Cup Teams Take It To the Lady In Black

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Darlington… yeah, that’s one name for it. Another is, “The Lady In Black.” Another is, “The Track Too Tough To Tame,” and it is the track the Cup teams are going to “attack” today and I believe that is exactly what they are going to do; attack “The Track To Tough To Tame.”

Everyone knows the track this week is one of the oldest tracks in the series and it has always been one of the toughest tracks, so I guess you can say it literally lives up to its name. It is tough on tires – always has been. It’s a challenge to drive with the difference between turns one and two and three and four and it’s tough on the drivers even though most of them love the track. The preferred line is right up next to the wall but you have to be able to run low as well. It is a track that makes for very exciting racing.

It looks like the Toyotas have found some speed again this weekend and they start one-two on the front row. Of course the Chevys take up the next three and a half rows before there are two more Toyotas. The Fords don’t show up until the tenth and eleventh spots so, from this fan’s view, it looks like they are still searching for a little speed, at least for qualifying. (And well… you already know how I feel about the difference between qualifying laps and racing laps.)

So… does it really look like it could be a repeat of last weekend with a Toyota taking the victory? Well… it could be but, I’m really not so sure. The Chevys have been showing a lot of speed most all season and it seems the Toyotas are just now coming to life. Well, at least finishing up front that is. JGR has two races in a row and they look to be a force arriving at the right time. Of course, they do have a better showing on the length tracks we are coming to than they did on the shorter tracks.

Now, what about the Fords? All the Fords have been struggling when it comes down to the final laps of the races. They only have one win this season and that was Joey Logano. Realistically, I’m sure Joey could have a run for the victory today but, he has been struggling recently. I’m not sure if they are really struggling or if, since they have a win in the bank, they’re just not just trying a lot of things before they get to the meat of the season. It could be they have found all the things that don’t work and they will start honing their results to be at full strength when it comes down to the playoffs. (Can you tell I don’t trust anyone when it comes to racing results until the playoffs start? But then again, they may be truly struggling and it only follows that they will find their way…)

Another Ford that might be a threat today at Darlington would be Ryan Blaney, at least from this fan’s view. He has been about the most consistent Ford most of the season. He has always shown up with speed, it’s just they haven’t closed the deal yet. I do think the fords will figure out their problems and the speed will follow and turn into winning ways. It’s just not like them to stay down for an entire season and there are several that do show signs of life whether or not they have been running up front.

Once again, I have to say the Toyotas do look strong for the race today. Both Martin Truex Jr. and Bubba Wallace qualified with good speed and just by starting up front could be an advantage for them. I won’t rule out their Toyota teammates either because Denny Hamlin, Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick have been showing speed just about every weekend so there is no way to rule them out of running for the win today. When it comes to Ty Gibbs, well, I just don’t know. He has been running good but just hasn’t been able to close the deal at the end of a race. Of course, as good as the Toyotas and Ty have been running, he could show the way at the end of this one. (Notice I’m not saying he will; I’m just saying he could…)

I just can’t close this out without mentioning the Chevys, many of them, have once again shown up with speed and any one of several of them could take it to victory lane today. Chase Elliott, William Byron, Kyle Larson, Kyle Bush, Ross Chastain and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – any of them could pull off a victory and that’s just to name several. There are others but, it comes down to this. I think it is going to be a day where the Toyotas and Chevys fight it out to the very end. Of course, when it comes down to it, the Toyotas could dominate the whole thing 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 14, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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