Some Chasers Looking For Magic At NHMS from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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Rusty Norman

There are some of the Chasers looking for some magic at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend. After some bad performances and bad racing luck, some of the hopefuls for moving on to the second round of the Chase absolutely need good finishes at NHMS on Sunday afternoon. As everyone knows that’s been paying even a little attention to NASCAR Sprint Cup, Martin Truex, Jr. is already in round two because of his win last weekend.

Speaking of Martin Truex, Jr., he has been running strong, especially since May and he presently looks like a real contender to move on all the way into the final round. Of course anyone that knows racing knows all of that momentum can be quenched with one or two bad finishes in the second third elimination rounds of the Chase. That’s one thing about racing and racing luck; one never knows when it may turn against you and when it may cost you the biggest prize of NASCAR – the Sprint Cup Championship.

Chris Buescher has a pretty tough mountain to climb if he even wants to make it into round two with his 28th place finish last weekend. Since he was already a long shot in even making it to round one of the Chase, he has a lot of ground to make up. Of course we all know if he makes it to round two or further it would truly be the Cinderella story of NASCAR for the 2016 season and possibly ever. No one expected him to even be where he is and not very many think he has a real chance at even making to round two let alone all the way to Homestead, but, strange things do happen in racing and especially in NASCAR. As for this fan’s opinion, I really don’t think he will advance into round two and he is one of my first picks for being eliminated from the Chase.

Kyle Larson is looking pretty good for this weekend and it looks to this fan that he and his team came prepared to try and take back the ground they lost last weekend with an 18th place finish and losing 5 spots in the standings. Now admittedly, he may not have to win but winning would at least seal the deal for him making it to round two and for some he is decidedly a long shot to do that. Personally, I am not so sure that he won’t make it to round two and could make it to round three and beyond. Yes I do think he is a long shot but he does have talent, potential and speed, at least coming into this weekend and it is possible he could pull off his second Cup win at NHMS. (I have to admit, that really wouldn’t surprise me that much but I going to wait and see how he does before making any real predictions for his advancing further.)

Austin Dillon is another one I don’t expect to go any further in the Chase this year. I just haven’t seen the consistency that would make me pick him as one of the twelve to move on after these next two races. It is always a possibility he could but I just don’t think it will happen for him this year. Would I be surprised if he proved me wrong? No, not really but I do take into consideration the performance coming out of the Richard Childress camp so far this year and I just don’t see the strength or speed when they show up at the track. Maybe in a year or two they will be more formidable competition. Besides, mostly the reason he moved up two spots after last weekend in Chicago is because others finished worse than he did.

Kevin Harvick finished 20th at Chicagoland and was primarily a victim of circumstances beyond his control. He had a very fast car and it looked like he was going to be one of the contenders by the end of the race but early on he had some bad racing luck. For him, a caution came out at the worst possible time and put him a lap down while he was in the pits. From this fan’s view that’s just plain bad racing luck. One second faster and he would have likely remained on the lead lap and who know what might have happened after that. As it was, he just couldn’t catch a break and get back on the lead lap in time to contend for the win. Don’t know if he will bounce back this weekend at NHMS but since we’re talking about Kevin Harvick, this fan just doesn’t want to count him out just yet.

There are others that didn’t finish all that bad but mistakes did cause them to have to hustle all the way to the end of the Chicagoland race. Jimmie Johnson is one of them. A Speeding penalty on pit road put him and his team in a bad spot for a long time during the race and fortunately for him, he finished in 12th exactly in the same position he started in the grid. In this fan’s opinion, I really don’t think that’s at all where they wanted to finish and they definitely don’t want to have a repeat of last year’s Chase where they had bad races in the first two races of the 2015 Chase. Basically that ended their run for the Championship last year and they absolutely don’t want to repeat their early exit of last year.

Although they don’t seem to have regained all of their strength, the Hendrick teams are showing a lot of improvement and this fan thinks they are breathing a sigh of relief even though they aren’t necessarily breathing easy yet. I do think Jimmie has a very good chance at winning the race on Sunday afternoon but I do not think it will come easy. They are going to have to work for it and not make any mistakes which they have been prone to do quite often this season.

This one is kind of up in the air from this fan’s view. It is a relatively short race and should be quite interesting to watch. I have no idea how it will turn out but it should be full of drama and tension and could exhibit some strong emotions as the race progresses. I am not going to call a winner but there are several to choose from and it could be a very big surprise when the day is done and all attention turns to Victory Lane… you might even say it’s magical.

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© September 24, 2016 – all rights reserved
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