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Dustin Off the Next Race: Pennzoil 400 Presented by Jiffy Lube

After spending three weeks in Florida, a change of scenery certainly is extremely welcome for all in NASCAR.  Not that the views in Florida weren’t great, aside from the rain that forced the season-opener to go well into the night.  The palm trees, the sand, the ocean waves, all great visuals.  But, sometimes being there week, after week, sort of like what WWE and AEW have done for the last year, gets tiring.

A trip out west is exactly what NASCAR needs at this time, although this season it is a bit of a shorter stint of “NASCAR Goes West” since one of those events got taken away.

Still, the tracks we have on this western swing are each going to be hosting a second event later this year, when wins mean advancing in a title picture.  Doing well this early could be beneficial when the fall stretch of the season approaches and championship-eligible drivers are fighting for position.

I suppose this is the time when drivers that are already in the playoffs are going to be gambling, but it also is the time of year a season ago when things went a bit…sideways.

It’s hard to believe that just over a year ago, although not at this particular track, that the entire season would start to go sideways.  Next week, when NASCAR heads to Phoenix, that would mark the one-year anniversary of having a full crowd at a track to witness a victory.  Right afterwards, the season suddenly took a dramatic pause, or for that matter, a stoppage.  No haulers rolling into the track to unload and practice, no fans walking through the gates buying souvenirs and bringing coolers filled with drinks.

No racing…no excitement…no true feeling that the world was suddenly being clutched in the grasp of a global pandemic.

A year later, there are fans in the stands, but a track that can hold so many, but only allow so much, just doesn’t feel or look the same.  Still, there’s a lot of progress that has been made, because teams have adapted to the new procedures and have gotten accustomed to the new setups.  That said, in a few weeks, the idea of practice and “qualifying” will return, but more on that when the event arrives.

Everyone in the sport has adapted to the new gambles they take on the track, and off.

Seems appropriate we are in Sin City, and these teams are gambling that they have the right setup right off the truck, and they put their chips on the right number, and always are rolling the dice with each lap.

Guess we will know who will hold, who will fold, and who will go all-in once the stage is set for victory.

About Dustin Parks

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