THE LEFT TURN

NASCAR goes West for the Pennzoil 400

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This week, the NASCAR Cup Series heads for Las Vegas for the Pennzoil 400. After last week's madness, everyone will get a chance to catch their breath at a much calmer track as Vegas is one of the many mile and a half racetracks on the schedule. All of the three and four wide we saw at Daytona will be much more limited here as we will more than likely see more long green flag runs and less side-by-side racing that we saw in Daytona. The one characteristic about this track that is the most difficult seems to be the entrance to pit-road as a lot of drivers have found themselves getting nabbed for speeding on pit road. Overall, Qualifying will also be important as well should we see what we saw last year as passing should be difficult with this high downforce package. I look for it to be a much more tame race than what we saw in the 500

Last Monday, NASCAR fans witnessed one of the most horrific moments in the sports history. On the final lap, veteran Ryan Newman crashed head-on into the wall and then went upside down on his roof only to be hit driver 's side by Corey Lajoie. and everyone held their breath as we all watched him be extracted from his car and transferred to Halifax medical center. Miraculously, just two days later Ryan was able to walk out of the hospital on his own power with his daughters at his side. While the wreck was awful, the fact that someone could walk away from that shows how far that the sport has come in regards to safety. There is still room for improvement when it comes to the races such as Daytona and Talladega. One solution that popular racing YouTuber David Land had thought up was a limit of overtime attempts on tracks like these considering the race had already gone past its advertised distance. I can empathize with what he is saying, but there have been many instances of races going past their scheduled distance and with no problem so I don't know how much that will help matters. In the end, I am no expert when it comes to the mechanics of these cars and what they can do to help keep them on the ground but overall, I hope that in some way shape or form that the sanctioning body can find a way to stop these cars from going airborne. We will see what they come up with.

While Ryan is recovering, it was announced that Xfinity Series Regular Ross Chastain will fill in. This comes as a surprise considering Chastain's ties to Chevy. This was definitely the right choice though as Ross is one of the most sought after prospects in NASCAR Right now. Last season, he nearly went on to a truck series championship with a truck that wasn't funded as much as some of the others, and he also performed well in his Xfinity series starts by capturing a win at Daytona for Kaulig racing and four top tens. Mind you he had a lot of success with a smaller budget team in JD Motorsports. If given the right opportunity, I truly believe that Ross can really perform well. I look for him to do a great job this weekend at Vegas and even contend for a top ten. Look for the #6 Mustang to run well on Sunday.

The driver that I have going to victory lane this week is Joey Logano. It has been a rough speed-weeks for the 2018 Champion, he has been the sight of much controversy after being involved in multiple pileups in both the Daytona 500 and the Busch Clash. Even his own teammate Brad Keselowski wasn't happy with him as he was caught up in both wrecks caused by his teammate. This week though I think it will be a much different story. Over the course of his last four races here, he has tallied a win and four top tens to go with it. He and his Penske teammates have really put on a clinic here and Sunday should be no different. Look for Logano to claim his first win of 2020 on Sunday.

(All stats and information used in this article is brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com the best website for all NASCAR stats).

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The show goes on this weekend as NASCAR heads for Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500. As everyone knows, the world is in a crisis right now with the Corona-virus and with the NBA, MLB, MLS and the NCAA all canceling events, the question then became what was next for NASCAR. On Thursday it was announced that both races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead Miami will be run as planned without fans. Of the 24 years that I have been on earth, this is something that I have never seen before in my life. Right now with all that is going on with people's livelihood at stake, a NASCAR race is secondary. I hope that everyone out there that is taking the time to read this article is well and remains healthy. With all of the bad news out there, I do take comfort in knowing that my favorite sport will be running this week but my heart breaks for everyone that planned for months to make it down there to Atlanta and watch. I would imagine that there will be a lot more attention on the sport considering it will be one of the only major events happening. This track has provided many classic moments over the course of it's 60 year tenure on the schedule and this week, I think there is a good chance we see another classic finish. There is however a chance of rain in the forecast though so that could also be another factor come sunday.

While the Cup cars will run on Sunday, one of the big headlines this week is the truck race that will be run on Saturday. Two weeks ago at Vegas, Kyle Busch went on to claim his 57th career victory after he thoroughly destroyed the field. This prompted driver Kyle Larson to go on twitter and suggest that Busch cherry-picks the races in the truck series that he wants to run and goes out and dominates. This led Kevin Harvick to offer up $50,000 to any Cup regular that can go out and beat him. After seeing this owner of Gander Outdoor's (the title sponsor of the truck series) offered $50,000 of his own to the bounty. The rules are that drivers won't have to win the race to claim the money just finish ahead of Busch and they also can't wreck him either otherwise they will not be eligible to claim the money. While the added drama will definitely bring a lot more attention to the race, I have to say it's rather quaint to see a lot of fans get excited when most of them were calling for Cup drivers not to race in the lower leagues. Regardless, just as a race fan I will be interested to see if any of these drivers can step up and beat one of the best drivers around. This "bounty" doesn't just extend to Cup regulars either as the Haulmark trailer company also offered $50,000 to any truck series regular that can beat Kyle Busch as well. The rules are that drivers won't have to win the race to claim the money just finish ahead of Busch. It should be one of the better truck races of the season.

The driver that I have winning the race on Sunday is Martin Truex Jr. As we all know, 2020 has not been a kind season to the 2017 champion as he has ran into his fair share of trouble. At Las Vegas he seemed to have a race winning car before cutting down a tire and crashing then last week at Phoenix he was involved in a late race crash with Aric Almirola. He has an abysmal average finish of 24.5 but that shouldn't indicate how fast he has been this season and if he can just get luck on his side, I really think he is going to win a lot of races this season. I look for Truex to really be a contender come Sunday to finally break the cycle and get his first win of the season

(All stats and information used in this article is brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com the best website for all NASCAR stats)

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