As we get right down close to the stretch to the Playoffs, it’s no secret that things certainly pick up in intensity. Tracks we never expect to be the cause of rifts and surprising competition end up being ones that set the tone for the stretch run before the field is reset.
Look at last week, where a guaranteed title contender in Kyle Busch caused a couple fellow drivers to retaliate. Although William Byron’s attempt resulted in his Camaro to be more destroyed than Busch’s Camry, when Bubba Wallace took exception, he wasn’t taking it. That spin of Busch summed up his summer, one of frustration of having fast cars, but no results.
At this point, it doesn’t matter if you’re locked into the Playoffs like nine drivers are, or if you’re trying to get into the field like Wallace and Byron, everyone is on edge.
That also means paybacks certainly can come at any moment, but when and where they happen can lead to different results.
Paying back something that happened at Watkins Glen at a place like Michigan…not a smart idea. On the road course, everyone is in more control, and includes a lot of deceleration, braking, and shifting. It’s easy to get into someone and spin them out at that kind of track, since speeds are low. Trying to pay someone back at Michigan can be catastrophic, and scary. Speeds are at and above 200 MPH, and one touch means calamity, destroyed cars, and even worse if the car gets airborne.
I am a big fan of Michigan, and have been to this track before. Wish I could go back again since it’s a very entertaining track because of all the different lines drivers can run, and also the different strategies that can be used to get to victory.
This is a place where we’ve seen two cars run out of gas in a matter of a lap and a half, and that was when the white flag was in the air. This is also a place we’ve seen photo finishes, like in 1991 between Dale Jarrett and Davey Allison. We’ve also seen firsts at this track, like Kyle Larson’s first win a few years ago, and the first win for Dodge when they returned to competition in 2001. It’s a place that included tragedy, then triumph, all in one thanks to Ernie Irvan.
Deciding to pay someone back at this place could result in a wreck like we saw in Atlanta years ago between Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski…with probably the same ending.
Save the paybacks for a track like Bristol, or possibly Darlington. This weekend, it’s drive fast, drive hard, and win. Anything less is not satisfying.