Watkins Glen After Thoughts from A NASCAR Fans View

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There’s definitely one advantage to an extended rain-delay when it comes to TV; When the thing is drawn out until they just have to move it to the next day, you find out a lot of things about the drivers they wouldn’t normally have time to tell you about. I just happened to be able to watch most of what went on for the three plus hours before they called it and moved it to the Monday morning time slot and it was fun to listen to them in a more laid back atmosphere.

Oh I know drivers get interviewed before every race, sometimes to ad-nauseum, but for some reason on Sunday afternoon, it just felt different. It seemed the drivers were more candid and less corporate; in other words, from this fan’s view it seemed we got a better feel for who they really are as opposed to when they put on the game face. It was a nice change of pace. (Who knows, maybe it was because it was at a road course.)

Monday morning may have been gray and overcast but it was not at all dull on the track and the intensity started right at the beginning of the race and didn’t let up until the very last official lap they ran. From this fan’s view, there was something going on just about everywhere in the field at one time or another and the race strategies for each team changed on a regular basis. That is, for at least thirty-five of the forty-three starters while the others just hoped to survive the weekend.

As it turned out there were more than eight or ten that needed to do more than just finish. Of course there was more than one that needed the race to go just slightly different than it did. too. One of those would be Tony Stewart, while Paul Menard and David Ragan would be a couple of more. Menard and Ragan looked as if they were going to come away from The Glen by closing the gap a bit on Denny Hamlin. Because of late race incidents, neither of them was able to do much at all. Menard cut down a tire which put him in the wall and Ragan was involved in a spectacular accident involving him, David Reutimann and several others. Needless to say, Ragan’s day was not at all what he needed to him to take advantage of the one victory he has this season.

Since I mentioned Denny Hamlin, this was another weekend he couldn’t buy a break if his career depended on it. It has been proven more than once over the years, that when you have a bad year, you have a bad year and it seems there is nothing you can do about it. Hamlin is in one of those years that comes along every now and then in a drivers career and to say things have gone unexpectedly wrong for him and his team this year is about as obvious as sunshine during the daytime. He is definitely having a bad year.

Unfortunately, it just doesn’t seem to get any better for the guy many thought was going to be the one to stop Jimmie Johnson from winning his sixth straight Cup Championship this year. Unless things change in a hurry for him and the #11 FedEx team, it looks like it is going to be up to someone else to take care of that (but I’m going to wait on talking about that until we get a few more weeks of racing done. After all, with the way things are going, things can change several times around those ninth through twelfth points spots before we actually get to the Chase.)
The end of the race was enhanced, at least competition-wise, by the blown tire of Paul Menard. Had it not been for that, the race would have likely finished under green and it would have still been a shootout. Of course we’ll never know, but, I still think it was going to be won by Marcos Ambrose, although it was going to be close. It was great to see him finally win his first NASCAR Sprint Cup race and makes the next few weeks all the more interesting.

I know everyone has talked about it, but still, Brad Keselowski has really stepped up to the plate since his accident while practicing at Road Atlanta. This fan has noticed two things about him since that accident. First, he is a bit more humble and appears to appreciate life more than before it happened. Second, he has proven he is as tough as they come when it comes to dealing with adversity. I think many have gained much more respect for him after observing his performance over the last two weeks and seeing how determined he is. If he makes it into the Chase, which is a good possibility, this fan looks for him to make even more of a statement than he has in the last two weeks.

From this fan’s view, this was one of the more exciting and eventful races I’ve ever seen at The Glen and it wasn’t unexpected. The new points system and the fact the Chase is winding down to its conclusion has brought a whole new intensity to this time of the year, and it is showing in the attitudes of the drivers and teams, (whether they are in contention or not), and it has definitely added a lot of excitement and unknowns to the year. Don’t look for things to settle down over the next few weeks either, because they’re just not going to…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© August 17, 2011 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman and Nascarfansview.com
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