Dominance has reigned supreme early in 2015. It has been a common theme, especially during the past weekend’s events at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as both Austin Dillon and Kevin Harvick cruised to victory.
While they were the big winners from the weekend, many storylines came out of “Sin City” and provides plenty to discuss as NASCAR continues the “West Coast Swing.” I’ll touch upon on a few of those topics in the second edition of The NASCAR Conversation. Kick back, relax, and let’s discuss some racing.
Show the Action
Over the years, I have noticed a pattern when it comes to television coverage on restarts. When the green flag is waved, the camera will do a long shot, spanning the entire field. However once the cars reach the backstretch, it usually turns into a close up view of the leaders. This often comes when the drivers at the front are single-file while not fighting for positon.
Meanwhile, the cars in the middle and back of the pack are engaged in two and three-wide battles for positon. If you were to ask a fan which they would rather see; single-wide or double-wide action, they would more than likely choose the latter. Its always more intriguing when competitors are side-by-side as that’s where most of racing’s action lies.
This makes me wonder why the broadcast can’t cover the more fascinating battles, rather than showing the leaders. If there happens to be a fight for the lead, then show it. However, if there isn’t much going on up front and plenty of wild racing going on in the back, I would like to see it. Even if it has little significance on the outcome of that particular race.
When attending races, this becomes more apparent as I tend to focus on the action among those farther back in the field. Fans are attracted to the excitement, and television coverage often strips them of it by not showing the best racing on the track during each moment of the event. As the season continues, I’d like to see more coverage of the action on restarts and maybe this is one area where NBC picks up on when they return to the sport in July.
Harvick Picking Up Where He Left Off
When the 2014 season concluded back in November at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Kevin Harvick was atop the sport. He had pulled off an amazing feat as he defeated his three challengers to claim the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. In the races prior to the finale, he was also lights out by posting three top-two results in three races.
This success translated to the 2015 season as he has scored three straight top-two finishes. It’s remarkable how well he and crew chief Rodney Childers work together as it’s their brilliance bringing fast, competitive cars to the track each week.
The one area that plagued the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet team last year was mistakes. Whether it was a faulty part on the car, or a slow pit stop, they cost Harvick many victories. Had everything gone according to protocol, the number in the win column would have likely challenged ten.
With those mistakes fixed, it’s a scary thought what this group may do going forward. They will be fast each weekend, and likely challenge for multiple victories. Las Vegas proved very few competitors can keep up with the “Freaky Fast” car, and I expect more of the same in “Happy Harvick’s” playground this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.
Richard Childress Racing is fast…really fast.
You may look at this subtitle and think, has he been watching the races? Well, I have and what I mean is not just the organization’s three cars, but all of their satellite teams.
It’s clear that alliance team Furniture Row Racing and Martin Truex Jr. have stepped up their game this season. They have been fast and competitive in each race, and are on the verge of victory.
Reflecting back a year ago when this team struggled mightily, many wrote them off from ever regaining the same competition level they had with Kurt Busch. Now, they’re back and stronger than ever. This will likely lead to a Chase for the Sprint Cup spot and a shot at the championship.
In addition, Germain Racing and JTG-Daugherty Racing both currently occupy Chase spots. Each team has had a quick start, and are surprising many with their finishes. The confidence level of each team is up as well, and can likely be attributed to the assistance from the runner-up organization from last season.
While Austin Dillon, Paul Menard, and Ryan Newman haven’t found the same speed early in the season, they have shown promise and are working towards reaching the same level. Newman had a great weekend in Las Vegas as he took a car that wasn’t the best and brought it home third.
He’s attempting to break the streak of championship runner-ups struggling in the following season and is off to a decent start. Whether he can keep it up will be what is watched for over the next few months
Going to the desert, fans have a lot to look forward to. Many storylines surround the sport, including the return of Kurt Busch following being suspended for the first three events. Seeing what he can do, along with the rest of the field in both races will be exciting to watch.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey