NASCAR Cup Teams Take On Martinsville


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Well, it appears that NASCAR just can’t catch a break this year. Martinsville is just another weekend of several so far this season with rain in the forecast. Even though rain is something all racers have to deal with at some time or other and it is to be expected, rain is not and has never been a friend of stock car racing. In fact, in looking at the weather forecast for the weekend it appears that there could be showers on Sunday afternoon also although the percentage for the chance of rain is very low. But no matter how you look at it, rain and racing are generally not good for fan turnout especially if the weather is a bit chilly along with the rain.

If they do get to race on Sunday afternoon, (or even if they have to move to Monday), Martinsville will be short tracking at its best. It is one of the best anywhere and reminds all of us of the type racing most of us grew up around. To be honest, this fan thinks that short track racing is probably some of the most exciting NASCAR racing that we see. I know I will get some arguments about that, in particular from those of you that like restrictor plate racing, and that’s okay because I like them both, but I am just a bit more partial to short tracks.

I really don’t think, or maybe I should say I don’t really expect to see that many differences in the ones that are running up front this weekend from any other time NASCAR Cup teams visit Martinsville. Kyle Busch definitely runs well at Martinsville along with Jeff Gordon, Jimmy Johnson and Denny Hamlin. Of course I have to add to that mix Matt Kenseth, Clint Boyer and Brad Keselowski and a number of others. I do have to admit I’m anxious to see how the racing goes on this popular short track this year if for no other reason than the rule changes and the higher speeds. I’m really not expecting a lot of tire problems even though it is a possibility again this weekend.

It seems that Goodyear (at least from this fan’s view) thinks that it’s the crew Chiefs and teams that are trying to gain more speed out of the cars and therefore they don’t run enough air pressure. According to Goodyear, that’s what caused, or at least contributed to all the tire problems last weekend. I’m not so sure I agree with that but it is likely that they are right simply because there were some teams that didn’t have any tire problems and there were others that had a lot of tire problems. One would think however that once the teams started having the problems, they would make changes to their setups (especially something as simple as tire pressures?) during the race and not have the problems that they continued to have right up to the very end at Sonoma last weekend.

I’m generally not one that thinks that Goodyear makes excuses, but it is possible that they actually just didn’t have enough information to work with whenever they chose the tire they wanted for Sonoma last weekend. No matter what the reason, they did have tire problems last weekend and it did affect the outcome of the race. Even though there hasn’t been much said about the tire issues last weekend, the person that was leading at the time near the end  was a bit upset for several reasons and only part of it was related to the tire issues. Of course you know that would be Jeff Gordon and he is the person I picked to win last weekend in my abridged version of this NASCAR Fans View and he was leading when the last caution came out with two laps to go.

Well, when all is said and done, there are several things you can take to the bank this weekend for the racing at Martinsville. One is, don’t expect people to be running close to the wall in the turns in particular. If they are doing that it’s probably because they got bumped or just because they just flat missed it going into the turn. Getting out of the groove and up into the marbles is not a good thing at Martinsville which is something that everyone knows. The second thing that you can take to the bank (and this could quite likely affect the outcome of the race in some way or another) is what happens when the pit stops come around and where the drivers pit stalls are. Martinsville doesn’t have a lot of room for mistakes in the way the pit road is laid out. It should prove to be very exciting and can have a great effect on the race outcome Sunday afternoon (or Monday should that be the case.)

The third is probably the most obvious and one of the reasons short track racing is as popular as it is. Yeah, that’s right… you got it. It has to do with tempers flaring and some emotional displays that just might seem a little unusual compared to most weekends. Yes, it’s almost a given there will be some that leave Martinsville more than a little upset with some of their fellow drivers and… well… you know how that goes…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© March 29, 2014 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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