Sometimes drivers just need one more lap to change the outcome of a race. The fast speeds of NASCAR don’t always leave us with enough time to express ourselves in the moment. Here is one more lap of thoughts for us to digest after another exciting weekend of racing.
Turn 1: Tensions were high this week as drivers battled on and off the track. It started with the trucks beating on one another at the Eldora Dirt Derby, but it was Watkins Glen that delivered the sparks. It all started in the ninety degree turn one as William Byron and Kyle Busch made contact sending busch spinning, but the talented Busch would make it back to Byron’s bumper putting him through the grass in the bus stop. Under the next caution Byron went to give the bump back, but Busch break checked him and both continued with a lot of damage.
Busch would then find himself in another altercation with Bubba Wallace Jr. that ultimately ended with Bubba spinning Busch as they entered turn one, under caution.
The altercation looked dangerous, and I am surprised not much was said afterwards. Johnny Sauter was suspended for a similar incident in the truck series. It makes you wonder about the amount of influence fan interest has in NASCAR'S decision making.
Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Blaney also had a run in, it may be the closing playoff window, but for the first time I thought I might see seven-time fight. Even after the altercation comments from both sides indicated some intimidation and a possible escalation in future races. I’m sure we can expect more aggression as the playoffs approach.
Turn 2: Mid-tier teams have had recent success. The likes of Matt DiBenedetto, Erik Jones, and Chris Buesher have brought some competition and consistency to the track. Jones who is in the best equipment of this group has struggled, drawing his seat into question, but the young star has double his top five total with four in the last four races. He has accumulated nine top tens in the last 12 races.
DiBenedetto is having a career year in his first year with Levine Family Racing as he is starting to find his grove with four top tens, including two top fives, in his last seven races.
Buesher has put himself in this group of breakthroughs with 11 straight finishes of 18th or better and only two finishes worse than 23rd all season.
Turn 3: Road Courses and short tracks almost every week! Even though it is not ideal and fans are still clambering for more, NASCAR has done an acceptable job of providing a mix of racing including road courses and short tracks on a regular basis. This week we had a dirt track and the fastest road course. Next week the Xfinity series will visit another road course. The last time all three series visited a 1.5 mile track was Kentucky the weekend of July 13th. The next time we only have a 1.5 mile track will be Las Vegas the week of September 15th. That’s two months of variety for our favorite summer pastime. The season continue to mix up unique tacks, short tracks, 1.5 miles tracks, and superspeedways. Maybe it’s not perfect, but we do get variety between the three series and that has to be appreciated.
Turn 4: This weekend the Xfinity series heads to the Mid-Ohio road course as the MENCS and NGOTS put their speed on display and Michigan International Speedway. Another exciting race with left and rights as all three series close in on the playoffs. The high speeds of Michigan are going to be roaring as the MENCS drivers look to retaliate after a tense race at Watkins Glen. The NGOTS will host its final race of the regular season. Grant Enfinger is fighting to win the regular season championship, as Matt Crafton hopes to hold onto the final spot. Crafton the only driver in the playoffs without a win has to be feeling threatened as any driver including both KBM trucks could win and secure the eight seed going into the round of eight at Bristol.