Playoff Race #2 At New Hampshire Motor Speedway from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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Rusty Norman

Well, hello everybody. It’s good to be back. I had a slight interruption in my ability to do these because of hurricane Irma. Don’t let anyone tell you any different, it was very rough down here in SW Florida (and, of course, elsewhere) and it did interrupt our lives for more than a week and almost two now. Between getting ready for the storm and then enduring it and cleaning up afterwards (which is something we are all still doing) it has been difficult to find the time to write about NASCAR.

I know others have managed but I just couldn’t do it all so I chose to take a couple of weeks off to take care of stuff. You see, not only did we have to contend with Irma, but before she showed up, had about 17 inches of rain where I live. That means I was flooded out of my home twice in three weeks. Didn’t even get the first one cleaned up before Irma hit and did it to us again.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. I am very thankful that my light and present circumstance was not worse (and believe me, many had and have bigger problems than I did and do) because there is no doubt in my mind that it could have been much worse than it was. After experiencing Irma, there is no doubt in my mind that it was a life changing happening for millions of people. I have been through three major hurricanes in the last 13 years but this one was the worst one for several reasons but I don’t need to go into that any further here. I just wanted to explain why I missed the last two weeks of blogposts about Monster Energy NASCAR Cup racing from a NASCAR Fan’s View.

So what better place to return to talking about Monster Energy NASCAR Cup racing than the second playoff race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. I think this is one of the more challenging tracks the drivers and teams face on the circuit. It is a very challenging, almost flat track and thought the drivers tend to love it, they also tend to dislike it immensely at times. Some do well at New Hampshire and some don’t. Even with the “Sticky Stuff’ they use on the track to help with grip, the drivers still struggle to stay in the groove. Unfortunately, at least from this fan’s view, the “Sticky Stuff” does wear off as the race progresses and it can have a drastic effects. The drivers rely heavily on the “Sticky Stuff” to make their cars handle and when it is gone, the wall isn’t that forgiving. If they hit it, it will definitely make for a bad finish for them depending on the severity of the contact. (But then you already know all of that… don’t you?)

As far as the way the first playoff race went, it seems that penalties had a lot to do with how several finished. Some of those penalties are even carrying over into this one. Between Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Chase Elliott I don’t know which one fared worse. Both of them paid a price and it definitely puts more pressure on them and their teams for this week.

Of course the penalties for the #24 team add up to a much different situation than the #17. Chase lost his crew chief and car chief and that probably won’t help his situation, at least in the first part of the race. I’m not saying he will come out of it on the plus side but then again he is one of the Hendrick Motor Sports teams. That means the reserves go deep and it may or may not make much of a difference. I guess that’s one where we’ll just have to see how it turns out over the next two weeks.

Ricky Stenhouse on the other hand just hasn’t looked all that good this weekend and the #17 team has struggled. That may or may not bode well for his chances to advance into the second round of the playoffs even though there is this race and one more before the first cut.

I will be watching this one with interest if for no other reason than to see if Kyle Bush can make it to the end of a playoff race without he or his team making mistakes that could cost him a chance to advance into the second round in two weeks. So far, mistakes have cost him. Even though he had a fast car last weekend, it did him little good. One thing this new format seems to do is focus on the mistakes committed and how much it costs the teams that commit them.

It is obvious (at least to this fan) that Martin Truex could end up as the Champ for 2017 if he and his team continue to perform as they have. They have looked fairly invincible as the year has progressed and this stage format seems to suit them at least somewhat better than the others. However, Kyle Larson, in particular, may have something to say about that. Well, him and about 14 others…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© September 24, 2017 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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