Next Stop Road America For The Cup Teams

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Well… in usual fashion lately and especially with the Next Gen car, the qualifying may not tell a true story of how this race will go. I mean, with so many variables and possible problems with some unknowns, this race could prove to be very much of a toss up until the very end. I’m not so sure anything won’t go as planned but, I’m also not so sure there won’t be some problems that won’t change the outcome of the race at the most inopportune time.

A quick glance at the results of the practice and qualifying sessions shows some interesting things to consider. I mean, if you take those results at face value, there are just a few cars that are going to lead all day and the rest are going to be “also rans.” I know that sounds like an oversimplification but, it just might prove to be true. In the top five starters are several that had fast cars and as an example, I would offer up Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson and Chase Briscoe. Another would be Chris Buescher. Buescher didn’t qualify all that well but he was fast and could figure into the mix at the end of the day at Road America.

Does it strike anyone other than me as strange that the JGR Toyotas are missing from the top ten starters? In fact, they don’t show up in the lineup until thirteenth through sixteenth. I just don’t think that’s where they will stay for the whole race, do you? Yeah… that’s kinda what I thought you would say. It does sound like a bit of a stretch, doesn’t it?

Another thing about the JGR Toyotas is that Kyle Bush qualified in the thirteenth position but they are changing out the engine so he will be starting at, or near, the end of the field. That could mean a couple of things. Sometimes it isn’t a bad thing that a problem moves someone to the back of the field. Sometimes it ends up they finish up front when the race is done and everyone wonders where they came from.

I suppose it could happen this weekend but, according to some of the talk going around, the JGR Toyotas have been struggling with their Road Course program this season. I agree with that, at least somewhat but, I’ve also seen them be at the right spot at the end of the day to take the win. Once again, that could be the case this weekend at Road America but, there are a whole bunch more things to consider before that actually happens.

As I mentioned earlier, there are no Toyotas in the top ten. It is made up of just Chevys and Fords. To be fair, there are more Fords than there are Chevys but I don’t think that matters much. There are four Chevys and the rest are Fords. Three of the Chevys in the top ten are Hendrick Chevys and, had he not had a problem in his qualifying lap, William Byron may have joined his three teammates in the top ten also. As it turned out, Tyler Reddick did qualify in the top five and he is a very good Road Racer also. It could be his to win if everything goes right for him.

Another surprise to this fan was the Track House Teams. Even though they were fast in qualifying, they didn’t make the top ten even though it looked like they would after the practice sessions. I really didn’t expect them to miss the top ten because of the way they’ve been running. I guess that, now, the expectations are high for them to perform and, when they fall just a little short of those expectations, people wonder IF they are going to struggle all day or just plug away and be in contention at the end of the day. I reckon we’ll find out about that when the race is done.

The Penske Fords appeared to be lacking something in the practice and qualifying sessions and I’m just not sure whether they will be able to make a show of it. I expect they will but, I’m just not sure they will.

It is one thing when the Hendrick Chevys of Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott qualify in the top five and Chase did win the pole. However, it remains to be seen whether they will stay and be up front when the black and white checkered flag falls. Lately, the two of them have been plagued by penalties that really killed their chances of winning. (Remember Sonoma??) Both Chase and Kyle had cars good enough to win but managed to blow winning because of penalties or mistakes.

Like I said, there are a lot of variables to consider for this one and any one, or several of them could make the difference in which of the teams wins this one at Road America. It may not come down to tire problems or brake problems or any other of the possible problems I have or haven’t mentioned. It could be that the race goes off without a hitch and that one of the expected drivers wins. I don’t think it will happen that way, but it could…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… I’ll See you next time.
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© July 2, 2022 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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