Cup Teams Take It To Atlanta   

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Okay, Daytona is in the rear view and Atlanta is here. Funny that the front row looks almost the same as it did last weekend except for the Fords of Joey Logano and Michael McDowell switching places. I can’t help but wonder if the result will be the same as it was except this week Michael McDowell may have the dominant car. The reason I say that is because in Daytona Joey sat on the pole and pretty much could move about at will in the field. Of course we all know what happened with around ten to go.

Last week, I thought the Toyotas would make a better showing than they did. Instead, the Fords seemed to have the advantage. The Chevys played a better game when it came to strategy and pitting though and when it came down to the final lap – with the help of another caution at the white flag – two Hendrick Chevys ended up first and second.

So, what is the story for Atlanta? Will the Fords dominate? Will the Toyotas finally begin to show their strength? Well, from this fan’s view, I just don’t know.

Atlanta is a tricky place. In reality it is a Super Speedway in the way it drives but it is mile shorter than Daytona. that may not seem like much of a difference but, if you ask the drivers, they’ll tell you it is a difference and some may even say it is a big difference. The draft will still have an effect and two and three wide racing will still happen. I believe there will often be times of up against the wall, single file racing also. Of course, that would be nothing new for racing at Atlanta.

I have to be honest. As a fan, I have my favorites and I have those that I don’t consider to be favorites. I won’t mention any names of my not-so-favorite drivers just yet but, trust me, I am like every other NASCAR fan. I have drivers I would rather not see in Victory Lane. I have what I consider to be good reasons for my lack of placing them on my favorites list and those are likely the very same reasons others put them on their favorites list.

If you’ve been following this “Fan’s View” for very long, I am sure you already know which ones I’m talking about. If not, well… I’m sure it will become obvious over time which ones are which. Admittedly, I have been a fan for a long time and there are those I have changed my opinion of over time. Maybe I changed or, just maybe they matured and changed the things that originally turned me against them as a possible fan. What ever the case, it is sometimes easier just to ignore them and their accomplishments and be just the slightest bit disappointed when they achieve the victory over “my favorites.”

Now that I’ve said all that, I have to say I would like to see the Chevys do the same thing this weekend that they did last weekend. Yeah, it might be a stretch to think they could pull off the same feat two weeks in a row but I have to admit, I’m a Chevy fan. I want to see them win and, although I am in particular a Hendrick fan, I like other Chevy teams also. The RCR teams and Trackhouse Racing Team come to mind. Ross Chastain is from Alva, FL. That is about 30 miles or so from where I live so it is hard for me not to be a fan. Actually, I like the whole mentality of Trackhouse Racing. They aren’t in NASCAR to just be also rans. They came to be a force to be reckoned with and it proves out every weekend. They are aggressive – sometimes overly aggressive – but still they are in it to win.

Maybe, just maybe the Chevys will have what it takes to win this afternoon just like last weekend. After all, William Byron has won two of the last four races at Atlanta. Atlanta is like a home track to Chase Elliott so it is hard to not expect him to want to do well in front of the “home crowd.” This could even be the race where Alex Bowman breaks into the win column. He did finish second at Daytona and almost won.

Since I’m being very straightforward this weekend, I have to say of all the competitors in any of the makes, whether it be Ford, Toyota or Chevy, I would really like to see Kyle Larson win at a Super Speedway. He hasn’t had the greatest of luck at any of the Super Speedways and I would really like to see him get his first win at Atlanta. He did show some speed in qualifying and I only hope he and his team can make all the right choices with their strategies and put him out front at the right time. I know that makes me a little biased but, who knows, Atlanta just might be the place he breaks the barrier and wins…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© February 25, 2024 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and Pod Cast Norm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

The 2024 Daytona 500   

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

There’s nothing like a rain delay to ruin plans for a big event. This year’s Daytona 500 is happening a day later and it will not have all of the luster of the way the event was supposed to happen. Oh sure, it will still have some of it but, it will lose something in starting a day later. I’m not saying the stands will be empty and I’m not saying they will be full. There will still be a lot of people there but there will be something missing. Because of the way dates are planned and the way tickets are purchased in advance, some people won’t be able to stay for the race and will have already left or will be leaving by the time this one starts. Oh well, I guess they will be able to watch it on TV or listen to it on the radio as they travel away from the excitement of actually being there…

Oh heck! What am I saying?!? This is Daytona and it is, after all, President’s Day and a lot of people will be off work so they will be able to be in the stands at the race and even more should be able to watch “The Great American Race” live on TV and listen on radio. So much for any drawbacks to a rain delayed race. Besides, anyone that can and will stay around will be treated to two big races on the same day.

One thing that stands out to this fan as the teams take to the track this afternoon is the possibility that the Toyotas could dominate the show. Since both the Fords and the Toyotas have new body styles and, at first glance of the results, it looks like it helped the Toyotas. Now, obviously, we can’t tell a lot by what we have watched transpire on the track so far but, it did appear they had at least a slight advantage over the other two makes. It could be that the Fords will make a better showing during the race today but, at the moment from this fan’s view, it looks the obvious advantage goes to the Toyotas.

So… what about the Chevys?

Well, that’s the question on my mind, too. They did have their bright moments in the Duels and it is possible they could pull off some surprises as the race progresses. I’m just not sure they won’t struggle a bit. Well, that is at least at the start and until a stop or two in the pits.

I find it interesting that the Hendrick Chevys appear to be doing things a little different this 500. Usually one or two of them start on the front row but it appears those spots are taken by other teams this season. Should they be worried? I don’t really think so. Kyle Larson looked very strong in Duel 1 and, if he hadn’t been forced out of the way, would have likely come away with the victory. That’s where the questions come in, at least from this fan’s view. When Tyler Reddick made his run on the last lap of Duel 1, it looked like he was in a different gear than the rest.

Could that have been because of the new Toyota body style? I guess it could be. Or maybe, just maybe, it was just because Larson got loose and didn’t want to have move to a backup car. Reddick was very aggressive on his move to the lead and it could be Larson wasn’t willing to press the issue with him. I know that doesn’t sound like a Kyle Larson kind of thing, but he did manage to not wreck even though it may not be a usual things for him. Usually he is all out all the time. Maybe this will be his year to win the Daytona 500 because of a different approach and maybe not. I guess we will know the answer to that question after about 500 miles at Daytona.

It does appear that the Joe Gibbs Toyotas have the strongest looking cars going into today’s race but, this is the Daytona 500 and, as we all know, the winner isn’t declared until the checkered flag drops…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© February 19, 2024 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and Pod Cast Norm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

NASCAR 2024 Season Begins  

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

You know… I could have easily called this, “An Old Guy Looks At The 2024 NASCAR Season,” but I didn’t. Maybe I’ll wish I did later but I promise… I won’t change it. You see the reason I could is because I’ve been a NASCAR fan since I was very young. I won’t go into how young or how long ago that was but trust me… It WAS a long time ago.

I grew up in Southern Illinois and, as a youngster, we attended the races at our local dirt tracks almost every weekend. Admittedly, it wasn’t a NASCAR track but dirt track racing was very big in our area and people came to race and watch from miles and miles away. Sometimes there was hardly room for the number of cars that showed up to race but, since I was young, I only cared about the racing and the wrecks. It was exciting and my dad and I often talked about building a racecar but just couldn’t afford it. Still, that didn’t keep us from going to the races and it didn’t keep us from dreaming. A lot of people in our hometown built cars and raced and some lived close enough that I could go and look at their cars on my bicycle and dream of the day we might be able to race. Man, those were the days. We did finally get to race after we moved to Florida and, if I do say so myself, we did quire well. (But that’s a story for another day…)

I remember there were two races that were always important to us and we kept up with them by reading about them in the newspaper and magazines and then, finally, on TV. Those two races were the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500. For me, stock car racing and the Daytona 500 was what I was most interested in. I remember a lot of the old names many of you have probably never heard of and NASCAR racing has changed a lot over the years but, the Daytona 500 has just gotten bigger and better and something I have stayed interested in since I was around five or so. As I grew older, I always looked forward to February and the big race in Daytona.

I have to admit that I’ve always felt, since The Clash moved to California, it just isn’t the same. I really think it is much more for the drivers than it is for the fans and they are the ones that enjoy it the most. I think the first time it was a novelty and the fans were really into it for the racing but probably more for the performances by the musicians. I may be wrong, and I am sure there are those that will disagree with me but, I have honestly seen more exciting racing at a local track on a Saturday night. It’s just that the names weren’t as well known. (Like I said, I am sure the drivers love it but, as a fan, I don’t and didn’t find it all that great. Don’t get me wrong. It was okay but I just can’t get into it all that much.) Maybe the track itself is just too small for what they race with or maybe the format is wrong. I don’t know why I react to it the way I do, I just know I don’t get all that thrilled about it. Could be it is time to try another venue, at least for me.

So, The Clash is behind us and the weather made things a bit different than the intended plan. The Super Bowl has also come and gone. Now, it is time for the Duels and then the “Big One.” I realize that could be taken more than one way. It could be talking about the Daytona 500 or it could be talking about “The Big One” as in the big wrecks that always seem to show up during races at the Super Speedways and at Daytona in particular.

I do find it interesting when talking about the Daytona 500 how people often seem to mention the fact that NASCAR Cup racing starts off with its biggest race and then follows it up with a season long pursuit for the playoffs and a Championship. It is true. Daytona is one of the most treasured races for a driver to win and it is one that is a game changer for those that have never won it.

The Duels tonight will be the first to show what the changes to the Ford and Toyota bodies have accomplished. Will those changes put the Chevys in a challenge to keep up or will they equalize the three manufacturers even more and make the racing even closer?

To tell the truth, I have no idea what those changes will make. It could be for the better for the Fords and the Toyotas and put the Chevys in catch up mode. Hopefully, and I don’t say this lightly, the changes will make things better for all three and that my friends is what the real story is all about.

All I can say is, the Duels are just the beginning and the real story will be revealed this coming weekend when the NASCAR Cup teams take on the 2024 Daytona 500.

Honestly, I can’t wait for things to really get going whether it rains and delays the big day or not…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© February 15, 2024 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and Pod Cast Norm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

The Final Four At Phoenix  

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

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Well… we’ve finally arrived to the Championship Race for the 2023 season and there are a lot of questions to be answered as this one progresses. The final four will be racing each other and the rest of the field and that is one thing that makes this race so darn interesting. Not only do they race each other for the Championship but they have to race the rest of the field to see which of them might be declared the winner of the race. Usually, the winner of the race is the winner of the Championship, but not always.

William Byron sits on the pole as of qualifying but Martin Truex Jr starts outside of him on the front row. That could spell trouble for the rest of the field when it comes to the way the race goes. Byron is fast, Truex Jr. is fast but the rows behind them aren’t too shabby either. Kevin Harvick starts third and Kyle Larson starts fourth and both of them could press the two on the front row to have to run harder than they might like.

Pushing those two on the second row to perform or get passed will be Bubba Wallace and Denny Hamlin starting fifth and sixth. In fact, there are several hard-chargers starting in the top fifteen and two of those are the other two final four drivers vying for the Championship, Christopher Bell starting thirteenth and Ryan Blaney starting fifteenth.

If you ask people how they would like to see the race go they may tell you they would like to see Kevin Harvick at least be the winner of the race even though the Championship isn’t a possibility for him. After all, it is his last race as he moves on to the broadcast booth next season. That also means it is his last chance to exit his Cup career with a win in this 2023 Season.

From my view that seems like a reasonable request, but unfortunately, I honestly don’t see that happening. Now, I’m not saying that it won’t happen but I am saying it is not something I expect to happen. Still, Kevin has run well at Phoenix in the past so, could this be the walk off win for the twenty-plus year NASCAR Cup veteran? I honestly can’t say.

Other than Truex Jr. having a great chance to pull off a race win from the front row, there are two others I think just as much or more able to pull the upset, at least for the race win. Those two would be Bubba Wallace and Denny Hamlin. Both of their Toyotas have been fast and both have shown enough speed to be there at the end of the day. In reality, I think Denny has a better chance than Bubba but that’s not to say Bubba has no chance. Whether or not either one will be able to pull off the win remains to be seen.

There are several others quite capable of winning the race even though they’re not qualified to win the Championship. I offer up a few of those simply because they have shown they have speed and they are capable of winning. Erik Jones, Ross Chastain, Chris Buescher, Tyler Reddick and Ty Gibbs have all shown speed at one time or another at Phoenix. Daniel Suarez is another that could surprise with a win. I really don’t know what will happen because there are so many possibilities.

Now getting back to the real world and the championship…

The thing that makes this such an interesting race is the fact that it is really two races in one and both are happening at the same time. First, there is a race to win. Second there is a Champ to be crowned. Usually, the race winner is one of the Final Four but, as I mentioned earlier, that isn’t always the case. In the end, the 2023 Champion only has to finish ahead of the others in the Final Four to win the Championship but which of the four will it be? This is going to be an intense day at the races and this fan thinks it just might be full of surprises. As the last several races of the playoffs have shown, “It ain’t over till it’s over,” and as the drama unfolds so will the emotions. This is definitely going to be one to watch…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© November 5, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and Pod Cast Norm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

Who Will Be In When Martinsville Is Done

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

There are a lot of questions being asked about the race at Martinsville this weekend. The biggest one is “Who will be in the Final Four when this one is done?” There are two spots taken, two remain and six vying for those last two spots. If that doesn’t sound like drama in the making, I don’t know what does.

Two of the possible final four have nothing to lose when it comes to the race today at Martinsville. Of course, you know which two I’m talking about. That’s right, Christopher Bell and Kyle Larson. Both of them can pull out all the stops and run to win without having to worry if their aggression causes them to not run well or even finish. Both of them have fast cars but one of them does seem to have a slight advantage. Well, that is if you think qualifying makes very little difference in how the race goes.

Presently, at least from my view, Christopher Bell may have a slight advantage over Kyle Larson simply because he is driving a Toyota and because the last several weeks he has had the car to beat at the end of the race. I say that is a slight advantage because Kyle has been in position to win several weeks also. I’m not saying either of them will have an advantage today when it comes to the final laps though. That all depends on how it goes with the six trying to win their way into the final Four.

Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. are two drivers desperate to get as many points as they can and both of them want to win their way in. Obviously, they both can’t win and they both sit seventeen points below the cut. For both of them to point their way in would mean at least two other playoff drivers would have to have bad days. Ryan Blaney sits just ten points above the cut and Willaim Byron has a little bit of a cushion sitting thirty points above the cut. Although it is possible either Blaney or Byron could have really bad days, it is hard for this fan to see them both drop to the wayside and both be below the cut.

The other two drivers presently below the cut would be Tyler Reddick and Chris Buescher. Buescher is in a must win situation as far as this fan is concerned and Reddick is ten points below the cut. I guess you could say they’re at the top and bottom of those below the cut. Of the two, Reddick has the best chance of making the cut although he has his work cut out for himself. He and his team just cannot afford any mistakes. They’re going to have to be on their ‘A’ game if they want to have any chance at all and still, it may depend on Blaney or Byron having bad days.

I don’t know if it means anything to you but, to me, it looks like a lot could depend on how Byron and Blaney do during the race. Unfortunately, IF qualifying and practice means anything, it looks like Blaney might have a better chance than Byron. Judging from observing the practice and qualifying speeds, the Fords – in particular the SHR Fords – looked to have good speed.

Sure, I realize Byron may have done better qualifying had he not been on the track when Tyler Reddick spun at the end of his second qualifying lap causing Byron to have to abort his already started coming to green moment but, there is no guarantee he would have either. As it stands, he definitely has his work cut out for himself even with his thirty point cushion since he is starting sixteenth. Plus, the Hendrick Chevys all seem to be looking for just a touch more speed. That could spell trouble for Byron if they don’t rectify it as the race progresses.

The problem for the six playoff drivers still contending to move on to the Final Four is the simple fact that there are other, non-playoff drivers quite capable of winning this one. Some in the field just want to finish off the season with a win. You know, drivers like Chase Elliott, Chase Briscoe, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Bubba Wallace and a host of others without a win this season. Can’t rule out Ty Gibbs either starting outside pole net to Truex Jr.

I really believe that this is going to be one hard-fought race with any number of challengers pulling out all the stops to win. I know it goes without saying that the eight drivers in the round of eight have the advantage but, I don’t think that will deter the others from trying their best to take the win, even at the risk of making it hard on those six playoff drivers trying to make the cut and adding to the drama.

Any way you look at it, there are going to be hard chargers like Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. doing all they can to make it to the Final Four. Martin Truex won the pole and the number one pit choice. He will have an advantage at the start of the race but, with the way things have been going for him and his team, he may or may not be first to the checkered flag at the end of the day. He doesn’t have to win but winning is his best bet if he wants to move on to the Final Four at Phoenix…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 29, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and Pod Cast Norm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated.

Playoff Pressure Is On At Homestead  

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Let’s see… There are seven drivers that want to win or finish up front at Homestead. There are three places left in possibly making the final four and only two races left to race their way in. From my view that means this race at Homestead is full of pressure for the seven remaining in the playoff picture. Well… that is if any of those seven want to race their way into the Final Four. One will make it in by points. That also means the pressure is on those seven and their pit crews to not make mistakes ending up in having a bad day and possibly making it even more difficult to make the Final Four.

All of that makes it even more interesting for all of us as fans but, that kind of pressure on those seven teams can cause what seems to be a standard pit stop for fuel and tires into a possible disaster. It wouldn’t be the first time and, unfortunately, I have a feeling it could happen again Sunday afternoon at Homestead.

Kyle Larson is the only one that can pull out all the stops because it doesn’t really matter where he finishes or if he finishes. He is already qualified for the Final Four because of his win last weekend at Vegas. From my view, I seriously doubt he will be content to just run around, lap after lap, and not be trying to win again at Homestead. I believe he will be running to win and it is quite possible he could. After all, last year he basically dominated and won last year’s race. Of course, that doesn’t mean he will do the same this weekend but he is starting fifth in the starting lineup and there is always a possibility of a repeat performance.

His teammate, William Byron starts seventh and he is another one that could pull off the win but he has been struggling to run at the front. Of course, if you look at his average finishing spot, struggling may not be the best word to use. After all, he did win at Homestead in 2021.

What is going on with the Toyotas? Once again this weekend, one of them won the pole and it just happens to be Martin Truex Jr. Interestingly, there are three Toyotas starting in the top three. Bubba Wallace starts outside pole next to Truex and Tyler Reddick starts third. Surprisingly, Ty Gibbs starts ahead of the other two Toyotas of Denny Hamlin (starting eleventh) and Christopher Bell (starting thirteenth.)

I know I keep repeating myself but, qualifying doesn’t always paint the rosiest picture when it comes to winning the race. In fact, Christopher Bell proved that in the playoffs so far. Do you think it is possible Martin Truex Jr. could prove that to work better for him than for Christopher Bell? After all, he has been struggling most of the playoffs and only making it through to the Round of Eight by the skin of his teeth (and the points he acquired by winning the regular season Championship.) Will this be the race that it all turns around for him? Will this be the race that gets him into the Final Four and a real chance at another Championship? I assure you I don’t know the answer to those questions.

What I do know is there are several non-playoff drivers that would like nothing better than to win at Homestead and put further pressure on those wanting to make the Final Four by forcing them to go to Martinsville and either win or point their way in. If Kyle Larson or a non-playoff driver does win, that is going to make next weekend’s race all the more pressure packed and dramatic. Think about it… that would mean seven drivers still outside the Final Four desperate to make sure to be running for the Championship at Phoenix. Man, talk about pressure. If it goes as I just said, the race at Martinsville could just about be the most dramatic race of all time.

So… what will happen at Homestead? As far as this fan’s view, I have no idea. I do have some suspicions though. Any one of the things I mentioned previously could happen or someone totally unexpected in the Round of Eight could win and move right into the Final Four. It is also possible that someone totally unexpected not in the playoff picture could win and totally make a big shakeup in the points and standings for the cutoff race at Martinsville.

Will Larson have a repeat performance of last year or last week? Will Chrstopher Bell have a better week since he isn’t starting on the pole? Will Denny Hamlin win? Will William Byron? Man… This Homestead race is going to be a very interesting race…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 21, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and Pod Cast Norm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

Vegas And The Round Of Eight Begins  

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

The Round of Eight begins at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway today and there are a lot of reasons the top drivers want to win this one. First and most importantly, if one of the eight playoff drivers wins, they are immediately qualified for the Final Four and have extra time to prepare for the race at Phoenix for the Championship. That, by itself, means less stress for the other two races leading up to the Final Four. That doesn’t mean they won’t be driving to win when competing in the races at Homestead or Martinsville. It just means they won’t be penalized if they have a bad day at either of them.

It is my opinion that they won’t take a lackadaisical attitude even if they do win at Vegas because they will want to stay sharp and on their game all the way to Phoenix. To let up could spell disaster when they compete at Phoenix rather than them being at the peak of their game and ready to take on the field and win the Championship.

Once again this weekend, Christopher Bell snatched another pole for the playoffs and there are those that have already declared him the favorite to take the Championship when they hit the Phoenix track for the final four and the Championship. Personally, I say there is a long way to go before I’m willing to accept that as a possibility. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying he can’t or won’t end up being the favorite or the Champion. What I’m saying is, he has several hurdles to clear before he even gets close.

What I will say is, winning the pole isn’t a guarantee of winning this race or moving on the Final Four or even making it to the Final Four. Bell sat on the pole multiple times and, though he did run strong, he didn’t win. I would also point those that think he is poised to move on to the Final Four at Phoenix to look at the times he sat on the pole in the playoffs and didn’t win. I would also have them look at Tyler Reddick last weekend. He sat on the pole but didn’t win at the Roval.

I admit, the Toyotas have shown a lot of speed, especially in qualifying but, they haven’t always finished the job when it comes to winning. I think any of the drivers will tell you that winning a pole may be good for picking a pit stall. Pit stalls are important parts of the race and races can be won or lost in pit stops. They just don’t guarantee a win or even a good finish.

As I look at the starting lineup, it is hard to miss that there are four Toyotas starting in the top eight and three of them are still in the playoffs. I also look at the top three starters and see there are two Hendrick Chevys. Willian Byron starts third and could be the first one to move on to the Final Four by winning today’s race. The other HMS Chevy is Kyle Larson starting on the front row next to Bell. He didn’t lose the pole position to Bell by that much and I believe it’s possible he could be the first one to move into the Final Four by winning today.

Starting fourth is Martin Truex Jr. It is true that he could turn his whole playoff run around by having a good day or even winning at Vegas. He has had a rough start through the first two playoff rounds and is probably due for a good run if not a win but, his racing luck is going to have to take a big turn if that is to happen. Look… I’m not saying it won’t and he could walk away as the first to be in the Final Four but, well… let’s just say things don’t always turn around like they are needed to and sometimes bad racing luck hangs on for a while. I’ll just have to wait and see on his day at the races.

Although there are several strong and possible winners starting in the top eight, there are others further back that can’t be ruled out as ending up in Victory Lane. Ryan Blaney starts twelfth and Denny Hamlin starts fifteenth. They are both still in the hunt as far as the playoffs are concerned and either one of them could win today.

My biggest concern for today’s race is tires. They have already shown they could be a problem and I do believe it is possible a tire failure could be a possible deciding factor in winning and losing or even being able to move on to the Final Four. Anyway you look at it, the playoff drivers have their work cut out for themselves and none of them can really afford to have a bad day at the races. I admit, a few of them have a little bit more breathing room but…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 15, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and Pod Cast Norm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

Round Two Elimination Race At The Roval  

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

One of the most dreaded races of the 2023 season is taking place at the Roval this weekend and it should be one of the most intense races of the playoffs, if not the entire 2023 season. Things are definitely shaping up to be very interesting to say the very least. With the playoff standings the way they are after Talladega last weekend, this week’s race could mean heartbreak for some and jubilation for others. Whatever the case, there will be four more drivers eliminated from continuing on in the playoffs.

Problems have already started for some and one of them in particular is going to be starting in a bad place. Of course, you know I’m talking about Kyle Larson. He hit the wall hard enough to have to go to a backup car to compete in today’s race. There are those already saying he doesn’t have a chance to move on to the Round of Eight.

Well, I don’t know if that’s true or false but I have seen Kyle come from the back of the pack more than once so, I won’t rule him out until there is absolutely no hope. Of course, you also know that won’t happen until the race is over or Kyle is completely out of options points or win wise. At the time of this writing, he is on the plus side above the cut by fifteen points but, those below him will be ahead of him as soon as the race starts because he will be starting at the back. He has a lot of ground to make up but I won’t rule him out until there is absolutely no hope.

Larson wasn’t the only one of the playoff drivers to have problems in practice but his problems were the most severe. Christopher Bell also hit the wall but he was able to fix the minor damage to his car and qualify. In fact, his damage was apparently so slight, he qualified second on the front row with pole winner, Tyler Reddick.

From this fan’s view, it once again appears the Toyotas have shown up with good speed. It really isn’t a surprise since they have been qualifying up front just about every week since the playoffs started. Although it isn’t much of a surprise, their qualifying speed can be a bit deceptive when it comes to the race. Even though they have been fast, they have also had their share of challenges when the races have started. I’m not willing to bet the farm on their winning today but I will say this. They do look to have an advantage in being at the front when the day is done. It all depends on how they do when all the cars are on the track vying for position. Sometimes, at least from my view, things don’t always go according to plan in the pits or on the track during a race.

A quick look at the playoff standings shows three of those below the cut going into the Roval today starting in the top five. Obviously, Tyler Reddick sits on the pole, Bubba Wallace starts fourth and Kyle Bush fifth. That appears to be a pretty good advantage for them when it comes to the possibility of moving on to the Round of Eight. Well, that is IF things go well and they stay away from mistakes in the pits and other possible troubles on the track.

The problem, as I see it, is that there are several good road racers that aren’t in the playoffs but have a very good chance at winning the race today. Just to mention a few that could pull off the win today would be, AJ Allmendinger starting sixth, Daniel Suarez starting third and Chase Elliott starting eighth. They aren’t the only good road racers in the field but they are starting in the top ten. The others showed good speed but the point is, if some of the drivers starting at the front have problems, drivers like, Ty Gibbs, Joey Logano, Michael McDowell and several others could pull off the win and make moving on for the playoff drivers completely a points thing.

So… two are already moving on to the next round because of wins. Six of the twelve either need to win or have a good points day. Denny Hamlin probably doesn’t have much to worry about and will likely move on to the Round of Eight. That leaves five that really can’t afford to have a “bad day at the races.” As I said earlier, this is the most dreaded race in the playoffs and anything can and probably will happen. Which of the starting thirty-seven drivers do you think can pull off the win and which of the twelve playoff drivers will move on to the Round of Eight? Yeah, that’s what I thought, too…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 8, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and Pod Cast Norm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

Rolling The Dice At Talladega For Race Two  

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

If you ask the drivers what they think of running a race at Talladega, many of them will say they will be rolling the dice or, maybe they’re hoping to miss the “Big One” or, the second or third “Big Ones” and be there at the end and be in the hunt for the win. Some may actually say they’re looking forward to it. The rest, well, they might say they just want to run in the pack, not lose the draft, avoid trouble and be in position to run for the win in the final laps. Any way you look at it, this second race in the Round of Twelve at Talladega is one of, if not the, most important race for eleven of the playoff drivers and none of them can afford to have a bad day.

There is actually only one that can have a bad day and not be affected and, as you already know, that would be Willian Byron. He’s already in the next round because of his win last weekend at Texas and, though I’m sure he would like to add a seventh win to his list for the year, he has no pressure on him to even finish. Of course, I believe not finishing is the furthest thing from his mind.

One of the drivers most talked about over the last week has been Kyle Larson. After a dominating performance at Texas, looking to be the winner and then losing control near the end and finishing thirty-first, he sits on the cutline only two points from not being able to move on to the next round. Before Texas, he had the best average finish of the first three playoff races. Before disaster struck, it looked as though he was easily going into the round of eight with no worries about Talladega or The Roval. Afterwards, well, let’s just say he can’t afford another bad day at the races.

Once again the Fords have shown up at Talladega with a lot of speed and, if there’s one thing that’s obvious and stands out at first glance in the lineup for this race, it has to be the fact of how many Fords are starting in the top ten. Seven of them start in the top ten with Kyle Larson’s Chevy breaking up the Fords having the first six spots starting fourth.

Once again, Kyle Larson has shown up with a fast car but, in all honesty, Talladega has been a struggle for him. Fron this fan’s view, I think this just might be the Super Speedway race his luck turns around. But, then again, that’s just my opinion.

So, since the qualifying was single car at a time, does it really mean much at all other than a possible good choice for picking a pit stall? Generally speaking – and I’m not an expert by any means – a lot will change when they’re all running two or three wide and, with all the ebbs and flows and changing of positions lap after lap. And then there is always the precariousness of the pit stops and possibly losing the draft. A lot has to go right for someone to win at a Super Speedway like Daytona or Talladega and a lot will have to go right for the driver and team that wins this one.

There will be important strategy calls made and some of them may just make the difference between finishing and not finishing or winning or not winning. Will the manufacturers stick together or will they pick and choose their own good drafting partners? Will the teammates of those needing help in the playoffs actually be able to help them? From this fan’s view, there are a lot of questions and strategies going into this one and it’s going to be anyone’s guess just how it will go.

With the obvious speed advantage the Fords have once again shown up with, that suggests to me the rest of the field may have some work to do especially if they are needing points to either keep or get a firmer grip on their chances of making the next round or even the final four.

Of course, you can also say there are a lot of miles to go for the entire field to figure out how to possibly win this important race in the second round of the playoffs. Honestly though, a quick look at the qualifying tells me, though there is a slight speed advantage for the Fords, overall, the speeds are very close for a lot of the top fifteen or so and, at least from this fan’s view, that means this is going to be a shootout from beginning to end…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 1, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and Pod Cast Norm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

Round Of Twelve For 2023 Begins At Texas  

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Well… it’s time for the Round of Twelve to begin and it begins at Texas. This isn’t just another race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, it is the beginning of even more pressure and intensity as the Cup playoff drivers try to establish themselves as contenders for the final four. Of course there are still six races to go before that happens but, a good day at Texas could be the beginning of making that happen and a win could shorten the trip even more.

I know it may not make a whole lot of difference for how the race will go today but, the starting lineup is a little bit different than I expected it to be. The three winners of races from the last round are starting tenth of worse and there are some playoff drivers mixed in with some non-playoff drivers and it could make it a very interesting day.

Is it possible the whole momentum of the run for the Championship could change starting at today’s race? Well, although it could, from this fan’s view I expect by the end of the race things just might look pretty much the same momentum-wise. What I mean is, qualifying seldom tells the whole story of how the race will go. It is definitely important for pit stall selections but it doesn’t tell much about the lap after lap changes or just how the long runs compare to the short ones.

You know as well as I do, top qualifiers can drop like rocks when the race starts or one little mistake on a pit stop can change a good day into a bad one really quickly. If you don’t think so, just look at Christopher Bell’s performance so far. He is the pole winner in the three Round of Sixteen races and his best finish was third and that was last weekend at Bristol. If qualifying on the pole was all that important most weekends, the finishing orders would be completely different. As it stands from this fan’s view, winning the pole is only part of the equation for finishing up front and taking a win. That’s not to say it never makes a difference but it usually doesn’t.

So, am I saying Bubba doesn’t have a chance of winning even though he is the pole winner? Nope, that’s not it at all. What I’m saying is winning the pole doesn’t guarantee that driver a win. A lot can happen in four hundred miles and that is the part that is hard to predict, especially at Texas Motor Speedway. He has a fast car, proven by his qualifying lap but there are lot of fast cars in the lineup.

Lining up with Bubba on the front row is Chris Buescher and he, along with his teammate Brad Keselowski starting third in Fords, have looked to be strong contenders for several weeks now. Ty Gibbs, also in a Toyota like Bubba, finishes out the starting top four and he has shown himself to be a contender for a win but he isn’t in playoffs. If he wins today, he would be the first non-playoff driver to mix things up for the Round of Twelve.

There is a mixture of playoff and non-playoff drivers starting in the top ten and any one of them could contend for the win today. If Ross Chastain takes it, it could change his trajectory in his quest to make the final four at Phoenix in November. Even though there is a long way to go before Phoenix, Ross can be a contender for moving on to the Round of Eight and beyond even without a win at Texas.

Even though there are those that surprised me, probably the ones that kind of surprised me most with their qualifying were the three winners of the Round of Sixteen races. Of course that would be Christopher Bell, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson. They qualified and will start ninth, tenth and eleventh. As a fan, I can’t really see them being happy with running anywhere but at the front contending for the win. Even though I don’t want to make any rash predictions this early in the playoffs, these are three drivers I expect to see in the final four, running for the Championship. Yeah, I realize it is early to be making any predictions, but still, that’s the way I’m thinking right now.

This is the beginning of probably one of the toughest, or the toughest, rounds in the playoffs. This could be one of the three toughest races in the playoffs and could say a lot about how the rest of the playoffs could pan out. Then again, in this round there could be three non-playoff drivers and teams that win and wouldn’t that shake things up for moving on for the next round? I mean, no playoff drivers with a win in the Round Of Twelve? Yeah, that’s something to think about as the season progresses isn’t it…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© September 24, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and Pod Cast Norm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated