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There’s a reason why they call it a “Wild Card” race but this time it isn’t as much of a Wild Card as it has been in the past. Oh, there is still the fact that someone can, by winning, move on to the next round that just doesn’t have the points, but it really doesn’t matter that much to those at the top of the points already. Some may be wondering how I can say that but, most already know of the big three, only one has to finish several spots ahead of last place. For the other two, well, they could finish dead last at Talladega and it might hurt but it won’t keep them from moving on by points. Well… that is unless they do the same again next weekend.
Martin Truex Jr. is the one that would be greatly affected by having an early exit from the Talladega race and it could mean he would have to really be careful the following week at Kansas. As a fan, I don’t think that will happen but, with the Wild Card of Talladega and a poor finish, it is possible. The only two relatively safe (and I stress “relatively safe”) are Kyle Bush and Kevin Harvick. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying disaster WILL strike. I’m just saying it COULD happen IF circumstances present themselves by two really bad finishes in a row, one at Talladega and one at Kansas.
So, what is it about restrictor plate racing? Why is it so popular with some and with others not so much? You see, I guess I’m a little bit biased when it comes to restrictor plate racing – I like it. Some of my fondest memories of racing as a driver were those times we ran in a pack door handle to door handle, bumper to bumper. In fact, I would go so far as to say I get a little bored when they run single file for many laps just killing time until the last 50 miles or so. Maybe that’s why I am also glad there are stages and points to be gained by doing more than just running along until the end of the race.
I may have a different opinion than some, but I do sometimes loose a little interest when it becomes a race of aerodynamics and it being hard to pass when a driver is out front. That is the case in the usual oval track, no matter which one they visit, (at least these days.) Oh sure, I know “back in the day” it was the same when someone would win buy many laps over the rest. Maybe that’s another reason why I’m thankful for some of the changes NASCAR has made to keep things more interesting. Things like the wave around and the ability to make up a lap if you’re the first one a lap down have added to the mix and made things a little more interesting. (That could be an understatement because there have been times when it made things A LOT more interesting.)
I find it interesting how much criticism there is of some of the rules NASCAR puts forth. Admittedly, it does seem they sometimes make or take a step backwards but usually their decision has proven to be the right one. I haven’t taken a close look at the rule changes put forth for next season but I have heard a lot of comments on the subject. I don’t intend to go into any of them here but I will say this; “time will tell.” From this fan’s view, with NASCAR it always has.
From my view, I think I will be watching this Talladega race more to see if there are negative results for the ones that have dominated the season so far. I’m not hoping for anything bad to happen to any of the three but I do know that restrictor plate races can be some of the most unpredictable of any race they run. After all, all we have heard for much of this season is how there are only three (plus one unknown) that will likely be in the final four at Homestead. They may be right but in NASCAR anything can happen and generally does in some fashion or other.
Can you imagine how things could be shaken up IF the “Big Three” do have a couple of bad weeks over these next two races? It could happen you know. Any one or all three of them could have string of bad luck over the next few races and completely change the look of the final four at the Championship at Homestead. It may not affect them making it into the “Round of Eight” but it could affect them making the final four. I know you think I’m really out there on this, but, just think of the possible ways it could all turn around over the next few weeks, IF.
Look. I really like restrictor plate racing and always have. I know it is a chess match for the drivers and one of the most stressful races they run all year. I know none of these things will likely happen but I will be watching just to see what does happen. Talladega could be a turning point that can affect the look of the final four completely. I’m not saying it will, I’m just saying…
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 13, 2018 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated