Cup Teams Take It To Richmond

from a NASCAR Fan’s View

The Cup teams take it to Richmond this weekend and that makes three short tracks in a row for this 2021 NASCAR Cup Season. There is something different about this weekend though; Martin Truex Jr comes into this weekend as the first repeat winner this season and Richmond is a place he usually has a strong performance. That may or may not mean something, especially if that thing called momentum actually shows itself to mean something this weekend.

In reality, there is no guarantee Truex will have another good weekend and there is no guarantee he will walk away from this weekend with a win. Yes, he has had strong performances over the last few years but, in racing, momentum and that thing called “racing luck” can turn on a dime.

There are a few other factors that may go against him this weekend. One of the biggest is there are several other drivers that usually perform well at Richmond and any one of them could take the win this weekend. Beside the fact they usually perform well at Richmond, they are all hungry for their first win of the 2021 season. Of course I know you’ve likely been hearing their names all week long but, I’d like to repeat the ones I’m thinking of at the moment. Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Bush and, of course, Kyle Bush. All of these drivers have consistently finished in the top ten numerous times over the last several years and, barring unforeseen happenings, they are generally expected to do the same this weekend.

So… other than Martin Truex Jr, which of the drivers I just listed has the best chance to finish at or near the front by race end? From this fan’s view, I think the first name that pops is Denny Hamlin. In this 2021 season, he has been the most consistent finisher and has the points to prove it. He has pretty much done everything but win this season so far. Does that mean I’m picking him to win this Sunday afternoon? Nope, that’s not what I’m saying at all. I just saying he is one of the most likely to finish the day at or near the front. I’m just not so sure his time has arrived.

When it comes to Kurt Bush, he has had a relatively disappointing year so far and I’m not sure he is ready to break out of his rut yet. Of course, I could be wrong but, I think they are in for a bit of a struggle to turn things around this weekend. The same goes for Kevin Harvick. He just hasn’t shown his usual strength yet this season. I think if you asked him, he would agree. Things just haven’t totally clicked for them yet.

I expect Brad Keselowski will have one of two types of days this Sunday. Either he will run up front and possibly even win or, he will get caught up in someone else’s problem and end up with a bad day. Now, I know that’s not a pleasant thought for him or his fans but, unfortunately, it does appear to be the way his season has gone up to this point. Don’t count him out though. He could turn it around on Sunday.

That brings us to Kyle Bush. From this fan’s view, it could go either way for him on Sunday afternoon. Kyle just hasn’t looked like usual Kyle this season. He has struggled almost every week and this may be just another frustrating race for him. Why has he struggled so much the last two seasons? Well… I would like to offer my opinion and it is strictly from observing him and forming an opinion that could be totally wrong.

You see, considering there has been no or very little practice or qualifying the last two seasons, I think he is one that depends on those two things to tweak his car to his liking more than others do. He has even admitted to this recently and I do think it has something to do with his performance over these last two seasons. Now remember, before you get all upset, this is just MY OPINION and, as things stand right now, I’m entitled to that, right? I guess he could prove me wrong by winning this weekend but, I’m not so sure that’s the way it’s going to go down…

Even though it pains me to say it, I think the Chevys have their work cut out for themselves this weekend. Sure, I know they could show me something this weekend but, I’m just not so sure they will. I may be sticking my neck out a little but I do think they have a chance, especially the Hendrick Chevys. Chase Elliott, William Byron, Kyle Larson and, yes, Alex Bowman could step up and surprise everyone this weekend. It’s not that they haven’t had the speed in my opinion but, they have just not shown the consistency in recent weeks. We all know Chase and Alex have had their share of bad luck and mistakes but, they have also had times they’ve shown they could win “if only” certain things hadn’t happened the way they did. The performance has been there, they just haven’t put it to good use. This weekend could be a turnaround for the two Hendrick teams that haven’t taken a win yet but, from this fan’s view, a lot is going to have to go right for them and, as I said earlier, they do have their work cut out for them…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 17, 2021 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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