There are a lot of things that have been said about the Martinsville Speedway and everyone has just about worn out the phrases over the past week. In fact, there are a lot of things that are said about Martinsville every time the teams in all three NASCAR series visit the place. We all already know it is what most consider a short track and it is a challenging flat track with tight racing and very little room for passing. I guess I can’t overlook that many consider it as a place for “payback” no matter how long ago there might have been an on-track incident or a continuing long-running memory incident of someone feeling as though they were wronged by another driver someplace along the way.
That’s just the usual talk of a racetrack with so much history of all kinds when it comes to short tracks, well known for the intensity and emotion that surfaces at them. That’s probably why so many love short tracks. It’s the fan’s type of race. Emotions always seem to run high along with rivalries and fans hate to see their favorites run over or wrecked and love it when their driver does take an opportunity to give a little (or a lot of) payback.
You know what I mean, don’t you? Chase somebody down or wait for them and the opportunity to give that someone a shove out of the way or into the wall. There is little likelihood someone will get physically hurt but, there is the likelihood they might have their race or season ruined, at least for that moment in time and, come away a little angry and carry that anger or grudge to the next short track. When it comes to NASCAR, that incident might live on in video for a very long time and be used as an example of just how emotional and intense stock car racing can be.
This weekend at Martinsville will probably be a little more intense and emotional than usual since this is an elimination race and there are seven drivers not qualified to move on to the Cup Championship race at Phoenix next weekend. Some of the seven are in a must-win situation. If things go as they have recently, all of the seven might be in a must-win situation and you can bet that will make for some very dramatic and intense racing, along with a lot of pushing and shoving and moving people out of the way.
Some say the possibilities are very high, Kyle Larson, could finish out the season with five straight wins and walk away with the 2021 NASCAR Cup Championship and trophy. Even though he admits he struggles at Martinsville and doesn’t always run well there, I think that is a good possibility also. After all he already has three in a row, twice this season and has won ten Cup races, counting the All-Star race. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see him walk away with 12 wins on the season and the 2021 Cup Championship to boot. He’s having a very special year and anything is still possible.
On the other hand, there are still those seven other drivers that want to be a part of the Championship four and they will probably be willing to do just about anything at the Martinsville Speedway to take the win. Martinsville is just that kind of place. It doesn’t seem to matter what the consequences might be, or what driver they make mad along the way. It’s all about winning this weekend and more than just the seven still in the playoffs want to take that clock home for taking the win. (Do the names Tyler Reddick and Kevin Harvick come to mind?)
I know you’ve heard just about every possibility of what might or will happen in this race. For the last two weeks, we have been inundated with the names of Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin have been offered as the most likely to succeed this weekend at Martinsville. Even though we all know statistics say something about performance, past and present, this fan thinks this is going to be as unpredictable as any we’ve seen. There are just too many possibilities that aren’t explained by the stats. there are just too many that want to win this one and might be willing to do just about anything to do so. Where does that leave the likes of Brad K, Ryan Blaney and Kyle Bush. All of them have a chance to win but, will they?
Even though Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin look to have a good points cushion, there is no guarantee for them to make it to the Championship four. All it takes is for some bad decisions and/or a little bad racing luck to change their whole situation. Of course, everyone on the track will be at the mercy of others’ possible mistakes or fits of anger and retaliation.
In this fan’s opinion and at the time of this writing, no one is guaranteed to move on in the Cup series except Kyle Larson. The rest of them will be fighting it out to the very end and I expect the intensity and emotions to be running very high…
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 30, 2021 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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From a NASCAR Fan’s View