The Next Gen And The Monster At Dover

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

As has been the case since it was introduced at the beginning of this year, the Next Gen car makes another first trip to a track and Dover and the Monster Mile is it. That’s just another track this car has no time on it for the drivers to draw from. Since it is already a very challenging track and judging from the practices and qualifying, the race on Sunday should prove to be very interesting indeed. For, you see, it is one thing to run a lap or two around by yourself but another thing entirely when you have double file starts and restarts and very little room for error. That means there could possibly be a bit of carnage and pileups, especially in turns three and four.

I’m sure you noticed much as I did, most of the problems drivers had were associated with turns three and four. That’s where several cars were sacrificed to the wall and other situations and had to either be repaired or replaced with backup cars. One of those was William Byron from the Hendrick camp. He hit the wall hard and had to go to a backup car as well as missing some valuable track time getting ready to face the Monster. I’m sure some of the first part of the race will be spent trying to tweak on the replacement car, trying to make sure he will be able to be as competitive as possible by the time the end of the race rolls around. He just may have his work cut out for himself considering how the other three of the Hendrick teams are running.

Considering the record of the Hendrick teams at the Monster Mile, it would be a pretty good bet to think one of the four might take the win on Sunday afternoon. I might be inclined to agree with you if you think that except for one thing, (well, maybe two.) The first is how poorly the teams that have qualified up front lately haven’t necessarily performed all that well in the race. The second is that there are four hundred miles for them to get their cars tweaked in and the ones that make the best adjustments in the shortest period of time will likely be contending for the win.

I mean, just look at Chris Buescher sitting on his first pole as well as the first pole for the newly formed RFK racing camp. Sure, I know they’ve all been around as individuals for a while but, it is the first for them as a new organization and since Brad Keselowski joined forces with Rouch/Fenway. Buescher winning the pole with a fast qualifying lap had to be a real shot in the arm for RFK Racing. It could be the spark that ignites the fire to get things really rolling for them.

That also brings up the possibility of TrackHouse Racing running away with another win for Ross Chastain considering how well he has been running lately. After all, he has won two races already this season and not many expected that and, dare I say, not many expected it would be Ross that would be leading the way at TrackHouse. Both Ross and Daniel Suarez looked to have good speed in the practice and qualifying sessions and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Daniel didn’t pull of his first win this weekend. If he can only avoid the mistakes and things that have kept him from being up front when it counts, he just might be another first time winner this year. It isn’t all that far-fetched when you think about it. Both of the TrackHouse teams have shown up ready to race and win. It’s just that Ross has been the one with the wins so far.

When it comes to the Fords and Toyotas well, that’s a tough call for this weekend. There are several from each of these two camps that could walk away with a win tomorrow. All of the ones I’m thinking about are names we all are very familiar with. Most likely of the Fords would be names like Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney and others. When it comes to the Toyotas, names that stand out to this fan are Denny Hamlin, Kyle and Kurt Bush along with Martin Truex Jr. Anyone of these could end up taking the trophy and it wouldn’t be that much of a surprise.

At the end of the day, I still think the Chevys will likely rule the day but I am at a bit of a loss as to whether it will be one of the TrackHouse or one of the Hendrick Chevys. I do think it could be Chase Elliott but he has been susceptible to mid and late race problems. Still, he is about due to win one this year and on something other than on a road course.

Of course, I realize there are others that could win and it could be someone like Ricky Stenhouse Jr. or Erik Jones. Shucks, I would be a bit surprised if someone totally unexpected wins like AJ Allmendinger or Justin Haley. At this point, even though as unlikely as it seems, the winner could be someone that’s just in the right place at the right time and the seas part, (just like they did for Ross Chastain last weekend… )

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, 2022 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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