A Few Thoughts on the First Five and Martinsville From A NASCAR Fan’s View

Rusty NormanOkay… this fan has kept silent long enough and it’s time to offer my view of the NASCAR Sprint Cup series so far this year. It is also time to get back into my weekly articles and podcasts (although the podcasts will have to wait a bit longer simply because my voice just won’t cooperate yet. Honestly, it has been a tough couple of months – health wise – and I am more than ready to get back into the swing of things. (Nothing serious going on with my health, I just think my body decided to catch everything it could and get it all over in one long month and a half… ha, ha.)

I’m not sure how some will take my comments and opinion of the racing in the Cup series so far this year and, let me tell you right up front, I welcome your opinions and agreement or disagreement at any time, but, I’m going to give you mine, too.

First of all, I have had a hard time deciding on which of the drivers I would like follow as a favorite. With the retirement of Jeff Gordon, the injuries sustained by Tony Stewart (putting a cramp in his year of retirement) and an overall lack of performance from some others I’d like to see do well, I just haven’t been able to get too excited with anyone yet. In fact, it pains me to see a few that I’ve not been all that fond of anyway over the last couple of years doing better than I would like for them to. That’s just my way of showing you that this fan has drivers he likes and ones he doesn’t even though he does have at least moderate respect for all of them.

Second, the first races of the season weren’t really all that exciting (at least from this fan’s view) and I was really disappointed with it starting at Daytona. Even the 500 was a bit of a letdown to me and it just wasn’t like Daytona’s of the past few years. Throughout the race I kept looking for something to attract or keep my attention but overall, most of the race was rather lack luster until the final few laps. So as fans, we all had to sit through about 490 some miles to get to what some called “an exciting finish!” Honestly, in this fan’s opinion, it wasn’t really worth the wait to see such ho-hum racing for all but the last few laps. I realize in racing it isn’t over until the checkered flag drops but without much of anything going on for most of the race until the last two laps, we might as well just have ten lap sprints and see who comes out on top. At least from my view, that would be much more exciting.

The next two races at Atlanta and Las Vegas were very much like the way things went at Daytona. I, as a fan, sat through all of the laps of the races finding myself having trouble staying interested. If it weren’t for some of the drama going on in the pits both Atlanta and Vegas would have been some of the most unexciting Sprint Cup races I’ve experienced in recent years. If it weren’t for the last couple of laps in both of them I just may have come away with an attitude worse than I already had.

I’m not sure whether it is the new rules package or just because I’ve had trouble staying interested without a favorite to root for to win. It hasn’t helped that some of what I would call my favorites haven’t performed like had hoped they would but so far, something is missing from this season but I’m just not sure what it is yet. It could be me or it could be that the racing just hasn’t been that good in this early part of the season but whatever it is I am hoping it will get better or I may have to take up golf.

Now that I’ve said all of that (and I could say more but I won’t) I would like to say a few words about Martinsville, one of the toughest short tracks on the NASCAR circuit. Although the year is a new year and there are a few new faces around the Sprint Cup side of things in NASCAR, some things never seem to change. Martinsville has all the things drivers and fans alike love about racing. There will be contact, impatience and tempers that flare. All of those things are what so many love about their own local short tracks and that is the drama, intensity and emotion that goes with the territory. As all of us that grew up around our local short tracks know, “rubbin’ is racing” and there will be plenty of that at Martinsville Sunday afternoon.

Although some have already made their choice for taking the win, I am still a little undecided. There has been talk of Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson taking the win simply because of their past performances. Those are all good choices but I’m not so sure this Sunday’s race won’t be won by the likes of Kyle Larson, Chase Elliot or maybe even Carl Edwards. Martinsville has often been a place of surprises and I think this weekend could prove to be as surprising as any. I would be a bit surprised if either Larson or Elliot wins their first race in the Sprint Cup series but I refuse to discount the possibility of someone like Jimmie Johnson taking home another Grandfather Clock when this one is over…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 2, 2016 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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