The race at Indy this weekend will probably be unique. Because of the rain that has fallen on the track over the last couple of days, the race will be run on Sunday without the teams having any track time at all. There was no practice, no final practice and no qualifying. Those things in themselves are interesting and different but that also means it makes this season ending race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway very unique.
One can’t help but wonder how this race without the usual track time the teams usually have will go. Not that we don’t think they won’t have any idea of how to set up for Sunday’s race because we all know they have plenty of knowledge and notes to go on before they ever show up at any track and unload off the trucks. It just makes this fan wonder if this season ending race will favor the stronger teams or whether we just might have a first-time winner or an unexpected winner that makes it into the playoffs and knocks out one of the ones in before the race starts.
From this fan’s view, there are a lot of things going on this weekend in the sport and it just adds to the stress and drama already present for this final race of the regular season. Some of the most interesting would be the news of Kasey Kahne and his recurring health problem and the news that Furniture Row will be terminating operations at the end of the 2018 season. If you pay any attention at all to the talking heads, you already know all of this. If not, well, then it is news to you and, I have to admit, the Furniture Row thing surprised me the most.
I know they have good reasons but to make the announcement just before going into the playoffs strikes me as strange. I’m just a fan and have no insight into what it takes to own or even financially support a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team but, from my view, it seemed they were just beginning to click and be consistent. Martin Truex Jr.’s team in particular is one that has been considered to be one of this year’s “Big Three.” I just can’t help but wonder if this will motivate or discourage the #78 team going into the playoffs. They have always been able to overcome adversity but this has to be added stress to all of the members of the teams from driver to pit crew. I suppose it could have a positive effect on them as a team, but, it could also affect them negatively in the weeks to come. (I guess time will tell on that one…)
I have to admit, being a Chevy fan, I can’t wait to see how they will do at the Brickyard. Although the Chevys overall have shown improvement in speed, from this fan’s view, they still haven’t found enough to win or even run up front consistently. Of course I know there are a couple of teams that have upped the game a bit, but there is still a long way to go for them. If it weren’t for Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott, I wouldn’t even have much to say about their chances of making it past the first round of the playoffs. It is hard to judge how they will do at Indy but I will admit (though cautiously) they might prove to be formidable competitors in The Big Machine Vodka 400. It is awfully hard to say without seeing how they might’ve performed in the practices and qualifying. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see IF they have what it takes to make it very far into the playoffs.
Another thing that adds to the drama of this race is what could happen to the drivers in the fifteenth and sixteenth place in the playoff standings. Jimmie Johnson had a terrible race last weekend and Alex Bowman made some gains on him. Should there be a new winner Sunday afternoon one of those two would be booted from the top sixteen. Whether it would be Jimmie Johnson or Alex Bowman depends on what kind of race they have. If Jimmie has the same kind of race he had last weekend, Alex Bowman could pass him in the standings and, should we have that new winner in 2018, Jimmie would be out and Alex in. (Wow! There probably won’t be many dull moments for those two teams, huh?)
The only way Ricky Stenhouse Jr. can make it in is to win. The same goes for Ryan Newman, Paul Menard and Daniel Suarez. Their motivation is to win – of course it is every weekend – but what their situation does is make the race all the more stressful and dramatic for all six of them. This is truly a race that it ain’t over till it’s over. How they finish can make ALL the difference in the way the playoffs go for any of them. For the seven-time Champion, Jimmie Johnson, this could be one of the most rewarding races of his career. It could also be one of the most disappointing. I don’t reckon we’ll know the answer to those two things until the final checkered flag drops…
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© September 08, 2018 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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