Race Weekend Central

The Big 6: Questions Answered After a Melon-Smashing Weekend in Nashville

Who … should you be talking about after the race?

Ross Chastain finally got it done on a more traditional oval. Chastain, the fastest car all weekend, started on the pole, finished first and boosted the confidence of an already impressive team this season. Even through the struggles since Darlington, Chastain has continued to stay in the top five in points, and this win locks him into the playoffs.

And don’t forget: Erik Jones is going home with a solid eighth-place finish. It was a great day for Legacy Motor Club after struggling for a large portion of this season. Even through a lame duck situation with Chevrolet, look for Legacy to build off this finish in the coming weeks and try to get back to the speed it showed over the course of the 2022 season.

What … is the big question leaving this race in the rearview?

How does NASCAR reevaluate areas without SAFER at other tracks? Is it feasible to add SAFER to every inch of the circuit, or is “most” good enough? The hit Ryan Blaney took today and the information we find out over the next few days about that hit will help answer these questions.

Where … did the other key players wind up?

Chastain took the green to start the race and the checkered to end it. Leading 99 laps and hanging around the top three for much of the evening, Chastain got the win at Nashville.

See also
Ross Chastain Wins Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway

Chase Elliott, last year’s winner, finished with a solid top five after starting from the 14th position. Not the win that is likely going to be needed to claw the No. 9 team into the playoffs, but still a nice finish for a team that is looking to regain some consistency in a season that has been full of surprises.

Kevin Harvick drove one of the few Fords to march through the field and look like one that could contend for a win, running as high as fourth at one point, but a flat right-rear tire just before green flag stops in the final stage sent the team home in 24th. Another tough week to add to a tough season for SHR.

When … was the moment of truth?

After the last round of green flag pit stops and cars filtering through, Chastain regained the lead and never looked back. Martin Truex Jr. did his best to find his way around the No. 1 car, but Chastain’s speed and rearview mirror prevailed.

Why … should you be paying attention this week?

As NASCAR heads to the streets of Chicago, keep an eye on Team Penske. Blaney took a hard hit today in a car that has bred concussion-like symptoms in several drivers over the last season and a half. Hopefully, Blaney is able to wheel the No. 12 car next week, but if not, who does?

NASCAR is not allowing Cup drivers to compete in the Xfinity race on Saturday in Chicago, so who is it that could possibly get a chance to drive the famed Penske No. 12 car? Zane Smith? A road course ringer from another series? Or a surprise competitor?

What oval should get added to the schedule next season?

In 2021, it seemed as though ovals were losing spots off the schedule left and right, but through the introduction of the Next Gen car, ovals have reignited their seemingly fading flame.

Personally, I think Kentucky Speedway has a chance to put on one of the best shows of the season with this Next Gen car if given the chance, should local officials figure out the traffic situation and regain community support. What oval would you like to see added back for 2024?

About the author

Frontstretch.com

Motorsports and all sports fanatic. Currently a Kentuckian by way of Lincolnton, NC.

In my free time I have the privilege of writing for Frontstretch, crushing others' dreams in Catan, serving at our local church, and traveling with my wife.

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Kicks

What oval for 24? That’s a no-brainer. Scrap the streets of Chicago and return to the Chicagoland track in the suburbs.

SB

Iowa

Keithrichardscat

Bubbas fans would cry it was inequitable!

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