MENCS At NHMS from a NASCAR Fan’s View


Rusty Norman

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will take on the New Hampshire Motor Speedway this Sunday afternoon but, from this fan’s view, there’s not a whole lot of anything new to talk about. Well… at least from the standpoint of which drivers and teams are fastest and expected to contend for the win. Probably the only surprise for this fan was that Kurt Bush won the pole. It still remains to be seen whether or not that will make a difference for him at the end of the day when it comes time to take that final black and white checkered flag.

A look at the recent history at New Hampshire would shade the end results towards the Toyotas. They have led a lot of laps at the track and Denny Hamlin, Kyle Bush and Martin Truex Jr. look plenty strong for the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 in their Toyotas. Of course it’s never a given for one driver or make to take the victory in any NASCAR cup race. That being said, the Toyotas look as good for the win as any of the others.

Another thing about the Toyotas is how many wins two of the Toyota drivers have this season. With Kyle Bush having five and Martin Truex Jr. having four, well, that adds up to a lot of wins. Add to that the win by Erik Jones and you see just how strong they’ve been over the course of the season. They have won almost half the races so far this year and Martin Truex Jr. is looking a lot like he did last season when he won the Cup Championship.

Look, I’m not making any predictions about this race or which of the drivers might win the Championship, but, the Toyotas do look awfully strong, over all, and they have been looking their best on the season over the last several races. Even Denny Hamlin is threatening to join the mix and could be the winner on Sunday afternoon. I hate to sound cliché, but he is about due to win one and we all know he can (and probably will) win one soon.

I know it looks like I’m saying the Toyotas are the favorites to win on Sunday but I’m not. One look at the Fords and their performance so far this weekend kind of squashes that thinking. With Kurt Bush sitting on the pole and looking at the practice times of the other Stewart/Haas Fords, it does look like it will be another Ford/Toyota matchup for the win. Ryan Blaney isn’t looking too bad in his Ford either. He could be another contender as the laps dwindle down to the final ones and end up in Victory Lane. (Of course you know there’s no way I can rule out another possible win by Kevin Harvick either. He has looked strong almost every weekend and I don’t expect this one to be any different.) And then there’s Clint Bowyer.

The Penske Fords of Brad K. and Joey Logano haven’t made a lot of noise recently but that doesn’t mean they can be counted out when it comes to the final laps. They haven’t looked too dominant but they have shown some strength almost every week even though they haven’t shown up in Victory lane. Of the two, I think Brad would be my choice to take the win. Well… that is ‘IF’ I were picking winners, (which I’m not.)

Okay, I’m guessing you’ve noticed I haven’t said a whole lot about the Chevys. There is a really good reason for that. Mostly it’s because there just isn’t that much to talk about when it comes to the them. They just don’t have the speed of the other two makes. I’m not convinced they’re going to find more speed in the new Camaros they’re working with. From my view and in my opinion, I don’t see much change coming for them, especially by the end of the season. In this fan’s opinion, I really don’t expect to see any Chevys competing for the Championship at the end of the year. There has to be a reason why they are struggling so much and though there have moments they looked like they were making headway, they just haven’t been able to show it at the end of a race.

Personally, unless the Fords switching to the Mustangs next year is as much of a disaster for them as it has been for the Chevys switching to Camaros, I think the Chevy camps are going to have to rethink or redesign what they have. I realize Kyle Larson seems to have consistently been the only real bright moment for the Chevy camps this season but, even he hasn’t been able to win yet.

Yeah, I do remember the Toyotas struggled when they first changed to the Camrys but they didn’t seem to hit a plateau they couldn’t get past and now look at them, especially at New Hampshire. Though it’s true the Chevys have had some bright moments this season (and I stress the word “some”) they just aren’t competing on the same level with the Fords and Toyotas at all.

So far this season, if I’m driving a Chevy, believe me… I just ain’t all that happy…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© July 21, 2018 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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