The Monster Energy Cup Teams At The Glen from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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Rusty Norman

Probably the fastest Road Course many drivers ever face in their careers is the road course at Watkins Glen. Whether you think about Formula I or NASCAR Stock Car Racing, The Glen is a very fast road course and it is definitely challenging for all concerned. With the lowered down force NASCAR instituted this season, it is even more of a challenge for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Teams than ever. Yes, that’s right, even more than last year’s visit was.

Once again, NASCAR, in their infinite wisdom has also done something to shorten up the weekend a little and also add a little drama to the racing. Last week at Pocono we saw qualifying and racing taking place on the same day and it will happen again this weekend at The Glen. I’m not sure exactly what to think about that at the moment but I will say it is different. In some ways it does remind of days on the short tracks and how things were run. We showed up, practiced a little and then either ran our races or had time trials. However, this is NASCAR Cup and it takes a little getting used to (at least for me.)

Like I said, I haven’t decided one way or another about it but do lean heavily towards liking it. Sure it is different and it does change things a bit but it is interesting to see how the teams handle it. From my view, the only real difference is that they don’t have overnight to think about things and make or plan changes. Also from my view, that just makes it more interesting when the race starts and we really find out who did the best job in preparing for the race. I’m not sure what many of you think about it but you have to say it is, at the very least, interesting.

With the opportunities winding down for those that would like to win to get in to the playoffs, the pressure is on for them to win. Some of those that need to win are coming to a crossroads unless they do win and for some of them, a win is the only thing that might get them in.

One of those that likely needs to win or he won’t get in is Dale Jr. Adding to the speculation that he might not win this one is that, at the time of this writing, during practice he was not at all happy with the way his car was handling. In fact, the Hendrick Chevys didn’t look that good at all. Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott and Kasey Kahne all just didn’t appear to have the speed needed to compete up front but that could all change by the time they qualify before the race tomorrow. Of the four HMS drivers, a win would really only help Jr. or Chase since Johnson and Kahne are already in. Still, this fan doesn’t think they really want to run and finish in the middle to back of the pack. That just doesn’t sound like something Hendrick Motor Sports would be happy with at all.

Another one that would really like to have a win is Matt Kenseth. He would actually kill two birds with one stone if he did win. The first would be that he pretty much locks himself into the playoffs and the second is it would be his first win at The Glen and it is one place he would like to claim a victory at. Since he is leaving JGR at the end of this season, it would be a shame for him to go and not at least make it into the playoffs at the end of the season racing for JGR. (Well, at least that’s the way some look at it…)

Joey Logano is another one that needs a win and, although he has five more chances before time runs out for him to take a win, this week and next are likely his best chances. That’s not to say he couldn’t win at the other three tracks coming up, it’s just this fan’s view his better chances are at The Glen and Michigan. Now I’m not saying he won’t find a way to get into the playoffs but I am saying he’s got his work cut out for himself.

I don’t know, but I would kind of like to see Jamie McMurray make it into the playoffs and a win in the next five races would definitely put him there. Why not a win at The Glen? He is capable and it would be interesting to see it happen.

There are several others that could win at The Glen and one of them is Clint Bowyer. He is probably a dark horse to do so but a win could surely be a boost to him and his team. Michael McDowell has been performing better more consistently and could really end up in Victory Lane when it is done. The problem with all of this conjecture on my part is that it is just that – conjecture and though I am good at it, there are a number of drivers that could take the win at The Glen and although I have a few I’d like to see win, I’m just not sure which of them really will…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© August 5, 2017 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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