from a NASCAR Fan’s View
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Darlington is one of the oldest tracks on the NASCAR circuit. It’s been around a long time. Along with all of those years, are a lot of memories that cover a lot of cars and drivers from the distant past to the present. Also, along with those cars and drivers were various and memorable paint designs and colors that were unique to the various teams and times. Many of them even dressed their pit crews in varying and unique types of clothes that set them apart from the others. But then, you already know all of that because you’ve been hearing about it again and again, in particular, over the last several weeks.
Throwback weekend is a time that the NASCAR teams honor people, cars, paint schemes from the past and also things from the present that the drivers and crews want to represent. All of it is based on memories either from their favorite drivers, teams, or car paint schemes and colors to represent those things and memories from either NASCAR’s past or their own. It is an interesting and nostalgic time for everyone involved, including the fans both old and new.
If I may, I’d like to go throwback for a moment or two to last week’s race at Kansas. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am glad Kyle Bush managed to pull out the victory but, in all honesty, I would have rather see the person that led the most laps and had the best car all race long, win. Of course, you know that was the other Kyle, Kyle Larson. Had the last laps of the race not gone the way they did with several cautions and he had not lost position before the last caution, I really do think he would have won. It would have been great had he won if, for no other reason, the tribute of the car paint scheme, etc. to Rick Hendrick’s son, Ricky. Sadly, the plane crash that took Ricky’s life also took the life of several family and others associated with the Hendrick family. It was a sad day when that happened years ago and, to this long-time fan, it would have been a great finish to this race a Kansas to see Larson come away with the victory. It didn’t happen that way though and I still congratulate Kyle Bush; he has his own life challenges to contend with.
Now, back to Darlington…
So far this season, we have eleven races and ten different winners. A lot of the talk this week has been about whether or not there will be an eleventh winner in these first twelve races. It is an interesting question and one that will definitely be answered when the final checkered flag falls on the Goodyear 400 on Sunday. In addition, a lot of conversation has talked about how fast the top sixteen is filling up for the playoffs. When it fills up, then it falls back on wins and points. That could spell disaster for of the teams that are already in but haven’t necessarily performed all that well along with their win. I still wonder, as I did last week, if NASCAR will change anything for the playoffs for this year or maybe in the future. I guess it really depends on how fair this present system works out for everyone.
There are still at least three top drivers and teams that don’t have a win yet this season even though many thought they would already have at least one or two. I know you already know their names but, let me mention them anyway. The ones I’m thinking of are Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott. Sure, I know there are others but these three are at the top of just about everyone’s list.
The Stewart-Haas teams, of which Kevin Harvick is a part, just haven’t seemed to start clicking on all cylinders yet. That is unexpected since Kevin won so many races last season. That’s not to say they will stay that way but, in this fan’s opinion, it just isn’t what people expected. I’m no expert but I do wonder if they were preparing for the introduction of the Next Gen cars for next year. I’ll answer my own question here and say, probably not. Since the Next Gen cars were delayed until next year at Daytona after the pandemic hit, it is possible but not at all likely. I think they are just going through a little dry spell but, I am sure they’ll come out of it soon.
As for Chase Elliott, well, this is not the first time he has struggled a bit during the early part of the season. He usually performs well later in the season but, in this fan’s opinion and with the way things are going this season, they need to pick it up sooner than later. They do have points but if the playoffs keep filling up the way they have been, trying to get in without a win might not get them in.
Even though there are others that haven’t won yet this season though some expected them to, Denny Hamlin is still the most talked about driver without a win. He has the most points and has run strong almost every week and yet, he hasn’t won even though he had a number of wins last season also. Many think he could pull off the win he’s looking for at Darlington. When it comes to this fan, well, I’m just not so sure his troubles are over just yet. When they are, I suppose he could be a multi-race winner again this season.
When it comes to this fan’s view, I think there will be an eleventh different winner this weekend. Whether it will be one of the expected ones or someone completely unexpected, I just don’t know…
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© May 8, 2021 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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