as capable of winning this weekend as Kyle and I guess we’ll see when all is said and done.

From what this fan can determine from observing the practice and qualifying sessions is that there just might be one thing that makes a victory sure for any of the contenders this weekend. It looks like the keys to getting ahead and staying ahead are track position and managing the falloff of the handling and speed over all the laps of the stages. The one that can run consistently faster than the rest for the longest period of time will likely be the winner when this one is done. Well… that is unless they have to face those pesky green- white -checkers one or more times…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 2, 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

COTA Is Next For The Next Gen

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

What a difference a year makes. Last year at COTA there was the old car, the uncooperative weather, racing in the rain (I guess just to prove they could, no matter how bad the track got from the rain) and a rain shortened race. Oh, and I didn’t even mention some of the other things that were different last year, but last year won’t even be able to be compared with the race this year.

This year, things will be different for a lot of reasons. The weather looks like it’s going to cooperate, the teams have a few weeks under their belts with the Next Gen car, the drivers have much more time in the new car and there was practice and qualifying. I don’t know how important any of that is but I do know this years COTA race will definitely be different than last year.

One thing stands out very vividly to me about this year and that is the number of drivers that have taken advantage of a way to gain more track-time. Yeah, you guessed it, several are running in other series. Personally, I think that will be a definite advantage to those that take advantage of it even though the Next Gen car is nothing like the trucks or the Xfinity cars, it’s just gaining a better understanding of what to expect as a race progresses. The drivers will even tell you there is no substitute for time on the track, no matter which series it is.

Just as a quick example of what I mean by my above statements, I would point you to Kyle Larson and how many other types of races he enters week in and week out. I’ll even go a step further and mention how I think the younger, less Cup Series experienced drivers like Tyler Reddick, Chase Briscoe, Cole Custer, Austin Cindric and others. As I’ve said before, I believe the younger drivers have a lot less to forget about driving the old car compared to the new Next Gen car. The veterans in the series spent a lot of hours in the old car and it isn’t as easy to transition from the old to the new.

Once again, looking back to last year, it seemed some were able to handle the adverse conditions better than others and track position made a huge difference. By the end of the race last year There were two Hendrick drivers battling for the win. I’m not so sure it will be that way this weekend at COTA. I could be wrong and all four of the Hendrick teams could be up front, at least near the end. I’m not at all saying that’s the way it will go but, it is a possibility with the way all of them have been running so far this season. Chase Elliott is the only one of the Hendrick drivers that hasn’t won yet and he is one of the favorites as we approach the drop of the green flag on Sunday afternoon.

But, what about all those others?

Well… to be honest, there are more than a couple of names that standout to this fan. I’m not at all willing to name any names as shew-ins but the Fords and Toyotas have shown they did come to make it a race this weekend. After all, Ryan Blaney did win the pole – even after spinning into a soft-wall – and his Ford has to be considered as a possible front runner when it comes down to the last lap. After all, he has been running at or near the front at the end of several races lately. Another would be Cole Custer and he is starting right behind Ryan Blaney. Daniel Suarez and Tyler Reddick start outside of those two and staying up front and maintaining track position is one thing all four will want to do.

Personally, I’m not so sure having a good qualifying lap or two says anything about how the end of the race might look. Again, I say there is a very high likelihood one or more of the Hendrick teams will work their way to the front, even if it takes half of the race or more. I don’t expect them to remain mired in the pack and I’m not saying they will pull off the win but, it wouldn’t be the first time either. Chase Elliott has been known to qualify or start in the middle to the back of the lineup and still end up leading when it counts, especially on a road course. And then, there are all of those others that seem to excel on road courses these days. Yeah, I’m of the opinion the race this year won’t look at all like last year’s race. Well… that is until the last laps are in the book…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© March 26, 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 Car Takes On The New Atlanta

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

(Posted late due to technical problems)

I know you’ve heard all the talk about how the race this weekend is all about how the Next Gen Car is going to be taking on the “New” Atlanta Speedway. Well, some of that is just hype but, it is going to be a new experience, especially for the drivers, because of the many changes made at the track. We could go into detail about all the changes but I don’t think that is necessary because I know you’ve already done your own research and have your own opinions of the “new” Atlanta.

So, it’s the new car, at the newly configured track and a whole new notebook that needs to be made. Even NASCAR has decided this weekend’s race will be like the configuration of the cars for Daytona and/or Talladega. Because of the inclement weather, there was no qualifying so they will lineup in the usual fashion when they couldn’t qualify at all. At least they let them practice.

From what I could gather from the practice session the Hendrick teams, as a whole appeared to be struggling just a bit. Now I guess it is possible they were trying a whole different take on the session but they just didn’t look to have their usual speed. I think it is also possible they were sandbagging or trying to figure what they could discover for extended runs as they approach the 500 miles at the new Atlanta Speedway. There is no way to really tell what their agenda was during practice but you can bet they will be pressing the envelope to get their cars up front at the right times.

With all of the unknowns going into this race, it is interesting that the lineup is so much different than the practice times. Of course, this is also because of the inclement weather that got qualifying cancelled. What it looks like is that some of the faster cars are starting in the middle to the back of the lineup and those up front may have a tough time staying there. take for example, Ricky Stenhouse. Ricky is a good super speedway racer and could very well win this 500 miler. The problem is that he is starting very far back in the field along with a lot of the other faster cars. From this fan’s view, I believe this is what is going to make this a very intense race for a lot those miles.

One interesting thing about the practice, at least from this fan’s view, was how the JGR Toyotas were all in the top ten speed-wise. Of those four teams, Kyle Bush is the one starting closet to the front. This may or may not mean something for how the end of the Folds Of Honor Quick Trip 500 might end. Even though Kyle has had numerous trials recently, he has managed to be in the top of the field when it counts at the end of the races. Of course, he hasn’t won yet but did come within two or three laps of winning two weeks ago. That may mean something this Sunday afternoon since he is starting in the top five.

The top ten starters in the lineup for Sunday afternoon’s race shows five Fords. The winner from last week, Chase Briscoe, Ryan Blaney that has shown up every weekend so far running strong and Joey Logano, well know for running good at tracks like Daytona and Talladega. Does this mean anything of how the Fords are going to do Sunday afternoon? It could but I’m not so sure the starting lineup is going to look anything like the final results at the end of the 500 miles.

There are just too many unknowns going into this one. Kevin Harvick is starting eighth and, even though this is a totally different Atlanta track than he has won on several times in the past, he could end up breaking his winless streak with the win on Sunday afternoon. Now, I’m not saying he will… I’m just saying he could. Of course, Kurt Bush is starting right behind him in ninth and Aric Almirola is starting in tenth and both of them could pull of a victory, too.

Sandwiched in between those three Fords leading the way and the three I just mentioned are three very hungry drivers and they all drive Chevys. I’m talking about Tyler Reddick, Ross Chastain and Chase Elliott. I’m sure they will be pushing their way toward the front and probably leading at times. I’m not saying they will be out front at the end but I am sure they going to be very visible throughout the afternoon.

From this fan’s view, this will likely be a race with a lot of restrictor plate type racing and possibly a lot of carnage. There is just too much parity with this Next Gen car and that means there is going to be a lot of tight, bumper to bumper, door to door racing and possibly a first-time winner or a first-time winner this year. this one is hard to call when it comes to picking a winner but I do think it will come down to a last lap pass and maybe even overtime with a nice green-white-checker fight to the end…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© March 20, 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 Next Gen Challenge Was Phoenix

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

I thought I’d try something a little different for the last race of the West Coast swing. I thought I’d talk about it after the race had been run and I’m glad I made that decision. There isn’t really a lot of difference between talking about it before or after other than there are some more obvious things to mention, at least from my view. Having said that, there are several things that seem pretty obvious to this fan and one of them I think I have mentioned before. That would be that, in several ways, the Next Gen car favors the younger drivers. No, I’m not saying the veterans just don’t have what it takes to go fast in this car. What I’m saying – and have said – it is my opinion they have more to unlearn to make the switch to this Next Gen car.

It’s really no secret. Ask any of the drivers in the Cup series. The Next Gen car is a bear to drive and they are all trying to learn about it as fast as they can. They also say they are pressing the envelope to see just how far they can push it. They have a lot to learn and it does appear they are making headway, but it also obvious it is somewhat of a careful and slow process and they sometime push it too far and pay a price. Sometimes that price is heavy and sometimes, well, let’s just say the price and the damage may be light but hopefully they learned something in the process.

From my view, the hardest part is they don’t have a lot of time in the car at all and they definitely have to experiment and press the envelope at each of the tracks they visit. They just don’t have information in their notebooks for the tracks they face for the first time with the new Next Gen car. Although, looking at the results from this last weekend, having a previous practice session at this track before this last weekend’s race did seem to help some of the teams’ performance.

It does appear, at least for the present, the Hendrick cars are just slightly ahead of the rest and they have dominated – at least in the win column – the tracks in the West Coast Swing. All of that changed at Phoenix and the Fords – well at least some of them showed there was still hope for them as the weeks progress.

Why do I say that? Well… That’s a good question and I’m glad you asked.

With the way things started out this last weekend, it was another one of those times it looked like any of the manufacturers could win and the Fords and Toyotas both looked pretty strong. Ryan Blaney took the pole and Denny Hamlin sat beside him on the front row. Of course, then the race started and the Chevys once again moved to the front. At times all four of the Hendrick teams were in the top ten and the Chevy teams, overall, looked to be ready to potentially win and finish high in the running order.

Of course, you know what happened at the end of the race; Chase Briscoe in a Ford won the race and there were five Fords, two Chevys and two Toyotas in the top ten. Surprisingly to me, the Hendrick Chevys weren’t in the top ten even though all four of them had looked to be able to take the win earlier in the race. I do wonder what might have happened had Kyle Larson not had an engine problem.

So… Chase Briscoe won his first race in his cup series career and congrats to him and SHR. It wasn’t just given to him, he had to drive for it. Once again, Ross Chastain and Tyler Reddick showed they are both on the road to possibly winning in the Cup series as they finished second and third. Even the older veterans Kurt Bush, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Bush showed up in the top ten at the end. Can’t help but wonder how their winless streaks might be affected in the near future.

I could probably go on and on talking of all the little things that stood out to me at Phoenix but I don’t want to drag this out any further. After all, the race is over, someone driving something other than a Hendrick car won a race and the stage is set for all to move on to Atlanta. What happens there is as yet unknown but we all know it will be another new track for the Next Gen car and the learning curve will continue for all the Cup teams. Whether or not the Hendrick teams will still lead the way or one of the other teams will begin to show the way remains to be seen. I’m betting Atlanta will show more of the same we’ve seen so far. The Next Gen car will still be a beast to drive and someone is going to win. I’m just not sure which of them is going to step up to the plate…

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