All-Access with Alanis: What We’ve Learned So Far

Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne battle each other for position Sunday at Las Vegas. Photo- Getty Images
Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne battle each other for position Sunday at Las Vegas. Photo- Getty Images

Three weeks into the season. We’re getting into the groove of things again, points are somewhat accurately dispersed, pre-season questions are being answered, and early predictions are being proved (or disproved).

Let’s take a look back at some of the things that the majority of us were pretty confident about last month.

First – the curse of the second placers in Cup standings is an eminent threat to Clint Bowyer. Wrong. From what we’ve seen so far, the curse might have ended its reign with Carl Edwards. Either that, or Clint’s doing some voodoo of his own to counter the so-called “curse”. Currently ninth in the standings, Clint hasn’t shown any sign of being hampered by unknown forces so far this season.

Second – if the Gen-6 cars can’t pass at Daytona, they sure won’t be able to pass anywhere. Again, wrong. It was demonstrated at Daytona that the new cars could pass, but it seemed as if drivers were just hesitant to. Vegas, surprisingly, didn’t get as strung-out as 1.5-mile tracks usually do. With about twice as many green flag passes as last year, Vegas proved that passes can be completed in the new cars. Even at a 1.5-miler.

Third – TRD engines will blow away JGR’s chances this year. This one is still undecided. After opening the season disappointingly with two blown JGR engines, then taking that disappointment to Phoenix where two more blew before the start of the race, the hopes of TRD pulling through in Vegas were pretty slim. While Matt Kenseth’s TRD engine didn’t smoke until his victory burnout, Kyle Busch’s was causing frustration in the 18 camp. All of the engines survived, however whether their troubles are gone or not should be based on the scope of the next few weeks, not just the Vegas race.

Fourth – maybe we all underestimated Danica. After all, she did get the pole for the 500 and ultimately brought it home eighth. The fact that Danica may have been underestimated was not as universal of an opinion as the previous three, but for what it’s worth – wrong again. With a wreck in Phoenix and a 33rd-place finish in Vegas, six laps down, Danica hasn’t lived up to the standard she set for herself in Daytona. But hey… maybe plate tracks are her thing.

Three weeks in, and what have we learned? That the Gen-6 car can in fact pass, that Clint won’t succumb to the curse of second place, that TRD has some improvements to make, that Danica hasn’t lived up to the hype, oh – and that we’re all pretty bad at making predictions.

By Alanis King

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