The Playoff Pressure Is On At Talladega from a NASCAR Fan’s View

After last weekend’s race at the Monster, there are those that would like this one at Talladega to be a little more tame. Joey Logano and Chase Elliott are two of them and it could be said that last weekend was “bad” for the both of them. Because of the problems they had last weekend, the pressure is on them to have a good race at Talladega. Fortunately, both of them are capable of doing so, especially at Talladega. Of course, you already know, they aren’t the only ones that have to have a good race at a track where anything can happen and anyone in the field can win.

From this fan’s view, and considering where they are this weekend, I really don’t think anyone in the standings from sixth to twelfth can afford to have a bad race. The only one that won’t be sweating out the laps all the way to the end is Kyle Larson. With his win last weekend, he is already qualified to move on to the Round of Eight. Though some are safer than others in the remaining top twelve, Talladega can rob a bunch of points from even the highest in the standings, just as the Monster did last weekend.

Joey Logano and William Byron are basically tied at the eighth spot going into Sunday’s race. Both of them need to score a lot of stage points and it wouldn’t hurt if either one of them won. Of course you know which one I would prefer but, of the two, I have no idea which will actually step up to the plate and do it. Ninety-nine percent of the time I’m going to go for the one in the Chevy. When it comes down to these two, well it’s no contest. I’m going to go with Byron every time. I’m just not a Logano fan but that doesn’t take anything away from his talent or abilities. It just means I’m not a fan. In reality, I’m a Chevy fan over Ford probably because I’m partial to Chevys. I used to race Chevys. I’ve almost always owned a Chevy except once and that was way back in the seventies. (I also admit my wife’s car is a Toyota – but that’s another story.) I just like Chevys.

When my friends and I would talk about racecars and racing back in the day, there were a lot of cliché sayings about Fords. Most of my friends had stock cars but some had drag racing cars. Some of those old clichés are still around and you probably recognize them too. I’ll just mention a few about the Fords. The Chevy guys would say to the Ford guys, “Found On Road Dead” or “Fix Or Repair Daily” to which the Ford guys would offer their comeback of, “First On Race Day.” It was all in good fun. One of my friends had a tricked out drag car and he use to tell me why he had a Chevy over a Ford. Quite simply he said it was because the Chevy was cheap horsepower; they could get more horsepower with less expense and that was a plus.

Oh well, enough of, “back in the day.”

One thing I have to bring up is something that has become more common-place in recent years. It is the whining going on from some of the drivers. Because of his problems last weekend, several were upset with Joey Logano because he raced them hard even though he was twenty plus laps down. It just so happens they are from the JGR camp and they have the most wins this season of any of the other organizations. Two that standout in my mind are Martin Truex Jr and Denny Hamlin. (Remember I’ve talked about Kyle Bush before.) They were griping about Joey and others that were racing them too hard.

It seems that these days, if you or your organization seems to be running better than others, everyone is supposed to just move out of the way so you don’t have to work so hard to pass. From this fan’s view (and I’m not alone in this opinion) I don’t see why they think that way. With the Format the way it is in Cup, every point counts and just one point can make a difference in whether someone can advance to the next round or not. If you don’t believe me, just look at Jimmie Johnson last season at the Roval. He missed moving on by the minutest margin and missed being able to compete for the Championship.

That’s why I think Sunday’s race at Talladega is going to be one of the most intense Super Speedway races in a long time. I don’t think anyone is going to be playing “Mr. nice guy.” I think all of those still in the playoffs and hoping to move on to the next round are going to push the envelope. There is also an element called aggressive driving and I think we will see a lot of that on Sunday afternoon. I hesitate to say they will put themselves in jeopardy in their aggressive maneuverings in the packs but, I do expect there will often be “cautious aggressiveness” exhibited on a regular basis, especially when the end of the stages are near.

I don‘t know how you feel about it but, the winner of this one could be a surprise winner. We’ve got drivers looking for rides next year, drivers looking for wins that haven’t won in while and drivers trying to make it to the Round Of Eight. With all of that going on, I expect at least one Big One and that could be the one that ends somebody’s hopes for this season. Sure, I know there’s another race left in this round after Talladega but, I also know having to win to move on to the next round can be difficult for any of them and every point counts. (Hey wait a minute! Didn’t I already say that?)

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 12, 2019 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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