Sprint Cup Teams Road Racing In California


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Road Racing in the Sprint Cup Series used to be something many teams simply endured so they could move on to the next weekend. Now, many drivers have improved their skills to include Road Racing and many of them are excited at the change of pace. No longer do they dread having to turn right and left, shift gears while braking, climb up hill and go downhill all the while avoiding wheel hop and doing it all faster than the rest on the track.

 

Sure, I know there are still several that don’t like the road racing circuit but often they are replaced with “ringers” or they and their team take the week off. Not that they don’t actually show up, but they just don’t quite put forth the same effort as they may on the oval tracks. They still just endure the road course, do the best they can and move on to next week.

 

Personally, this fan likes to watch what are called “the best race car drivers in the world” take on the road circuits and show exactly what they are made of. Every year more and more of them seem to decide to improve their road racing skills and it has certainly made the racing much more interesting. I’m not being critical of anyone, I’m just stating the obvious and it has been interesting to watch how the NASCAR drivers and teams have improved on the road courses.

 

Are there still standouts when the Cup teams take to the road courses? Of course there are but it does appear to this fan all of them are getting better at it and the racing is much closer than it used to be and not all that long ago.

 

Some attribute the improvement to the cars and that probably does have something to do with it. I just don’t think anyone can deny that all of the drivers approach the road courses with a different mentality. Now, they want to be just as competitive at these tracks as they want to be on all of the other type tracks they face. From this fan’s view, I think they got tired of watching some of their competitors simply drive away from them on a regular basis and that just didn’t sit well with their competitive spirit.

 

What I find interesting this year at Sonoma is the lineup to start the race. It actually looks a lot like a regular oval track lineup instead of a road course. Perhaps a little unexpected to this fan was Jamie McMurray taking the pole position. That’s not to say he isn’t a good road course driver, it’s just that I didn’t expect it. Actually, Jamie is very good on these tracks and has qualified up front before. He has matured as a driver over the last few years and he knows you can’t win the race on the first lap. Road courses take a lot of consistency and patience, something he appears to have a grip on more now than in past years.

 

Not unexpectedly, Marcos Ambrose is starting on the front row but Jamie McMurray took the pole position from him by a few hundredths of a second. Marcos was a little disappointed by that but I expect him to be one of the contenders all day long. One thing is for sure, barring the unforeseen mistake or equipment failure, he is probably one of the most likely winners by the end of the day.

 

The top ten is full of possible winners other than McMurray and Ambrose. A few names that stand out in particular to this fan are Clint Bowyer, Kurt Bush and Jeff Gordon. All three are very capable on the road courses and could end up in Victory Lane when all is said and done.

 

Greg Biffle is another one that stands out to this fan that could pull off the victory. He does come into this weekend with confidence and momentum on his side compared to past years and this could be his year to take home the trophy.

 

Of all the emphasis put on the drivers’ capabilities on these type tracks (and this one in particular), the strategy calls by the crew chiefs in the pits will probably make the biggest difference by the end of the day. The drivers will have to be consistent lap after lap, avoid wheel hop and keep all four tires on the asphalt. Track position will be important and so will the number of pit stops each team makes. Some will try to make it in two and others will try for three. Which one will work out the best? Well that my fellow NASCAR fans is what we’ll find out when the checkered flag drops…

 

See ya next time…

All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer

© June 23, 2013 – all rights reserved

Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com

All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions

 

Published by Rusty Norman

Rusty Norman is a writer, Big NASCAR Fan, Jesus believer, musician and former local Stock Car racer. singer, songwriter, author and blogger. He was born in Southern Illinois and moved to Florida with his parents in 1962. His first story was published in the 1968 school literary magazine when he was a junior at Cypress Lake High School in Fort Myers, FL. Although he didn't venture into writing immedately, he did begin writing regularly over twenty-five years ago. He has also been a sound technician over the last 40 plus years and produces, almost weekly blogcasts during the racing season on his Nascar websites as well as being involved in the media ministry at First Assembly of God in Fort Myers, FL. He maintains several websites, each with a different focus, and continues writing songs, poetry and short stories along with articles like those found in his "Living Life Notes" series. He has just released the first of three planned books in the Living Life Notes series. The second is expected to be released in the middle to late September of this year and the third is planned to be released sometime in 2015. He also has several other books and stories in the works as well,