Martinsville is the kickoff race for the “Round of Eight” as the remaining teams compete for the opportunity to advance to the Championship race at Homestead. As was proven last weekend, there is no guarantee for any of them at this point. The only thing that can give them a definite opportunity to move on to the finale is to win one of the next three races in this round. The problem with that is there is another thing that offers no guarantee for them to move on and that is there are thirty-two other cars running in these next three races that could possibly win a race and take away the opportunity for them to be guaranteed a spot in the final four.
Okay, maybe that is an over statement and even an oversimplification of the possibilities facing the eight remaining competitors for the 2017 Championship, but the reality is nothing is definite without a win in the next three races. Probably the one driver that could make it without a win is Martin Truex Jr. simply because he has been racking up the extra points every week. That’s not to say he is a definite but his chances are better than some still in the remaining eight. Even with three available chances for advancing with a win, and considering three of the remaining eight could win a race to advance, one of the eight will still advance by points. That makes for a very interesting situation as the next three races get put in the books.
The pressure is on all of them to perform over the next three races and to take as many stage points as possible in every race to counteract any possible bad finish in one of them. From this fan’s view there are now more possibilities for someone other than the remaining eight to win any one of the next three races. Some very good cars were eliminated from the competition for the Championship because of the “Big One” at Kansas last weekend along with Kyle Larson’s engine failure. I’m not saying that none of the eight will win one of the next three races but I do offer it up as a possibility which could make everything much more intense and dramatic over these next three races.
This weekend will be slightly different than the usual weekend at Martinsville. Both qualifying and the race will take place on the same day and that is not only different but interesting. As a fan, I wonder if NASCAR is trying things to see how they might work out in future races at different tracks and how this could change the way races are put on in the future. I don’t mind if they do and it could prove to be a change that will make things more interesting but I am not sure what it is all about. Sure, I know what they say their reasoning is but I also know NASCAR doesn’t do anything for no reason. No matter what, it will still make for an interesting change to the usual and I like that.
Seeing that the Martinsville track is the oldest track still on the present circuit, this fan wonders what can be said about the track that hasn’t been said numerous times in the past. We already know it is a challenging flat track that the drivers seem to have a love/hate relationship with it but what, if anything, new can be said about it. Personally, I don’t have anything but I do keep my ears open for things like that. After all, it is considered a short track and it is full of stuff that happens at short track races on a regular basis.
That is probably one of the things about it that makes it so interesting. It is a short track and things happen at short tracks that generally don’t happen at larger, faster tracks. All of them add up to emotional intensity that is more likely expressed visibly (and sometimes forcefully) than at other tracks. In other words, payback can come quickly and sometimes harshly, simply because of the height of emotions involved at a short track. It has happened before and it will happen again. Unfortunately, the ones with the most to lose when those emotions rear their head are the ones still competing for the Championship. Their hope is to keep their emotions in check and hope they don’t get caught up in someone else’s emotional response. Like it or not and whether or not it is one of the eight or others, it can and does happen.
When it comes to Martinsville, this fan doesn’t pay too much attention to which of the drivers has the fastest laps in practice. Since the pit selection was set from last week’s qualifying, qualifying only serves to set the lineup for the start of the race. After that, well… it is just about anyone’s guess as to how things will go. Will it be a good day or a bad one for the eight still in competition for the 2017 Championship remains as the only question that won’t be answered until this one is over and, of course… that’s why we will be watching it to the final lap and the drop of that black and white checkered flag…
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 28, 2017 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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