NASCAR at Sonoma from A Fans View

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Rusty NormanI guess I’m a little different than some NASCAR fans. I like it when they hit the road courses and I like road racing, especially when it is done with 3400 lb stock cars. There’s just something about watching those heavy Toyotas, Fords, Dodges and Chevys lumber through the many turns, (both left and right), see who can traverse them consistently fast and move toward the front no matter where they start. (I have to admit, it is also fun to see how quickly the patience and tempers grow short and the bumping, banging and complaining start. In recent years, the road courses have become much more like the short tracks when it comes down to that.)

It is interesting to me to see how the drivers have adapted to the road courses in recent years and how much better many of them have become at them. Not that many years ago, many of them just showed up and suffered through them or had some “road course ringer” take their place. Often the “ringer” didn’t fair all that well, (which many attributed to the fact they didn’t get to spend much time with the crews and get their cars feeling right for them) and the regular Cup drivers that worked on their road course abilities ended up winning. These days many more have worked on their road racing skills and even though they may not be good enough to win, they are much more competitive than they used to be.

I am one of those that thinks NASCAR should eliminate one of the ovals during The Chase and add a road course to it. I really think it would make for an even more interesting Chase and add even more drama to an already outstanding format. It’s not because I think what they do for the Chase right now isn’t good, I just think it would add another dimension to the Chase format. I realize there are logistic and weather situations that may be different that late in the season, but I do think it would be an interesting addition to the races for the Championship.

So now, I guess you’re going to ask me if I have a favorite driver when it comes to the road races. Well, of course I do… don’t you? I do have to admit, as I have grown older along with the sport and in particular since I started writing about it, I have become much more appreciative of all of the drivers. I still have ones I like to see win but I also like to see others win. (Of course there are still a few I just don’t pull for at all.)

Although there are many good road course drivers in NASCAR, I think some of the Cup regulars that stand out a little more than the others are Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, Marcos Ambrose, Jamie McMurray, Jimmie Johnson and Juan Montoya (and believe me, that’s isn’t in any particular order.) It remains to be seen how others like AJ Allmendinger, Martin Truex Jr, Joey Logano, Carl Edwards and the Bush brothers do. All of them are very capable road coursers and it wouldn’t surprise this fan at all if any one of them ends up taking the checkers Sunday afternoon. In fact, it is very possible just abgout anyone in the field could take a trip to Victory Lane this weekend; it is just that competitive in Sprint Cup at road courses these days.

I think the only thing I hope doesn’t happen this weekend is that the race in some ways becomes more of a time for paybacks and less of a time for showing just how good a road racer a driver can be. That’s not to say there shouldn’t be a little pushin’ and shovin’ or beatin’ and bangin’; (we all know the cars can take it). From this fan’s view, the thing that makes road racing interesting is watching the drivers set up for the passes, out brake (or out fox) the other driver, take away his line and drive right on by. I have absolutely nothing against being aggressive, but I would much rather see real racing as I would bumper cars any day, (that’s what makes racing, well, racing in my book.)

Like so many others, I like Boris Said and over the the years I have always liked Boris Said.  Am I a “Said Head” and do I wear a wig on the days he races? No, but I do have an enormous amount of respect for him and what he brings to NASCAR. Not discounting his abilities at all, but more than anything, I just really like his attitude. He is a racer through and through and it shows. Listening to him be interviewed is one of the most positive times a fan can experience. He is truly thankful for any and all opportunities he gets and, to be honest, he is one, (although not the only one) I would really like to see win this coming Sunday afternoon…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© June 25, 2011 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman and
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