Next Gen And Cup Teams First Time At the Gateway

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

I don’t know about you but, there is one thing I really don’t like about the Next Gen car. Actually, there is more than one thing I don’t like but this one is a good place to start. Yeah, I’m sure you guessed it already. The tire problems they’ve been having have gone on way too long. Really, I don’t blame Goodyear all that much but I do think the car NASCAR has come up with leaves a little to be desired, well, at least form this fan’s view it does.

You see, from my view there is more to racing than parity and there is more to making a car go fast than just keeping everything status quo. What I mean by that is just look at the last several races over different tracks. In some instances, the tires have failed for different reasons and teams that might have won ended up either in the garage or at the back of the filed one or more laps down. Honestly folks, it’s beginning to get a little boring. They can hardly finish a race without someone or several someones having a tire failure and sometimes it is at the worst possible time and sometimes they can only run so many laps without a tire problem.

Look, I know Goodyear makes their recommendations of minimum tire pressure and maximum camber but, knowing racers the way I do, someone is always going to press the envelope and sometimes it is going to work and sometimes not. I think that is one of the most frustrating things about the whole situation. The speed of the different makes seems to depend on what they can get away with in those tolerances and it also depends on what type of track they’re at, whether short-track, mid-size track or Superspeedway. Hey, I know I’m not an engineer so what I say doesn’t really amount to a hill of beans but, I do know that something is going to have to change.

Now before you think I don’t like anything about the new car let me just stress there are several things I really do like about it. The most important one in my book is the apparent durability of it. I like the fact that not every little dust-up or brush with the wall results in one or both of the cars involved having to go to the pits or the garage. What that means is that the old term, “rubbin’ is racing” still means something. In the days past, before the Next Gen car, a little rubbing usually caused problems for one or more of the drivers, generally resulting in one or more having to take a break to change a tire or fix some bent fenders or other equipment or just retire from the race. Now, at least usually, they can continue racing.

I guess I should stop my little rant here and move on to the race this weekend at the Gateway. It is difficult but I will anyway…

From my observations of the practice session and the qualifying, it does look as though the Fords might be the ones to watch for taking the win on Sunday afternoon. It did “look” like they had the most to offer when it came to getting around the track consistently with, what looked like, winning speed. Of course, last weekend the Toyotas had pretty much the same look and then they weren’t contenders for much of the race until the laps few laps. (Well, at least that was the story for the winner, Denny Hamlin and runner up, Kyle Bush.)

Chase Briscoe has really brought the speed this weekend. He and his Ford definitely appear to have an advantage going into tomorrow’s race, but then again, anything can and probably will happen between the first lap and the last lap and he may not even be a contender at the end of the day. It may be someone like Joey Logano or Ryan Blaney, also in Fords, ending up in Victory Lane.

There are others, too. I’m sure the Toyotas of Kyle and Kurt Bush may have something to say about that as well as Christopher Bell and Martin Truex Jr. The Toyotas have shown they have something to offer but it will depend on whether they can keep from having tire problems or problems on pit road. This being the first time on this track for the Cup cars, it is hard to say how the entire race will go or which of them might be the first to win but, they all have a shot for taking the win.

Personally, this fan doesn’t think the Chevys have a chance for winning this weekend but I could be surprised. We all know Ross Chastain is going to be pressing for the win along with his teammate Daniel Suarez. Much as I don’t think any of the Chevys are going to be real contenders for the win, I could be completely surprised. They just haven’t shown the speed at all this weekend. (Well, that is except for Tyler Reddick. This could be his to win if he and his team can go the distance without the usual slip ups…)

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© June 4, 2022 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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