from a NASCAR Fan’s View
The Cup teams move on to Atlanta this Sunday and it is another race on a track with plenty of age on the racing surface. Some say it is one of the toughest tracks on the NASCAR circuit and they are speaking as close to the truth as any can. Another weekend without practice or qualifying is in store for all and that may or may not have an impact on how the finish goes.
Speaking of no practice and no qualifying, there are many that complain about not having them. I don’t know how you feel about those situations but, I kinda like them not having so much time on the track. It’s just my opinion but it seems to make the actual race day racing a bit more interesting. I have no problem seeing how the crew chiefs are able to adapt to the different tracks and how quickly they can do so. Honestly, the only thing I see as a problem with continuing the way they do is when they go to a track they have never been on.
From this fan’s view, it does appear that the no practice part shows the drivers that might have depended on the tweaking part of the weekend more than some of the others. I don’t if that is the cause of why some of the veteran drivers seem to be struggling a bit at the beginning of this 2021 season or not. Now, I’m not talking about those that show up every week but don’t win that often or at all but, I am talking about those that have a number of wins and usually ran much more competitive than they have at the start of this season. Yeah, I know I don’t have to mention any names here because we all hear them complaining (at least, somewhat) every weekend.
So, in the spirit of fairness, let me take the opportunity to “spread the blame” and take a little of it off the drivers’ shoulders. I can understand the drivers’ viewpoint about the lack of track time because they are the ones sitting in the car having to deal with the way they want it to be and the way it is. With no practice, they pretty much start the race with what the engineers suggest and what the crew chiefs determine should work best.
The difference between making changes in a practice session and in a race can be extremely large. When they have a practice session or two, they can make more changes to see which way makes them more comfortable without it costing them positions on the track. In my opinion, being able to make a lot of changes in a short period of time can make a huge difference in the amount of time it takes tweak their car to their liking. Without practice, those tweaks have to be made during the race and, whether the right or wrong change was made, they are stuck with the change, good or bad, until the next caution or pit stop when they can try something different. That can make a big difference in how they finish the day.
So, I guess you might be wondering what all this might have to do with the Atlanta Motor Speedway? Well, that’s a good question and one I’m glad you asked…
As I mentioned at the beginning of this, the Atlanta track is old. The surface is rough on tires and it takes a lot of patience to make it through 500 miles and even think about finishing out front and taking that checkered flag. This may be the weekend that some of the older favorites show their stuff in maintaining tires and managing track position and finishing at or near the front.
I mean, just look at the top eleven starters in the lineup. All names everyone recognizes and drivers that could walk away with the victory in the Folds Of Honor Quik Trip 500. Sure, I’ll admit there are a couple of long shots but, any of them could win this one. Hamlin and Truex Jr, starting on the front row followed by the two Penske Fords of Logano and Keselowski. Then add Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick. Wow! If that doesn’t give an idea of what this race could shape up to be, this fan doesn’t know what could. Aside from the fact that this is the Atlanta Motor Speedway and the racing is almost always exciting and drama filled, there are several others I haven’t mentioned that could pull off the victory, possibly even their first NASCAR Cup career victory.
So far this season, we have had five point races and five different winners. That means the 16 spots for the playoffs are dwindling down every week we have a different winner. With Martin Truex Jr coming off last week’s win and starting on the front row, he just may have the advantage of momentum on his side and become the first multiple winner this season. Kevin Harvick isn’t starting on the front row but he is a known force to be reckoned with at Atlanta. In fact, there many drivers to choose from as winners in this race that this fan thinks we won’t know which one will take it until the final flag falls on Sunday afternoon.
So… what do you think? Will it be someone taking their first victory in their Cup career, a rookie or, do you think the cream will rise to the top and take the win? Yeah, that’s what I thought you would say. I guess we better watch this all the way to the end and find out if one of us was right…
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© March 20, 2021 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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