The 2012 Shootout at Daytona from a NASCAR Fan’s View

Rusty NormanWell, its that time again and the Shootout at Daytona tonight should give us all a good look at how things might shape up for next weekend at the super-speedway for the Daytona 500. Of course we all know the Shootout is a bit different than the race next weekend but, as a fan, I think it will give insight as to what we can expect when it comes down to the actual racing.

NASCAR has done all it can to minimize the two car draft (or the two car tandem as some still like to say) and that means we should see a whole lot more pack racing. That means we should see two and three wide racing with a little bit of the two car draft thrown in at strategic moments for a couple of cars to hopefully blast by the rest. At least, that is the word around the Daytona Super Speedway at the moment.

Personally, I like the fact there could be more two and three wide pack racing because as a fan the two car draft is relatively boring to watch for 500 miles. Of course, if you listen to the drivers they would also rather do pack racing them the two car tandem draft. They also say it is less stressful than the two car draft. One thing I notice about the pack racing is at any moment they can have the “Big One” and that has to weigh on their minds. From this fan’s view, I have to admit that I have always liked the pack racing much better than the two car draft.

I think NASCAR made a good move when they decided to try and minimize the two-car draft during the Super Speedway races. I also am happy that they’ve eliminated communication between the drivers in case they do want to do the two-car draft. It will be good to see them get back to racing for the win themselves rather than having to depend upon a partner to get or stay up front. That doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to use the two-car draft to go forward or take the win but, it does mean that the two-car draft will be used as a tool rather than a strategy. It is still very obvious that when two cars look up via the two-car draft, they’re noticeably faster than a single car or a line of cars.

As expected, electronic fuel injection isn’t, and won’t be, very noticeable as far as performance on the track is concerned. However, there may be some situations that arise because of the electronic fuel injection, whether it be during pit stops or at other times, simply because some of that information won’t be gained until it’s in the heat of the battle. I’m not really looking for that to be a difficulty for the engineers for the teams because they seem to have no trouble figuring things out at any other time. I’m just glad that they’re not doing it in the middle of the season. I’m also glad that all the teams are facing the same problems at the same time.

This fan is looking forward to the race tonight and is certainly glad that the 2012 NASCAR season is starting. With all of the changes that have been made since Homestead in 2011, I think it will prove to be a very interesting season. Yes, there are still 26 races to go and then 10 in The Chase but there are also a lot of unknowns as we go forward into the year.

Will this year be as exciting as last year last year? Who’s going to win tonight? Will they have a Big One tonight? All of that remains to be seen but one thing is certain – anything can happen tonight and probably will, but, only part of what we get to watch tonight will carry over into next weekend. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get started…

By the way, just in case you’re wondering who I think is going to win tonight, I’m going to stick my neck way out and say it is going to be one of the Hendrick drivers. Dale Jr? (Yeah, could be.) Kasey Kahne? (Uh, maybe.) Jimmie Johnson? (Hm-m-m.) Jeff Gordon? (Possibly…) Of the four, probably Dale Jr is the most likely in my book followed by Jeff Gordon, but my picking the winner for the Shootout is like naming the Champion for the year before the first race is run… If it happens the way I say, it would just be dumb luck.

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© February 18, 2012 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman and Nascarfansview.com
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