From a NASCAR Fan’s View
There’s a reason they call it the Monster. Contrary to what the name might conjure up in your mind, it’s not because it is a big track. It’s because it is a monster of a mile track and it treats most everyone the same. Without question it is one of, if not the toughest, one-mile track that can be found just about anywhere. That’s why a large statue of Miles the Monster stands holding a life-sized car in his hand and he dares that car and all the rest to try and tame him again. Unfortunately, as monstrous as he looks, he does always manage to be tamed by one of the Cup Teams every time.
Another reason it’s called the Monster Mile is because, almost every race-day, the monster manages to chew up a lot of cars. The biggest reason for that is because the track is what is described as a self-cleaning racetrack. As I am sure you are well aware, that is because a car that hits the outside wall often travels down to the inside wall and generally takes one or more cars with it. It usually isn’t a very pretty sight.
One more thing about the Monster… it is a very fast one mile oval and that also contributes to the severity of the contact with the wall and what happens after that.
The way things were shaping up before qualifying was cancelled, the lineup for today’s race could have looked a lot different than it does now. Even though he was struggling to make speed, Kyle Bush will start on the pole. Christopher Bell will start beside him on the outside pole position and both of them would have likely started much further back in the lineup if the qualifying would have looked anything like the practice session.
Along with the lack of qualifying and difference in the way thing s could have turned out is pit stall selection. Since track position will likely be a very important key to today’s race, many of the ones that were struggling in the practice sessions will likely gain a little advantage over some simply because of the possibility of better pit selections. No, I’m not saying qualifying wouldn’t have turned out the same way the lineup stands now but, it very well could have looked much different.
There is no way of knowing if things might have turned out different had they been able to have qualifying but it could have. Brad Keselowski and Kyle Larson were at the top of the chart when practice was called along with qualifying. In fact, there were three Hendrick Chevys in the top five comprised of Larson, William Byron and Chase Elliott. Now, Brad didn’t lose too many spots because he will still start fourth but the three Hendrick cars in the top five didn’t fare as well. Byron will start eighth, Elliott tenth and Larson, well… he fell all the way back to eighteenth and at the Monster, that means he has his work cut out for himself.
One of the biggest concerns for today’s race may be tires. Things could be different because of the Xfinity cars putting down some rubber on the track but, there is no guarantee the track won’t be eating up tires like it was during practices. The reasons given for the tire problems was the cool ambient and track temperature and that the track wasn’t taking rubber. The discussion before the Xfinity race was that the track would be better able to take rubber with the Cup cars. If not, there was a lot of concern if the teams would have enough tires to make it through the entire race.
Now, I’m not saying things will turn out as ominously as it appeared it might, especially with the tire situation but, if tire problems do occur, that in itself could change the whole outcome of the race. The problem with this unknown, at least from this fan’s view, is that we may not know until someone has a tire failure and ends up in the wall taking several others with them. It was thought that NASCAR may throw a competition caution so the teams could check out the tire wear situation. My concern, especially at the Monster, is whether or not that will keep tires from being a problem. It could be a day of destruction for more than a few if tires do become a problem.
And then… there’s the possibility of rain shortening the race. Do you think the drivers will be pressing harder to gain track position than they might if there was no threat of rain? Yeah… me, too.
Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 30, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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