NASCAR at Texas from a NASCAR Fan’s View


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Rusty Norman

There has been a lot of hype this year about the new Gen 6 car and how it was designed for what are called the intermediate tracks. Texas Motor Speedway falls into that discussion and it is true… the speeds will be higher than they were with the old car. Of course that has already been proven by the qualifying times. What this fan wonders about is whether or not the racing will be better than in the past or if it will be like it has been at the 1.5 mile tracks so far this year.

It is my opinion that the racing has been the best at the short tracks, so far, and followed by the racing at the two mile tracks. Of course it is awfully hard for a short track race to not be interesting, especially when the Cup teams are as competitive as most of them seem to be at this time. This fan has noticed another consistency that has seemed to hold true with the new car and that is that the racing has been particularly interesting when there have been a number of caution flags causing the pack to be closed up and resulting in double-file restarts. That consistency in itself has made the biggest difference in my opinion of the racing on the tracks as to what I might have come away from a race with.

This has been an interesting start to the 2013 season and, all things considered, it hasn’t really been that bad a start. Taking into consideration the teams have had to deal with a brand new car, no notes that would really transfer from the previous years and the old car and the fact that everyone started at the same point with the new car, this fan isn’t complaining. Well… at least not that much, but I do have to admit I did expect a little more after all of the hype we heard in the off season and how great this car was going to be.

Admittedly, the increased speed and down force has been there but, (and this is my opinion), the racing just hasn’t been there. There have been a few things to make up for the reduction in racing drama though. I mean, just look at the emotional conflicts and confrontations we have seen. You know, the ones between Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart. Why we even hear of how some are expecting how the one between Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon could re-surface. Now, I’m not saying it won’t but I am saying I’m glad there ismore to talk about than just those two. And of course, after Martinsville, we’ve even seen a few more crop up. Some have even talked as though this is a return to the “Old Days” and some have called this “the Good Old Days.”

Look, there are a lot of good things about NASCAR and the drivers and teams showing their emotion is just one of them. It has been mentioned recently that this is how NASCAR started (and that is at least partially true) but it isn’t ALL the fans come out to see. They want to see door handle to door handle, more than two car battles to the finish. It’s not that they don’t want to see the drivers showing their emotions but it is my opinion fans want to see the emotions along with good hard, paint-trading racing. Not just taking the opportunity to take each other out (although there are plenty of times that is warranted) but the type of racing where the drivers get out after fighting hard to win a race, congratulate each other on how hard fought the battle was and how, “next time, I’m taking the win.” That’s what makes NASCAR or any kind of racing worth watching. It’s about bragging rights and car makes along with the drivers and how great they are or aren’t in the eyes of the fans.

So, what does this fan think the NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway will be like this evening? Well… just look who is sitting on the front row. The Bush brothers are sitting one and two and on different teams. The one (Kyle) beat out the other (Kurt) for the pole and one of them is going to be trying to beat the other one (along with 41 other drivers) to the checkered flag.

I expect the Fords to make a strong showing but refuse to discount the Chevys and the Toyotas. In fact, I’m not even all that willing to take a guess as to which one of the 43 will end up in Victory Lane.

I do have to mention a few of the more obvious ones, at least in this fans view. Barring the unforeseen, some names I expect to be in there competing for the win are Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Dale Jr and Clint Bowyer. I’m even willing to admit this could be a race where Martin Truex Jr turns his season around and take s a win. That’s not to mention others like Marcos Ambrose and Jamie McMurray or even one of those that are lesser known and talked about.

Texas Motor Speedway will be another test of the Gen 6 car and also show us where the teams are with understanding the nuances of it. It is a fast track and those long green flag runs will be the tell all to me. If the cars get strung out at those times, I expect it will be “just another one of those races.” If there are some yellows at strategic times in the race (especially near the end) look out, it just might be one of those unforgettable races…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 13, 2013 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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