Cup Teams Take On Talladega With The Next Gen

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Well, it’s time for the NASCAR Cup teams to take on the Talladega Super Speedway again, but this time it’s with the Next Gen car and they won’t get any practice time. This time, they jump right onto the track with qualifying and then they don’t get in the car again until tomorrow afternoon when it’s time to race. Of course, as a disclaimer, NASCAR did give them a lot of practice time when they visited Daytona in February. It is good that they got the extra time there and, hopefully, what they learned there will transfer to the track at Talladega. That goes not only for the drivers and teams but also for Goodyear and the type tires they have brought for the teams to use on Sunday afternoon.

So, before I move on to the Talladega race, I just have to say a few words about last weekend’s race at Bristol. I have heard so many say so much about last weekend’s race and most of it has been heaping accolades on as a whole. I don’t disagree with that, at least for the most part but, I still wasn’t as impressed as many others were. There was a great improvement in the track conditioning even though there were some weather delays at different times.

I also admit the racing was better but it was also a bit disappointing at times (at least form this fan’s view.) There was no one at fault for that but the one thing that would have made it better for me was, when Tyler Reddick and Chase Briscoe got together, that Tyler would have gotten straightened out and been able to pull up in front of Kyle Bush and won the race anyway. Now that would have been a great finish to the race in my book. I still say that the drivers are the ones that enjoy the Bristol Dirt more than anyone (and that I DO understand.)

One other thing, before I move on. I think it is interesting when Kyle basically has a race handed to him even though he was about a straightaway behind, he feels different about his win than when it happens to Alex bowmen. Even though he sounded much more reasonable in the post-race interview and admitting JGR still has ground to make up, I still found it interesting the difference in attituded.

So, getting back to Talladega … if anything shows up as really different this weekend, at least from this fan’s view, it would be the difference of the ones showing the most speed in qualifying and the ones that appeared to be struggling a bit. It was sort of a shock to see the JGR Toyotas taking up the front row. More often than not lately, the Hendrick cars often took those spots.

This weekend, it appears there might be a shift in strategy. I could be mistaken – and I know I’m not the only one that thinks this way – but usually the fastest cars in qualifying don’t necessarily run the fastest in the race. Could it be that it’s just a difference in having no practice and missing the setup tweaks or just because the JGR teams have found something they’ve been missing in the first races of the season. Sure, I know the Chevys have shown some speed in qualifying on the Super Speedways but, for the first time in a while, the first Hendrick team is Kyle Larson and he is starting sixth with William Byron starting in eighth. A closer look at the top twelve shows there are six Toyotas and six Chevys. The first Ford is Joey Logano in thirteenth followed by the Chevy of Austin Dillon and the Ford of Brad Keselowski.

The Fords have usually been the ones leading the pack near the end of the Super Speedway races recently but that could be because of the Chevys and Toyotas being taken out during one of the “Big Ones” earlier in a race. It seems the Chevys in particular have been caught up in those and that could be the reason they just haven’t been around at the end of the day, at least not up front.

It remains to be seen which of the manufacturers will end up working the best together and which ones can maintain their track position throughout the many laps as they work toward the last fifty laps or so. From my view, I think the usual ones will be up front at the end of the day but there could be a surprise winner and shake up everything. I’m thinking there could be a Chevy in Victory Lane at the end of this one but I can’t rule out any of the others either simply because of the evident speed in the Toyota camps and the usual dominance of the Fords at the end of a Super Speedway race.

Do the Toyotas have some new found speed? Were the Chevys holding back hoping to use a little different strategy in this one? Are the Fords showing all they’ve got or are they just waiting for the race to take it to the rest? There’s only one thing that will prove it one way or another and that’s when the green flag drops and they drop the hammer…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 23, 2022 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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