The NASCAR Cup teams take it to the track at Vegas this weekend. Considering the wreck-fest we saw at Daytona last weekend, the Vegas track may seem a little tame. Oh, I’m not saying there won’t be any action. I’m just saying there won’t be as many wrecked racecars as there were when Speed Weeks was finished at Daytona. I’m sure that will be a welcome relief to the team owners since they were the ones that saw much of their monetary investment in their Super Speedway cars end up in the dumpster or in a junk yard. From this fan’s view, the race may pay well but it also costs a lot to try for the win and watch much of that investment end up as a crumpled mess.
Of course, one thing that wasn’t wasted when it comes to investments was the investment NASCAR has made over the last several years concerning driver safety. Ryan Newman’s accident coming to the checkered flag could have turned out much different IF there hadn’t been the continuing investment in making the racecars safer for the drivers.
As a former local stock car owner/driver, I can say Ryan didn’t exactly walk away, but we are all happy and thankful he did walk out of the hospital a couple of days later with no visible signs of the horrific accident he was involved in. I will say this though… I’ll bet he was hurting from hitting the safer barrier along with the wild ride and being hit by Corey Lajoie. I’ve never had an accident while going near two hundred miles an hour but I have had a couple of accidents racing at our local short tracks and, from one in particular, I hurt for at least a week… and that was at less than a hundred miles per hour…
Oh well, enough about Daytona (and me…) What about Vegas??
I have to say, my takeaway from the first two practices at Vegas was a little mixed. The Fords in usual fashion for Vegas looked fast in the first practice and, surprising to this fan, the Chevys looked to be making headway, speed wise, in the final practice on Friday. I’m undecided about the Toyotas if for no other reason than I’m not sure they were showing all they had. It is possible they were and that all three makes are fairly evenly matched for this weekend but, I’m not so sure they weren’t leaving something on the table. In Vegas terms, I guess you could say they weren’t showing all their cards yet.
Since I am writing this before qualifying, I’m not considering how the different teams might perform in their qualifying laps. When it comes to this weekend, I really think the final practice session told much of what needs to be known for the race Sunday afternoon. Sure, I admit pit stall locations are important but, in my opinion, the lap speed consistency over a long run is more important. It is likely there could be long green flag runs in this one and consistent lap times will rule the day, especially if it leads to running up front.
When it came down to it, the Chevys and the Fords looked pretty good as far as consistent lap times. In fact, that is what all of the teams seemed to be working on. That in itself could make this a very interesting race could mean the racing will be tight, two and three wide or more much of the time. If there are restarts, it should prove to be very interesting.
Once again, the Stewart/Haas Fords looked to be the ones to watch and all of the SHR teams looked strong, at least from this fan’s view. Clint Bowyer showed a lot of speed early along with his teammates Aric Almirola and Kevin Harvick. I’m not ignoring the rookie in their group but I think more time is required to see how he will do.
Kurt Bush looked very strong, especially in the final practice and, barring something really unexpected, I can’t rule out the possibility of him being in the hunt in the final laps at his hometown. Kyle Larson could also be right up there at the end, too and it wouldn’t be that big of a surprise to this fan.
So… let’s see. The Fords look fast, the Toyotas look fast and the Chevys look fast. Whatever could that mean when it comes down to the final laps? Could it mean someone unexpected could win or will it be one of the past winners? I’m really not too sure and I’m not sure if it will be a Chase Elliott, a Jimmie Johnson, a Kevin Harvick or a Clint Bowyer. How about Kyle Bush, Martin Truex Jr, Kurt Bush, Brad K, Denny Hamlin or Joey Logano.
From this fan’s view, if ever there was a hard race to choose a favorite for winning, this could be one. I’m thinking the Chevys are going to make a good showing but I’m not sure at all who might win. All I know is it is going to worth watching to find out…
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© February 22, 2020 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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