Cup Teams Take It To The Magic Mile     

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

There are those looking for magic at the Magic Mile this weekend and there are some that need it more than others. Some are looking for a victory to cinch their spot in the playoffs. They may have enough points to make it in but all it takes is one or two unexpected winners and the whole thing could come down to having to have a win before the regular season ends.

Things are a little different this weekend. The rains kept the cup teams from qualifying and they only got about six or seven laps of practice before things were called off for the Cup teams. There is still a chance for weather to make an impact on today’s race but that won’t be known until time for the race. Teams will be winging it for the first part of the race and going on old notes. That may or may not make a bit of difference for the end result but, as I just stated, things are a little different this weekend.

The lineup is based on the algorithm NASCAR uses when things like the rain keeps them from qualifying. But then you already know that. My question is just how much of a difference will it make on how this race goes. I mean, it is pretty much a total shakeup of the way the teams will line up and where they will pit.

Because of the lack of qualifying, Chase Elliott starts on the pole and gets the number one pit stall and some of the ones that may have qualified better than the algorithm placement will start in the middle to the back of the pack. That could be a two-edged sword when it comes to the race. The Magic Mile is a hard track to pass on and this is not a long race, only 301 laps.

From this fan’s view, I believe the drivers starting in the top ten will have a definite advantage, at least at the start of the race and probably through out the first stage. That means there are some very good cars that will be starting further back in the field and that means they will have to be aggressive to make their way toward the front. Once again, that two-edged sword comes into play. Because this is a short race on a fast track that is hard to pass on, their aggressive attack could spell trouble for them as they try to pick their way to the front. I’m not saying their plight is impossible but it is, or will be, a bit precarious.

What I’m saying is, just take a look at where some of the possible winners have to start from. Tyler Reddick starts twelfth, Denny Hamlin starts fourteenth, Chris Buescher fifteenth, Ty Gibbs eighteenth, Kyle Larson nineteenth, Austin Cindric twenty ninth and Kyle bush thirtieth. Those are some pretty strong teams and I expect them to move aggressively toward the front as quickly as they can manage their way through pack. That puts them in a situation where they could cause or get caught up in someone else’s mistakes.

Another problem these will likely face is that the front runners aren’t going to wait around for them to catch up. Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney will try and put the rest of the field as far back from them as they can, plus the rest of the top ten is full of some very strong cars and I expect they will make it as difficult as they can for those others to catch and pass them. From this fan’s view, that means this is likely to be an interesting and tight race with lots of emotion because of the aggression this fan expects to see.

So, along with all of those situations just mentioned, strategy is going to play a very important part of this one. As usual, it is expected that tire management is going to be a must depending on how the race pans out. The pressure is going to be on the drivers, the crews and the crew chiefs throughout the race today and the ones with the least mistakes will likely end up ruling the day.

In the end, this fan expects to see several of those starting in the middle to the back of the field pressing the envelope for the win at the end. As I mentioned, that is going to take strategy and a lack of mistakes from the drivers and the crews.

Of course, a little luck can’t hurt either…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© June 23, 2024 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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