The Next Gen Car Takes On The New Atlanta

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

(Posted late due to technical problems)

I know you’ve heard all the talk about how the race this weekend is all about how the Next Gen Car is going to be taking on the “New” Atlanta Speedway. Well, some of that is just hype but, it is going to be a new experience, especially for the drivers, because of the many changes made at the track. We could go into detail about all the changes but I don’t think that is necessary because I know you’ve already done your own research and have your own opinions of the “new” Atlanta.

So, it’s the new car, at the newly configured track and a whole new notebook that needs to be made. Even NASCAR has decided this weekend’s race will be like the configuration of the cars for Daytona and/or Talladega. Because of the inclement weather, there was no qualifying so they will lineup in the usual fashion when they couldn’t qualify at all. At least they let them practice.

From what I could gather from the practice session the Hendrick teams, as a whole appeared to be struggling just a bit. Now I guess it is possible they were trying a whole different take on the session but they just didn’t look to have their usual speed. I think it is also possible they were sandbagging or trying to figure what they could discover for extended runs as they approach the 500 miles at the new Atlanta Speedway. There is no way to really tell what their agenda was during practice but you can bet they will be pressing the envelope to get their cars up front at the right times.

With all of the unknowns going into this race, it is interesting that the lineup is so much different than the practice times. Of course, this is also because of the inclement weather that got qualifying cancelled. What it looks like is that some of the faster cars are starting in the middle to the back of the lineup and those up front may have a tough time staying there. take for example, Ricky Stenhouse. Ricky is a good super speedway racer and could very well win this 500 miler. The problem is that he is starting very far back in the field along with a lot of the other faster cars. From this fan’s view, I believe this is what is going to make this a very intense race for a lot those miles.

One interesting thing about the practice, at least from this fan’s view, was how the JGR Toyotas were all in the top ten speed-wise. Of those four teams, Kyle Bush is the one starting closet to the front. This may or may not mean something for how the end of the Folds Of Honor Quick Trip 500 might end. Even though Kyle has had numerous trials recently, he has managed to be in the top of the field when it counts at the end of the races. Of course, he hasn’t won yet but did come within two or three laps of winning two weeks ago. That may mean something this Sunday afternoon since he is starting in the top five.

The top ten starters in the lineup for Sunday afternoon’s race shows five Fords. The winner from last week, Chase Briscoe, Ryan Blaney that has shown up every weekend so far running strong and Joey Logano, well know for running good at tracks like Daytona and Talladega. Does this mean anything of how the Fords are going to do Sunday afternoon? It could but I’m not so sure the starting lineup is going to look anything like the final results at the end of the 500 miles.

There are just too many unknowns going into this one. Kevin Harvick is starting eighth and, even though this is a totally different Atlanta track than he has won on several times in the past, he could end up breaking his winless streak with the win on Sunday afternoon. Now, I’m not saying he will… I’m just saying he could. Of course, Kurt Bush is starting right behind him in ninth and Aric Almirola is starting in tenth and both of them could pull of a victory, too.

Sandwiched in between those three Fords leading the way and the three I just mentioned are three very hungry drivers and they all drive Chevys. I’m talking about Tyler Reddick, Ross Chastain and Chase Elliott. I’m sure they will be pushing their way toward the front and probably leading at times. I’m not saying they will be out front at the end but I am sure they going to be very visible throughout the afternoon.

From this fan’s view, this will likely be a race with a lot of restrictor plate type racing and possibly a lot of carnage. There is just too much parity with this Next Gen car and that means there is going to be a lot of tight, bumper to bumper, door to door racing and possibly a first-time winner or a first-time winner this year. this one is hard to call when it comes to picking a winner but I do think it will come down to a last lap pass and maybe even overtime with a nice green-white-checker fight to the end…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© March 20, 2022 – all rights reserved
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