Saturday Night Short Trackin’ At Richmond


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I don’t know about you but, I don’t recall in recent history having this much rain at the beginning of a NASCAR Sprint Cup season. I could be wrong but it just doesn’t seem like this is a normal start to a season. We’ve had a several NASCAR weekends affected by rain and it appears this weekend is no different.

Once again, the field will line up according to the first practice session on Friday afternoon because qualifying was rained out. That means there’s going to be some very good cars starting in the middle or back of the field and others that will probably be starting much better than they ever expected to, especially at Richmond. And how about that poll winner, Kyle Larson? Is it possible he may win his first Sprint Cup race this weekend? Well… that remains to be seen but it is a possibility that has to be considered. (Now that’s a scenario that would really make Darrell Waltrip happy…)

The thing I find interesting about tonight’s race at Richmond is that it’s going to be a little different, at least at the beginning, simply because of the rain out of qualifying. Although it’s possible things will turn out much as they were going to should they have had qualifying, with the way the field is lining up I’m really wondering whether or not this is going to be a normal Richmond race or not. Since it is a short track and they’re racing under the lights, it’s one of those races that we won’t really know what’s going to happen until they actually get started. Personally, I don’t think Kyle Larson is going to win tonight but I do have to consider the possibility that starting out front and the fact that this is a short track that’s at times hard to pass on, he very well could.

Of course I think there are some veteran drivers that are going to press that issue all night long. Kevin Harvick, Jimmy Johnson, Clint Boyer, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski, just to name a few, won’t be content to sit back and watch the rookie win. I expect all the ones I just mentioned to be pressing him from the drop of the green flag. I’m not saying he doesn’t have the ability to win, I’m just saying that the veterans are not going to make it easy for him.

Now that I’ve named a few drivers that I think have a very good chance of winning tonight, it’s awfully hard to talk about Richmond and not mention the name of Jeff Gordon. He is one that is not only capable of winning but, in this fan’s opinion, is one that is very much overdue to win a race with the way he’s been running in this 2014 season. Now don’t go jumping to any conclusions, I’m not saying he’s going to win… I’m just saying he has to be considered when it comes right down to choosing people that could win tonight at Richmond.

Kyle Busch is another one that can’t be left out of the mix. In fact, it’s awfully hard to not mention his brother Kurt in the same sentence with him. Either one of them could win tonight and of course Kyle’s teammate, Matt Kenseth might have something to say about that himself. I’m really not expecting Matt to win but I do expect he’ll make a good showing tonight. (Well… that is if something unexpected doesn’t happen and since this is short track racing at its best, that is a high possibility.)

In all honesty, this fan has no idea who’s going to win tonight but there are more than a few names that do stand out. I’ve already mentioned several but there’s a few that I haven’t mentioned yet. This could be the night that Marcos Ambrose becomes known more than just a road course winner and take his first oval track victory in Sprint Cup. From this fan’s view nothing would be more fitting than for a Petty team to win especially considering what the King has been through the last several weeks and if the truth be known, this fan would not be disappointed in all the see Ambrose win.

I think tonight will have a very interesting start to the race. I completely believe that it’s going to take a while for things to ring themselves out simply because of the rain out of qualifying. There’s going to be some good cars starting up front and there’s going to be some good cars starting in the back and barring the unforeseen, it’s going to take the better cars little time to work their way towards the front. As I mentioned before, Richmond is not an easy track to pass on and I can make the racing all the more interesting simply because of the way they’re lined up and because of that pesky rain thing that eliminated qualifying.

From this fan’s view it’s anybody’s guess who is going to end up in Victory Lane and there is no doubt in my mind that it could be someone totally unexpected. Will it be Kyle Larson? Will it be one of the other rookies? Will it be Danica Patrick? Well… I reckon we’ll see.

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 26, 2014 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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