Cup Teams Take On Talladega With The Next Gen

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Well, it’s time for the NASCAR Cup teams to take on the Talladega Super Speedway again, but this time it’s with the Next Gen car and they won’t get any practice time. This time, they jump right onto the track with qualifying and then they don’t get in the car again until tomorrow afternoon when it’s time to race. Of course, as a disclaimer, NASCAR did give them a lot of practice time when they visited Daytona in February. It is good that they got the extra time there and, hopefully, what they learned there will transfer to the track at Talladega. That goes not only for the drivers and teams but also for Goodyear and the type tires they have brought for the teams to use on Sunday afternoon.

So, before I move on to the Talladega race, I just have to say a few words about last weekend’s race at Bristol. I have heard so many say so much about last weekend’s race and most of it has been heaping accolades on as a whole. I don’t disagree with that, at least for the most part but, I still wasn’t as impressed as many others were. There was a great improvement in the track conditioning even though there were some weather delays at different times.

I also admit the racing was better but it was also a bit disappointing at times (at least form this fan’s view.) There was no one at fault for that but the one thing that would have made it better for me was, when Tyler Reddick and Chase Briscoe got together, that Tyler would have gotten straightened out and been able to pull up in front of Kyle Bush and won the race anyway. Now that would have been a great finish to the race in my book. I still say that the drivers are the ones that enjoy the Bristol Dirt more than anyone (and that I DO understand.)

One other thing, before I move on. I think it is interesting when Kyle basically has a race handed to him even though he was about a straightaway behind, he feels different about his win than when it happens to Alex bowmen. Even though he sounded much more reasonable in the post-race interview and admitting JGR still has ground to make up, I still found it interesting the difference in attituded.

So, getting back to Talladega … if anything shows up as really different this weekend, at least from this fan’s view, it would be the difference of the ones showing the most speed in qualifying and the ones that appeared to be struggling a bit. It was sort of a shock to see the JGR Toyotas taking up the front row. More often than not lately, the Hendrick cars often took those spots.

This weekend, it appears there might be a shift in strategy. I could be mistaken – and I know I’m not the only one that thinks this way – but usually the fastest cars in qualifying don’t necessarily run the fastest in the race. Could it be that it’s just a difference in having no practice and missing the setup tweaks or just because the JGR teams have found something they’ve been missing in the first races of the season. Sure, I know the Chevys have shown some speed in qualifying on the Super Speedways but, for the first time in a while, the first Hendrick team is Kyle Larson and he is starting sixth with William Byron starting in eighth. A closer look at the top twelve shows there are six Toyotas and six Chevys. The first Ford is Joey Logano in thirteenth followed by the Chevy of Austin Dillon and the Ford of Brad Keselowski.

The Fords have usually been the ones leading the pack near the end of the Super Speedway races recently but that could be because of the Chevys and Toyotas being taken out during one of the “Big Ones” earlier in a race. It seems the Chevys in particular have been caught up in those and that could be the reason they just haven’t been around at the end of the day, at least not up front.

It remains to be seen which of the manufacturers will end up working the best together and which ones can maintain their track position throughout the many laps as they work toward the last fifty laps or so. From my view, I think the usual ones will be up front at the end of the day but there could be a surprise winner and shake up everything. I’m thinking there could be a Chevy in Victory Lane at the end of this one but I can’t rule out any of the others either simply because of the evident speed in the Toyota camps and the usual dominance of the Fords at the end of a Super Speedway race.

Do the Toyotas have some new found speed? Were the Chevys holding back hoping to use a little different strategy in this one? Are the Fords showing all they’ve got or are they just waiting for the race to take it to the rest? There’s only one thing that will prove it one way or another and that’s when the green flag drops and they drop the hammer…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 23, 2022 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

Next Gen On Bristol Dirt

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Here’s some non-news for everyone. All but one of the NASCAR series are taking it to Bristol Dirt this weekend. Only the Trucks and the Cup series will be racing the dirt BUT, you already know that. From this fan’s view and in spite of all the hype, I am in a wait and see attitude of how the racing will be on the Bristol Dirt. You see, contrary to all the positive comments about last year and the hope for even better this year, I wasn’t really all that impressed last year and I am not so sure about this year’s race.

Okay, I know last year had it’s weather challenges and I know it was the first time dirt track prep became important in a long time but still, I guess I expected better. Even though a lot of the talk from last year’s race was positive in many ways, the ones that seemed to enjoy it the most were the drivers. Most all of their comments were about how much fun it was and it was a challenge. From where I sat and what I watched, wasn’t all that interesting.

Look, I grew up around dirt track racing in Southern Illinois and, as I remember it, I witnessed better racing on our local tracks than I saw last year at Bristol. Sure I know that was long time ago and I was quite a bit younger but the racing at those tracks was very good and most always exciting. (I also don’t remember all the dust blocking the view and being able to see the racing even when they raced in the afternoons.) That is one thing I hope they have managed to get right this year. I don’t ever remember our tracks having to stop the racing and wet down the track to maintain a decent racing surface.

I admit, when we as a family moved to Florida, I lost track of dirt racing because, the tracks we frequented, were all asphalt. There were a couple of dirt tracks around but we didn’t go to those so I may not be the best person to ask about it.

What I do remember with fondness – and probably the closest we came to dirt track conditions in Florida – was when it rained a little before race-time. Cars from all the classes would go out and dry the track by driving around and around until we could get it back to a reasonable racing surface dryness. When it was wet it was slick. All of us would press the envelope and drive dirt track style, slipping and sliding sideways just like the dirt guys until it became raceable. To some, it may not have been much fun but to me, I learned a lot about car handling and keeping the car in control as well as having fun drying out the track and pressing the envelope.

Well, I guess that’s enough ranting and remembering times past and it’s time to move on to the present.

The race this year on the Dirt of Bristol is not only the second time on the track with new approaches to the dirt and the track but also with the new Next Gen car. Those two things almost make it the first time on the track again. I’m sure the teams learned something about setting up for the dirt from last time but it is also going to be a brand new experience because of the car. The practices have already shown the drivers a little glimpse of what they will be up against and, to this fan, it looked like they were getting the hang of it. I think it remains to be seen what the actual race will be like because there will be more cars on the track and not only will the drivers be contending with the track but also the other drivers. that always makes for interesting happenings.

At the time of this writing, qualifying hasn’t taken place so I don’t really know how the lineup will look. What I do know is that qualifying has very little to do with how the actual race will go. I’m sure track position will play major factor and I’m sure there will be quite a bit of bumping and grinding as the race progresses. That will likely be what makes it worth watching, if for no other reason than seeing how they all treat each other. I’m expecting there will be more than a little emotion and maybe even a few temper tantrums. I’m just not so sure that this year’s race will be as much fun for the drivers as they say last year’s was. Since they’ve had last year on the Bristol Dirt, they may be a bit more aggressive this year. Last year was fun for them. This year, well… I guess we’ll see…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 16, 2022 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

Next Gen At Martinsville Under The Lights

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

If there’s one thing likely about the Martinsville race this weekend, it’s that it will not be just another Saturday Night under the lights. You might be wondering why I would say that and I do have an answer for that question. It is, quite simply, because of the Next Gen car.

If any of you were watching the practices and the qualifying, you probably noticed several things stand out blatantly right from the beginning. First, some were shifting and some were not. After some that hadn’t had practice time on the track saw or heard the shifts of the drivers on the track, they realized they were also going to have to work on shifting in their practice and qualifying session and during the race. Second, many realized early they were going to have to work on saving their cars and tires for the long runs. Last weekend’s race proved that might be a complete necessity in Saturday night’s race. Third, it appeared many were locking up their left front tires. It wasn’t so bad while they were mostly running in single file or by themselves but, when it comes to race time, that could prove to be disastrous. If they want their tires to last through a tire and fuel run and maintain good track position, that can’t happen.

So, what else might be out of the ordinary from a Saturday night under the lights at Martinsville? Well, if you listen to the drivers, just about everything is a new learning experience.

It does appear that all of them are still in the steep learning curve brought about by the Next Gen car being put in play this season. One thing seems a little different to this fan though. It seems that not only are the veterans struggling to quickly learn how to drive the Next Gen car on the Martinsville “hairpin,” but the younger, less experienced drivers are also. That just might make this race even more emotional and interesting than usual and I’m willing to bet there will be some payback and heated “discussions” when all is said and done.

Personally, this fan doesn’t think this race will go at all according to usual plan. I think the crew chiefs and drivers will have to have a strategy and stick to it no matter what but, be willing to alter that strategy but if actions on the track warrant it. I kinda base that on the way things went last weekend with tire wear, pit stops and caution flags, etc. (You know, that’s the biggest reason Denny Hamlin won.) That’s also why I have spent a little time talking about the possibility of losing control in the corners when running side by side or making a move to pass. I think the corners are the place where some of the most drastic changes might be made in which of them are running up front. If there is close racing for the lead at any point, I do think the turns might be a bit precarious, especially for anyone on the outside of someone.

It was interesting to see the mixture of teams qualifying in the top ten. Of course, the Hendrick teams have three of them in the top eight. Once again, I don’t put a lot of stock in qualifying this year, especially with the Next Gen and 400 laps at Martinsville.

Martinsville is tough enough but running 400 laps offers a lot of opportunities to adjust on the car and learn what makes it go faster as the race progresses. That’s what makes it a little difficult to pick possible winners. I’m thinking the Fords look pretty fast and a quick look at the starting lineup says the Fords and Chevys could make a pretty good showing in tonight’s race. I’m not ruling out a possible Toyota victory and, judging how the Toyotas ran last weekend, they just might be the dark horses in this one.

So… here we are at Martinsville, well known for high emotions and hot tempers especially when it comes down to the end of the race. It has happened before and it could happen tonight depending on how things go. Like I said, this is short track racing under the lights on a Saturday night and anything can happen. We might just have some “heated discussions” following this one just like last night after the Xfinity race. (And please, don’t ask my opinion of Ty Gibbs and his, uh, “discussion” with Sam Mayer last night. Honestly… you don’t want to know…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 9, 2022 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

Next Gen Taking It Short Tracking At Richmond

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

I know this title sounds a little strange but it is true. The Next Gen car is taking it short tracking at Richmond and that also means it is taking it to the drivers and teams and another weekend of unknowns and learning experiences. To hear the drivers and crew chiefs talk, the next gen car is taking time to figure out and some are making headway and others are not. It seems the ones that aren’t are the ones that have been around in the Cup series longer and, as I have said before, it could just have a lot they need to forget about the old car and the years they had driving it.

So, this weekends race is on what is now a three-quarter mile track – which still qualifies it as a short track – and a track that was challenging before the Next Gen car. It is definitely going to be an interesting afternoon of racing and, to be honest, it could be another weekend that TrackHouse Racing stands out above the rest. I’m not saying they will, judging from where they qualified but, I’m not saying anything about qualifying as far as how the race will end.

Just a quick glance at the lineup for Sunday’s race shows that the Hendrick cars didn’t qualify all that well, except for William Byron qualifying outside pole. The rest of the HMS teams qualified fifteenth or worse. I guess you could ask the question do I think that’s where they will stay all race long or whether things might work out that they are up front. To be honest, I’m not sure. I do expect them to finish better than that but it also appears they have been struggling a little bit here and there lately. Will that continue into this weekend’s race at Richmond Raceway? That’s another question I don’t have a solid answer for. I’m sure that depends on how much they figure out between the first laps and the last one.

Once again Ryan Blaney has shown up with a fast racecar this weekend. He qualified on the pole and he has been running well all season so far this year. Yeah, I know the season is young and there is a lot more to go but, he is one to watch almost every week. From my view, he has had numerous opportunities to finish up front but circumstances have not allowed that to happen… yet! I expect Ryan will be a multiple race winner this season, although I’m not sure it will start this weekend. Of all the Fords, he has been one of the most consistently faster one to show up each weekend, so far.

Of the Penske teams, Ryan has been the best performer and he could take a win this weekend. He has a lot of challenges ahead at this feisty Richmond Raceway short track, but if he can avoid the pitfalls ahead of him, he just might take this trophy home.

First, he will have to stay ahead of one of the hottest performers this season and that would be Ross Chastain of Track House Racing. I never got to race against Ross because he is a lot younger than me but, he is from Alva and I am in Fort Myers. That’s not far away from me and I am happy to see him doing so well this season. He starts eighth and his teammate starts fourteenth but it wouldn’t surprise me to see both of them running for the win when it comes down to the time it counts. They both have some challenges ahead for them to finish up front but, I expect they will make it interesting.

So, let’s take a quick look at what this weekend might be like. One out of the four Hendrick cars are qualified in the top fourteen. Chase Elliott qualified fifteenth. whether or not William Byron or Chase Elliott can either stay out front or move out front is questionable. I not wishing them any bad luck but they have not shown a lot this weekend. The different Ford teams seem to be hit or miss on their speed and Richmond is a track that requires a lot of consistency.

Actually the Toyotas look to be in better shape but, well… you know how their season has gone so far. There are those that think Kyle Bush may win this one but this fan isn’t so sure. I mean, he hasn’t had the best of luck this year either. Of course I know racing luck can happen to anyone but he has had his share so far this season. The thinking may be true and he just might pull this one off. He will have to contend with his three teammates though. Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Christopher Bell are just as hungry and just as capable of winning this weekend as Kyle and I guess we’ll see when all is said and done.

From what this fan can determine from observing the practice and qualifying sessions is that there just might be one thing that makes a victory sure for any of the contenders this weekend. It looks like the keys to getting ahead and staying ahead are track position and managing the falloff of the handling and speed over all the laps of the stages. The one that can run consistently faster than the rest for the longest period of time will likely be the winner when this one is done. Well… that is unless they have to face those pesky green- white -checkers one or more times…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 2, 2022 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

COTA Is Next For The Next Gen

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

What a difference a year makes. Last year at COTA there was the old car, the uncooperative weather, racing in the rain (I guess just to prove they could, no matter how bad the track got from the rain) and a rain shortened race. Oh, and I didn’t even mention some of the other things that were different last year, but last year won’t even be able to be compared with the race this year.

This year, things will be different for a lot of reasons. The weather looks like it’s going to cooperate, the teams have a few weeks under their belts with the Next Gen car, the drivers have much more time in the new car and there was practice and qualifying. I don’t know how important any of that is but I do know this years COTA race will definitely be different than last year.

One thing stands out very vividly to me about this year and that is the number of drivers that have taken advantage of a way to gain more track-time. Yeah, you guessed it, several are running in other series. Personally, I think that will be a definite advantage to those that take advantage of it even though the Next Gen car is nothing like the trucks or the Xfinity cars, it’s just gaining a better understanding of what to expect as a race progresses. The drivers will even tell you there is no substitute for time on the track, no matter which series it is.

Just as a quick example of what I mean by my above statements, I would point you to Kyle Larson and how many other types of races he enters week in and week out. I’ll even go a step further and mention how I think the younger, less Cup Series experienced drivers like Tyler Reddick, Chase Briscoe, Cole Custer, Austin Cindric and others. As I’ve said before, I believe the younger drivers have a lot less to forget about driving the old car compared to the new Next Gen car. The veterans in the series spent a lot of hours in the old car and it isn’t as easy to transition from the old to the new.

Once again, looking back to last year, it seemed some were able to handle the adverse conditions better than others and track position made a huge difference. By the end of the race last year There were two Hendrick drivers battling for the win. I’m not so sure it will be that way this weekend at COTA. I could be wrong and all four of the Hendrick teams could be up front, at least near the end. I’m not at all saying that’s the way it will go but, it is a possibility with the way all of them have been running so far this season. Chase Elliott is the only one of the Hendrick drivers that hasn’t won yet and he is one of the favorites as we approach the drop of the green flag on Sunday afternoon.

But, what about all those others?

Well… to be honest, there are more than a couple of names that standout to this fan. I’m not at all willing to name any names as shew-ins but the Fords and Toyotas have shown they did come to make it a race this weekend. After all, Ryan Blaney did win the pole – even after spinning into a soft-wall – and his Ford has to be considered as a possible front runner when it comes down to the last lap. After all, he has been running at or near the front at the end of several races lately. Another would be Cole Custer and he is starting right behind Ryan Blaney. Daniel Suarez and Tyler Reddick start outside of those two and staying up front and maintaining track position is one thing all four will want to do.

Personally, I’m not so sure having a good qualifying lap or two says anything about how the end of the race might look. Again, I say there is a very high likelihood one or more of the Hendrick teams will work their way to the front, even if it takes half of the race or more. I don’t expect them to remain mired in the pack and I’m not saying they will pull off the win but, it wouldn’t be the first time either. Chase Elliott has been known to qualify or start in the middle to the back of the lineup and still end up leading when it counts, especially on a road course. And then, there are all of those others that seem to excel on road courses these days. Yeah, I’m of the opinion the race this year won’t look at all like last year’s race. Well… that is until the last laps are in the book…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© March 26, 2022 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

The Next Gen Car Takes On The New Atlanta

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

(Posted late due to technical problems)

I know you’ve heard all the talk about how the race this weekend is all about how the Next Gen Car is going to be taking on the “New” Atlanta Speedway. Well, some of that is just hype but, it is going to be a new experience, especially for the drivers, because of the many changes made at the track. We could go into detail about all the changes but I don’t think that is necessary because I know you’ve already done your own research and have your own opinions of the “new” Atlanta.

So, it’s the new car, at the newly configured track and a whole new notebook that needs to be made. Even NASCAR has decided this weekend’s race will be like the configuration of the cars for Daytona and/or Talladega. Because of the inclement weather, there was no qualifying so they will lineup in the usual fashion when they couldn’t qualify at all. At least they let them practice.

From what I could gather from the practice session the Hendrick teams, as a whole appeared to be struggling just a bit. Now I guess it is possible they were trying a whole different take on the session but they just didn’t look to have their usual speed. I think it is also possible they were sandbagging or trying to figure what they could discover for extended runs as they approach the 500 miles at the new Atlanta Speedway. There is no way to really tell what their agenda was during practice but you can bet they will be pressing the envelope to get their cars up front at the right times.

With all of the unknowns going into this race, it is interesting that the lineup is so much different than the practice times. Of course, this is also because of the inclement weather that got qualifying cancelled. What it looks like is that some of the faster cars are starting in the middle to the back of the lineup and those up front may have a tough time staying there. take for example, Ricky Stenhouse. Ricky is a good super speedway racer and could very well win this 500 miler. The problem is that he is starting very far back in the field along with a lot of the other faster cars. From this fan’s view, I believe this is what is going to make this a very intense race for a lot those miles.

One interesting thing about the practice, at least from this fan’s view, was how the JGR Toyotas were all in the top ten speed-wise. Of those four teams, Kyle Bush is the one starting closet to the front. This may or may not mean something for how the end of the Folds Of Honor Quick Trip 500 might end. Even though Kyle has had numerous trials recently, he has managed to be in the top of the field when it counts at the end of the races. Of course, he hasn’t won yet but did come within two or three laps of winning two weeks ago. That may mean something this Sunday afternoon since he is starting in the top five.

The top ten starters in the lineup for Sunday afternoon’s race shows five Fords. The winner from last week, Chase Briscoe, Ryan Blaney that has shown up every weekend so far running strong and Joey Logano, well know for running good at tracks like Daytona and Talladega. Does this mean anything of how the Fords are going to do Sunday afternoon? It could but I’m not so sure the starting lineup is going to look anything like the final results at the end of the 500 miles.

There are just too many unknowns going into this one. Kevin Harvick is starting eighth and, even though this is a totally different Atlanta track than he has won on several times in the past, he could end up breaking his winless streak with the win on Sunday afternoon. Now, I’m not saying he will… I’m just saying he could. Of course, Kurt Bush is starting right behind him in ninth and Aric Almirola is starting in tenth and both of them could pull of a victory, too.

Sandwiched in between those three Fords leading the way and the three I just mentioned are three very hungry drivers and they all drive Chevys. I’m talking about Tyler Reddick, Ross Chastain and Chase Elliott. I’m sure they will be pushing their way toward the front and probably leading at times. I’m not saying they will be out front at the end but I am sure they going to be very visible throughout the afternoon.

From this fan’s view, this will likely be a race with a lot of restrictor plate type racing and possibly a lot of carnage. There is just too much parity with this Next Gen car and that means there is going to be a lot of tight, bumper to bumper, door to door racing and possibly a first-time winner or a first-time winner this year. this one is hard to call when it comes to picking a winner but I do think it will come down to a last lap pass and maybe even overtime with a nice green-white-checker fight to the end…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© March 20, 2022 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

The Next Next Gen Challenge Was Phoenix

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

I thought I’d try something a little different for the last race of the West Coast swing. I thought I’d talk about it after the race had been run and I’m glad I made that decision. There isn’t really a lot of difference between talking about it before or after other than there are some more obvious things to mention, at least from my view. Having said that, there are several things that seem pretty obvious to this fan and one of them I think I have mentioned before. That would be that, in several ways, the Next Gen car favors the younger drivers. No, I’m not saying the veterans just don’t have what it takes to go fast in this car. What I’m saying – and have said – it is my opinion they have more to unlearn to make the switch to this Next Gen car.

It’s really no secret. Ask any of the drivers in the Cup series. The Next Gen car is a bear to drive and they are all trying to learn about it as fast as they can. They also say they are pressing the envelope to see just how far they can push it. They have a lot to learn and it does appear they are making headway, but it also obvious it is somewhat of a careful and slow process and they sometime push it too far and pay a price. Sometimes that price is heavy and sometimes, well, let’s just say the price and the damage may be light but hopefully they learned something in the process.

From my view, the hardest part is they don’t have a lot of time in the car at all and they definitely have to experiment and press the envelope at each of the tracks they visit. They just don’t have information in their notebooks for the tracks they face for the first time with the new Next Gen car. Although, looking at the results from this last weekend, having a previous practice session at this track before this last weekend’s race did seem to help some of the teams’ performance.

It does appear, at least for the present, the Hendrick cars are just slightly ahead of the rest and they have dominated – at least in the win column – the tracks in the West Coast Swing. All of that changed at Phoenix and the Fords – well at least some of them showed there was still hope for them as the weeks progress.

Why do I say that? Well… That’s a good question and I’m glad you asked.

With the way things started out this last weekend, it was another one of those times it looked like any of the manufacturers could win and the Fords and Toyotas both looked pretty strong. Ryan Blaney took the pole and Denny Hamlin sat beside him on the front row. Of course, then the race started and the Chevys once again moved to the front. At times all four of the Hendrick teams were in the top ten and the Chevy teams, overall, looked to be ready to potentially win and finish high in the running order.

Of course, you know what happened at the end of the race; Chase Briscoe in a Ford won the race and there were five Fords, two Chevys and two Toyotas in the top ten. Surprisingly to me, the Hendrick Chevys weren’t in the top ten even though all four of them had looked to be able to take the win earlier in the race. I do wonder what might have happened had Kyle Larson not had an engine problem.

So… Chase Briscoe won his first race in his cup series career and congrats to him and SHR. It wasn’t just given to him, he had to drive for it. Once again, Ross Chastain and Tyler Reddick showed they are both on the road to possibly winning in the Cup series as they finished second and third. Even the older veterans Kurt Bush, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Bush showed up in the top ten at the end. Can’t help but wonder how their winless streaks might be affected in the near future.

I could probably go on and on talking of all the little things that stood out to me at Phoenix but I don’t want to drag this out any further. After all, the race is over, someone driving something other than a Hendrick car won a race and the stage is set for all to move on to Atlanta. What happens there is as yet unknown but we all know it will be another new track for the Next Gen car and the learning curve will continue for all the Cup teams. Whether or not the Hendrick teams will still lead the way or one of the other teams will begin to show the way remains to be seen. I’m betting Atlanta will show more of the same we’ve seen so far. The Next Gen car will still be a beast to drive and someone is going to win. I’m just not sure which of them is going to step up to the plate…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view…See ya next time.
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© March 14, 2022 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

Cup Teams Take On Vegas With The Next Gen

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

The Cup teams take it to Vegas on Sunday afternoon and it will be another “first time” visit to a track for the Next Gen Car. Even though it does seem they are all beginning to adapt to the new car, there are still some unanswered questions and unknowns. I still haven’t made up my mind about the new car yet but, I will admit it is beginning to look better as the teams adapt to it and the season progresses.

One thing I’ve noticed right at first here is that the younger drivers seem to be adapting to the car somewhat faster than those that have been around the sport for a while. In fact, if you listen to the interviews from some of them, they never fail to mention how much fun they’re having. To me it seems they almost think it’s funny. Maybe that’s because they haven’t had to “unlearn” so much as those that spent so much time in the old cars.  I’m  not sure if some of the veterans feel the same way but, it does seem as though they have all accepted the challenge and deal with the new car because they really don’t have any other options. Still, from my view, it does seem the younger drivers are smiling more than the others.

I will admit, with all the changes made this year with the car and other things, I do like the way they’ve decided to have practice and qualifying. I think it makes it much more interesting and, once again offering my opinion, it somehow makes the whole weekend more interesting. There is no substitute for track time but I have no problem at all for making it a little bit more challenging for the entire field. As I mentioned, when they had no practice and no qualifying, it is pretty obvious, at least to this fan, which of them depended on the extended practice times to get their cars right.

Looking back at the race last weekend, I was surprised by several things. First, and I don’t know why, but I was surprised to see Kyle Larson win. I just wasn’t so sure the Chevys had the right stuff at first and then it seemed they came to life. Even though Kyle and Chase had their run-in, they were running up front and Chase was up there even after being laps down. Eric Jones was another one and it was good to see him running competitively and with a chance to win. Daniel Suarez was also in a Chevy and almost won but was outmaneuvered by Larson at the very end. So, to say I was surprised at the performance of the Chevys would kind of be an understatement.

This weekend’s race at Vegas could prove to be one of the more interesting races so far this season. I know we’re only at week three and there’s one more to go on the West Coast swing but it is possible that things could pick up as the teams get better and better at figuring out how to make this Next Gen car handle better and go faster. I’ve often heard people talk about how the West Coast swing shows more about the cars and which teams have the best grip on it.

So far, it looks pretty even for all of the teams and it does seem many of the drivers are struggling with the same things about the car. No doubt you’ve heard many of the drivers complain of how hard they are to drive and how hard it is to adjust to some of the new features of it. Not one of them has actually said they have it figured out and not one has said they want to give up on it. In fact, it is my opinion they secretly like the challenge it is offering them week in and week out. I’m not saying they are happy with their results so far but I am saying they like the challenge and look forward to race weekends at the different tracks with this new and different car.

I know you’ve heard all the talk of how Kyle Larson is the favorite to take the win this weekend and his team has given him a fast car from the looks of it. It may not mean a thing he is sitting on the front row this weekend and he may have his work cut out for him to take a second straight victory, but it could be he is on his way to another double figure season of wins. He does do well at all three of these tracks but I’m not so sure he will win at Vegas.

It looks like some of the other teams have shown up with some speed, too. Just look at which of them is sitting on the pole. Joe Gibbs driver, Christopher Bell didn’t beat Larson by much for the pole but he did beat him. Even the Fords showed some pretty good speed and we all know how badly Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Chase Briscoe and Kevin Harvick want to take a win. Don’t rule out those other Ford Teams either. There just isn’t that much of a speed difference between the Chevys, Fords or the Toyotas and, given this track is a favorite of many, anything could happen.

Since there is a lot of pressure on the drivers as they try to work through the problems and the difficulties of this new car, it does seem to this fan tempers are shorter and emotions are running pretty high. I don’t think it will take much to set one or two of them off and retaliation become the word for the day. I know it happened in the Xfinity series and even if NASCAR warns them to stay calm, I’m not so sure they will be all that willing to listen. I could be wrong, but…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view. See ya next time…

All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer

© March 6, 2022 – all rights reserved

Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com

All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions

All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

Fontana Is The Next Stop For The Next Gen

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

For the first time in two years, NASCAR Cup Series takes on the old Auto Club Speedway in California. Even though the track is old and a track the drivers like to race on, it has its own set of problems; problems they’ve tried to fix – or at least make better – but they haven’t quite gotten there yet. This first trip back in a while with the Next Gen car hasn’t made things any easier.

First, NASCAR only gave the Cup Teams a fifteen-minute practice time and then there was qualifying on the same day. Judging from what I’ve seen from that fiasco, it looks to me as though the teams are going to struggle a bit, at least when they put all of the cars on the track at the same time.

You might be wondering why I titled this the way I did. To tell the truth – and I think it’s been pretty obvious – I just haven’t been too impressed with the Next Gen car whether at L.A. or Daytona and now, Auto Club Speedway at Fontana. One thing that amazes this fan is how many problems they’re having – or maybe I should say, finding – with a car they’ve been working on for over two years. Is there anything wrong with introducing a completely new car into the competition? No, of course not. Is there anything wrong with giving the drivers a challenge they haven’t experienced ever? Again, no, of course not.

Taking a quick look back at the race last weekend at Daytona, it just wasn’t as good as this fan thought it should or could be. In fact, I thought – and still do think – they have basically managed to kill Super Speedway racing. (I’m sure that will gain some disagreement from all corners and everyone has a right to their own opinion.) For one thing, at least from my view, the only thing basically the same with Superspeedway racing and the Next Gen car is the remaining existence of the “The Big One.”

I know it sounds like I’m complaining but I’m really not. I prefer to call it whining. After coming off a year like 2021 and the type of racing at all the tracks they visited, I’m just completely underwhelmed. This has nothing to do with Ford, Chevy or Toyota. This has everything to do with the introduction of the Next Gen car and my opinion of it. I still believe what I mentioned before. I believe NASCAR has managed to attain the parity they always intended and they’ve done it with this new car and in the process killed the competitive racing they had with the old car. Even the drivers aren’t all that happy with it and, in my opinion, they do their best to not complain too much and tick off NASCAR.

Yeah, I know I’m treading in dangerous territory and there will be many that disagree with my assessment of the Next Gen car. I also know it may not be considered as appropriate or completely true but, it is the way I see it and I’m not really willing to give up that view point at the present time. I’m sure some will say that I just don’t like change and there is nothing further from the truth. What I like is change for the better and with the Next Gen car, that remains to be seen and maybe… just maybe… it will happen in the not-too-distant future. I guess we’ll see about that and we’ll see if and how NASCAR may re-evaluate this new car.

Now, getting back to Fontana and the Auto Club Speedway…

Judging only from what I observed in the practices and qualifying, this could be another race with carnage like we usually only see at the Super Speedways. turns three and four seem to be the place many had difficulties in. So many had problems in those corners running as single cars, I can’t help but wonder what it will be like when they go into those turns two or three wide. I think this will be the place where the worst could happen and, since this is the entry to the front straight and the finish line, it could be where the race is won or lost and not because of driver error.

If you listen closely to the drivers and crew chiefs, you’ll find they admit this car is a real challenge and difficult to drive. You will also hear them say these are the cards they’ve been dealt and they will deal with it as they always do. So far, they’re dealing with it but I’m not so sure they’re happy about the progress so far.

From this fan’s view, I know there are many things about the Next Gen car that are good. I also know it is a major transition in technology and engineering for NASCAR. I’m willing to be patient and take a wait and see attitude over the next several races. My biggest question for any and all with an opinion is this; Is the Next Gen car the best car for NASCAR Stock Car Racing and its future or is there something more conducive to the type racing Stock Car racing is all about. I don’t know about you but, I am anxious to find out…

Hey, This is Russ and that’s my view – See ya next time…

All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer

© February 26, 2022 – all rights reserved

Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com

All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions

All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

The Season Begins With The Big One At Daytona

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

As they’ve been doing for a long time, NASCAR starts off their season with the biggest and most prestigious race of the year, the Daytona 500. As we enter the 2022 NASCAR Cup season it’s no different than it has been for long, long time BUT, there ARE a LOT of things different this year.

The Clash was in a totally different venue – The Coliseum in LA – and they built a track for that where there wasn’t one before AND that track was a quarter-mile, something the Cup cars hadn’t visited for 50 years or so. The car is new – the Next Gen or Gen Seven car – and has been totally re-designed (except maybe for the power under the hood.) Some of the drivers are new to the Cup series and there are new teams, team names and owners joining with NASCAR as all of this comes together in this new year.

So, let’s talk about some of what has already transpired.

Hey, I admit I’ve been a NASCAR fan for longer than many of the fan’s these days have been alive. I have seen a lot of changes over the years and some I have liked and some had to grow on me but, I’m still a fan after all this time. As we enter the 2022 season, I have to say right up front, some of the things I’ve seen so far this year will also have to grow on me.

We all endured the hype leading up to the Clash at the Coliseum and there certainly was lot of it. Some were disappointed with it but many weren’t. Looking at it from a local stock car driver/owner, not in NASCAR point of view, I’m sure the drivers enjoyed it more than anybody and as it turned out, it was just like a normal Saturday night short track race. Frankly, if it weren’t for the usual short track pushing and shoving, beating and banging, I found it to be a bit boring. In typical short track fashion, it was pretty much follow-the-leader and the way to pass was to move the guy in front of you out of the way.

Admittedly, the Clash has always been more of an entertainment type of race from my view with no points on the line but definitely a trophy and bragging rights. Since it was the first race on the previously unknown track and venue, Joey Logano walked with both of those. Looking at it as a fan, it was okay and I’m glad many got a chance to see a NASCAR Cup race, possibly for the first time even though not a typical track. Honestly though, I really couldn’t tell if the fans in the seats were there more for the race or Pit Bull and Ice Cube.

This week we saw, practice, qualifying and The Duels and it was the first time we all got to see the Next Gen car with more cars running on the track at the same time. From this fan’s view, it was a little disappointing to see how much of a follow-the-leader type of race the duels were. Yeah, I know the teams were feeling out their cars and determining what they needed to do to make them faster and more manageable in groups but, once again the Fords mostly ran together, the Toyotas and the Chevys the same.

Now, I understand the manufacturer thing and even the team thing but, I have to admit, at least from my view, I was disappointed in how hard it was to make up the difference between a two tire stop and a four. I was even a little surprised at how easy it was for a car to lose the draft and how hard it was for those that did to catch back up. Usually, they didn’t. From my view, it looked like the magic number of cars to either catch up or break away was at least four. Whether or not it had anything to do with the manufacturer or just at least four cars hooking up, I couldn’t tell.

Now, I’m not saying these aren’t things they won’t find answers to even as early as the start of the race, but it does make me question, at least a little bit, just how the 500 may go on Sunday afternoon. Could it be that NASCAR in desiring to attain parity as they wanted, has done too good a job? I say it is possible but not too likely. All of these guys are racers and I am sure they will figure it out even though it may not be for Sunday’s race.

From this fan’s view and trying to be as positive and fair about all of what is going on in NASCAR in this new season, I wonder what the Daytona 500 will be like this weekend. Judging from the end of Duel 2, I see it is still highly possible for drivers to make mistakes. That being the case, that means there is still the likelihood of having at least one “Big One” and possibly more than one.

Another thing I wonder about is which of the teams and or manufacturers might show an advantage over the others. Were the Chevys only fast as single cars or were they sandbagging? Looking at the performance of the Fords in the last practices, I just wonder if they are that far ahead of the others or if they just work good together? And the Toyotas… well… hard to tell at this point.

From this fan’s view, I think this is going to be a race with a lot of follow-the-leader laps with a lot of side-by-side and single file racing. I don’t think anyone will be anxious to jump out of line and quickly fade to the back or lose the draft altogether. Unless I miss my guess, I expect there will be a lot of two tire stops unless the stops are under caution. This just makes sense to me since there is about a four second difference between a two tire and a four-tire stop. Without a doubt in my view, fueling will take the longest amount of time on a stop and that will be the demise of some and the advancement in the field for others.

Understanding there are a lot of things new and different going into the Daytona 500, I’m willing to take it all in and see how things pan out. After all, there’s a lot of racing ahead in 2022…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view. See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© February 19, 2022 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated