Cup Teams Taking It To Richmond

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Well… It’s that time again. Time for the Cup teams to take it to Richmond. This could be just another weekend but some things have changed since the last time drivers took to the track. There have been rule changes and they will likely have an effect on the way the cars handle and it just might be a totally different race than the last time the Cup drivers were there. Less downforce is the main difference and it just might make everything, well… how do I want to say this, different from the track to the pits.

That ‘s not the only things different this weekend though. First of all, there was no practice and no qualifying. In my opinion, the teams have become quite familiar with that situation but, there are a few other things that might affect the outcome of this one.

The Hendrick teams did have a victory over their being penalized a couple of weeks ago and the outcome of that changes the way the teams will lineup in the Toyota Owners 400. What do I mean by that? This won’t be news to anyone that follows NASCAR Cup racing even a little closely but, they did get their points back and it changes the way they line up. It also affects where they will be in their pit selections. Alex Bowman starts on the pole because of the return of points to the teams and the whole lineup is affected by the return of those points to the Hendrick teams.

So, what’s the big deal about the return of the points to the Hendrick teams? Well, at least from this fan’s view, it kinda puts them back in the game for the end of the year. Sure, it’s true some of them were performing good enough to probably get back to where they are now by the end of the season but this expedited the whole situation. The Hendrick teams started off the season strong and were out front almost every week. The penalties put a damper on their situation but it remains to be seen if this situation gives them a lift. After all, they have been running strong even with their regular crew chiefs missing from the pit boxes.

This is just an observation from this fan’s view but, Kyle Larson’s season so far reminds me of words to the song from the old Hee Haw TV show; “If it weren’t for bad luck, he’d have no luck at all.” From my view, he has had the worst luck of all the Hendrick teams. Last weekend was no different. He looked to have a car that could have possibly won but he was bitten by the old nemesis of all racers, “Racing Luck.” It has been a tough year for someone that started off the year so strong. Just about anything that could go wrong has gone wrong for the number five team and last week was no different.

Now look, I’m not saying some of it hasn’t been his fault but, for the most part, it’s just stuff happening. I can’t help but wonder if this might be the week that things begin to turn around for him. Considering how he’s been running and where he’s been finishing, something good is bound to happen for him. So far it’s just been a struggle but that usually doesn’t last for long and things do quite suddenly turn around when it comes to racing, especially in NASCAR.

So far this season, it has been mostly a Chevy show. Things are beginning to change though and all three of the manufacturers are beginning to run up front. Every week, the Fords and Toyotas look to be catching up to the Chevys strong start and it could be a very interesting time ahead.

Now that I’ve given so many accolades to the Chevys, I have to say the Fords have shown their moments in the front. Go back a couple of weeks and you find Joey Logano dominating at Atlanta. He didn’t just win he did dominate that day and the Fords are beginning to show more signs of life every weekend.

Along with the dominating performance of Logano at Atlanta, last week’s race was about the same for the Toyotas and Tyler Reddick’s performance. Even though he was hard pressed by the Chevy of William Byron, he was definitely the fastest and strongest car at COTA.

You see, that’s what makes this so difficult. Every time you think you know how things are going to go, someone shows up and changes how you have to look at the races and which of the drivers and teams will win. For a while it looked to me and this was going to be a Chevy year and the others were going to be playing catch up for most of it.

Without the practice and the qualifying happening this weekend, it is difficult to say what will happen in this Richmond race but I expect it will be a good one. Right now, I’m leaning toward a strong Chevy performance. But with the latest races in the last two weeks, It could be anybody’s race and it could be someone totally unexpected. How’s that for having a grip on what you think might happen… ?

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 2, 2023 – all rights reserved
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