Race Weekend Central

5 Points to Ponder: Is This a New Version Of Chastaining?

1. Is this a new version of Chastaining?

Ross Chastain‘s steamrolling of the NASCAR Cup Series field at Nashville Superspeedway — in qualifying and during the running of the Ally 400 — looked very familiar to one other race victory in the past year.

That instance was driver with a win on an intermediate track and winning in dominating fashion on the way to making a statement. That driver may have been Chastain last weekend, but it was not too unlike another win last season: Bubba Wallace‘s Kansas Speedway victory.

Like Wallace, Chastain had the winds of doubt swirling around. Could this team win a traditional speedway race? Is there some sort of block he can’t overcome?

With that win comes a degree of confidence. Wallace’s No. 23 team has been more consistent as opposed to a year ago, and Chastain’s win also sent a message that the No. 1 group can block the noise out and deliver the goods when needed.

More critically, it showed that Chastain can win in ways that also involve straight-up outrunning other drivers.

That’s confidence that could be dangerous going forward.

See also
Up to Speed: Is Bubba Wallace Playoff Bound in 2023?

2. What street course should be next after Chicago?

Ok, let’s not write the epitaph of the Chicago street course before it even has time to walk. Unless you can tell me the upcoming Powerball numbers or the absolutely detailed weather forecast, you don’t know how much of a rousing success of train wreck this weekend’s street course event will be. There’s the element of exciting unknown, not too different from the Busch Clash at the LA Coliseum or the debut of the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL. That’s what makes this weekend exciting going into it.

That said, if this weekend is a success, Pandora’s box will be open to this: what street course should be next?

For starters, you must consider places that have hosted street events in other series. Want to take advantage of the Florida weather early in the season and make it an easier time for team members’ families? Why not St. Petersburg, Fla.? I’m sure drivers and other industry members with young children would not mind down time to check out all the Orlando or Tampa theme parks.

Baltimore has also hosted street course events; the fact that its been done before would prevent a start-from-scratch scenario. And if Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway never gets going, why not put a firm stake down there anyway and run the street course in Nashville proper?

Naturally, the other aspect of a street course is to put one in a market without a track. Maybe throw one in Denver and surely, of course, find a way to integrate Coors and endless Smokey and the Bandit references.

That’s a 10-4, good buddy.

3. Has the door been opened for Carl Edwards’ return?

If you’d have considered the chance of Carl Edwards one day being back within a car competing in NASCAR four months ago, the reaction would have had you laughed out of the room like someone asking for an impossible burger at a steakhouse in Omaha, Neb.

Now? That door may be cracked open. We now live in a world where Edwards is actually being seen at the track — first at Darlington Raceway and now last weekend in Nashville. This also comes on the heels of Denny Hamlin divulging that Edwards has gotten in the racing simulator to help Joe Gibbs Racing and had been approached about a one-off opportunity for 23X1 Racing.

Edwards, for his part, may have turned down that opportunity, but racing is one of those things that becomes a part of you, and if there is a desire to stick your foot back in it, even in a minor role, it’ll be hard to turn it down.

See also
Thinkin' Out Loud at Nashville: Are You Sure You Want to Return the Fairgrounds Right Now?

4. Could AJ Allmendinger prevent Chase Elliott from winning his way in?

Multiple road courses stand between now and the end of the regular season. That’s good news if you are a Chase Elliott fan since he has won on multiple road courses. But a postseason spot via a road-course win is not guaranteed for the Georgia native.

That’s because of at least one other formidable threat on road course who could spoil that path: AJ Allmendinger.

Momentum is everything in racing, and Allmendinger has that in hand after last weekend NASCAR Xfinity Series win in Nashville for Kaulig Racing. But there’s so much better than that for Allmendinger these days. He sits 24 points out of the postseason going into this weekend, and his 10th-place finish was his best non-road course showing of the season.

Postseason spots are not guaranteed this time of year if you have not won, and Allmendinger has a chance to help keep the sport’s most popular driver out of the playoffs.

5. Why no peach-colored car for the Peach State?

Georgia may not be the top-producing state of the peach commodity, but for all purposes, it’s known as the Peach State. There were even once peach-colored license tags on vehicles in the state once called the Empire State of the South.

Atlanta Motor Speedway even presents to its race winner a crate of — you guessed it — peaches.

It’s for that reason that it seemed odd that Kevin Harvick‘s paint scheme in Nashville, not Atlanta, was peach colored.

I have no doubt that there is a rhyme or reason likely connected to corporate sponsorship as to why Harvick is not running a peachy livery, but it just seems odd.

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Kicks

Nashville is not in Georgia. What are you babbling about Atlanta paint schemes for?

Bill B

Geez, Carl Edwards is 43. That’s pretty much when most guys seriously think about retiring in this sport now days. He’s been away for over 5 years now and it’s not like he’s been running races in another series. He ain’t coming back.

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