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Is there no race that is going to end in the old normal way? Whatever happened to being able to almost know who was going to win even though you watched hoping it wouldn’t turn out the way you thought it would? Wait a minute… isn’t that what happened this last weekend? Wasn’t this race won by exercising fuel strategy and a driver stretching what fuel a car has left in its tank to the maximum? And what about last weekend?
Yes, it’s true; all of the previous statements can be answered in the positive and NASCAR has been the beneficiary in 2011 of seeming endless great racing and finishes, along with all of the drama and excitement that goes with it. From this fan’s view, I think is just shows what a great sport NASCAR racing really is and that the sanctioning body has made a lot of good decisions over the last couple of years in particular.
It is my opinion, the racing in NASCAR is as good as it has ever been. I know there are many that may not agree with me, but I have to say, you just don’t understand. Competition has never been as strong amongst almost all the teams as it is right now and we have truly come to the time when it really is possible for anyone of the teams to win on any given race-day.
Kansas was a good example of why this fan has, and continues, to watch NASCAR racing. Of course I know you probably have to like racing before any type of it can catch your interest, but NASCAR in my opinion, is the best around.
Brad Keselowski has been running stronger as the 2011 season has progressed and the hard work at Penske looks like it is beginning to pay off for both Keselowski and teammate Kurt Bush. Both had good runs on Sunday afternoon but the circumstances and strategy worked out differently. As I mentioned in the pre race article, Kurt Bush taking the pole showed that the Dodges had a chance to win and they did pull it off.
The Hendrick teams did show improvement over what I have called a lack of speed and three of the four finished in the top ten. Dale Jr had his second chance at winning in two weeks and, had Keselowski not been able to stretch his fuel out to the end, he would have walked away with the win. As it was, he finished second and is beginning to show up in regularly near the top of the finishing order. (By the way, has anyone noticed how silent the Steve Letarte detractors are these days…?
Although not completely unexpected, Jeff Gordon finished fourth and had a very good chance at winning also. The reason I say it was not completely unexpected is he always seems to run well at the Kansas track. He even admits himself he feels comfortable at the track and thinks one reason he runs well there is because the track seems to suit his driving style. In reality, from my view, it was good to see him have a good finish and pick up a few points toward moving back into the top ten in the points so he may not have to depend on having that one win to get into the Chase. Personally, I think he will work his way back into the top ten by the time the Chase gets here.
Even Jimmie Johnson didn’t finish all that poorly. His seventh place finish put him in second place overall in the points race. He gained one spot and his teammate, Dale Jr, moved into third place. Of course, a little closer look shows only three points separates spots two through four and twenty points separates Kyle Bush from Jimmie in second.
Just so you won’t think I wasn’t paying attention, Carl Edwards ran strong early and could have won the race, but the #99 team just didn’t quite keep up with the changing track conditions and finished fifth, followed by his teammate, Matt Kenseth in sixth.
From this fan’s view, the race for the Chase looks to be shaping up to be very competitive over the next thirteen weeks and should prove to be interesting. I’m not sure just how much the standings at the top will change over the next thirteen races but I do think there will be changes and some of them may be surprising to us all.
Now, here’s an after thought about FOX Sport’s coverage of the the 2011 NASCAR season. As an avid NASCAR fan and quite simply just a fan in general, I will miss the way they cover the races. Every year, I have to go through an adjustment period until I get used to the other network coverages. I definitely have a problem with the way some cover it, (well, in particular, one’s coverage), and I just think FOX Sports does the best job overall. That is not an indictment against the other network’s broadcast teams or coverage, but it is my opinion. From this fan’s view, I will miss their coverage until they return next February… To all of you at FOX Sports, great job!!
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© June 9, 2011 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman and Nascarfansview.com
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