Road Racing At Indy

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

It’s road racin’ at Indy once again and, because the time is getting short to make the playoffs, this race at Indy is probably more important than it would normally be. That’s not to say it wouldn’t be important anyway but it is saying the intensity is way elevated and determination to perform better than expected is on the minds of everyone that even has the slightest chance of making the playoffs. Winning is the main intention of all, even more so than on a normal race weekend.

I’m not sure where to start today. There is so much drama going on just above and just below the cut line. Some are relatively safe above the cut. Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski will make the playoffs on points UNLESS something really out of the ordinary happens over the next three weeks. Of course, either one of them could win today at Indy and remove all doubt.

The real drama is at the cutline. Bubba Wallace is in a good spot at plus fifty-eight but he can’t afford to have a bad day at Indy. Ty Gibbs is in a much more precarious position being only three points to the plus side of the line. A bad day for him could mean having to struggle for the next couple of races to get back what could be lost. Once again, looking at the possibilities and capabilities of both drivers, either one of them could win and remove all doubt of their making the playoffs.

Where it gets really interesting is below the cut. Michael McDowell and Daniel Suarez sit just below the cutline and a good day at Indy for either of them could mean a real boost for them and their teams. As close as the points are between them and Ty Gibbs, anything could happen today and all three of them could be better or worse off, depending on which way things go. All three of them are good road racers and all three of them need a good day but, a bad day could affect their hopes for the post season. As it stands right now, they are all in the hunt and they are all able to point their way into the playoffs.

Of the three I just mentioned, one of them may have a slight advantage over the other two. Of course, I’m sure you know I’m talking about Daniel Suarez. If he can maintain the pace he set in qualifying, he could have a major advantage over the rest of the entire field. Although this fan doesn’t think it very likely, with him taking the pole, he could possibly take the win and dominate the entire day at Indy. Like I said, I don’t think that will happen but it could and, wouldn’t that shake up the possibilities for the others trying to make the playoffs. Daniel is only five points below the cut. A good day or a win or both could really make things interesting in the points situation.

Michael McDowell is also in the same situation. He qualified fourth and could end up with a very good day if things go his way. Imagine if he pulled off the win. Not only would that put him in the playoffs but it would also make for a real shakeup of the points situation for those wanting to make the playoffs and are now in contention unless someone – and I hate to use the word but here goes – “unexpected” wins. Like Daniel, Michael is quite capable of winning on a road course and a win would cinch his place in the playoffs.

If either of those two possibilities happens today, it will make a tough situation even tougher for several drivers trying to make the cut and, in particular, drivers like Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman both of which are desperately trying to make the playoffs. Lately, their luck hasn’t been all that good so, at least from this fan’s view, they can’t afford to add to the complications of their making up points to qualify for the playoffs. Both of them have been going through a tough time of finishes even with fast racecars and both need at the very least, a good day if not a win. I don’t think either of them wants to go to Daytona in a must win situation.

Add to all of this the drivers Shane Van Gisbergen, Brodie Kostecki and Kamui Kobyashi. Man! Talk about some endless possibilities for an exciting day at the races. That’s what this is all about.

Shucks, we haven’t even mentioned all the other drivers quite capable of winning on a road course. You know, drivers like Denny Hamlin, Christopher Bell, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larson, Aric Almirola, Ross Chastain and a whole host of others. If that doesn’t add up to a race with intensity and drama and, at the drop of the green flag, a bunch of unknowns and endless possibilities I don’t know what does. One thing is certain, at least from this fan’s view; Winning is the key and every one of them knows that…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© August 13, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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