It is crunch time now. Two of the three wild card races in August are in the rear view, with each having their own unique twists and turns to get to the finish, no more than last weekend when an unexpected ending led to an unexpected winner.
In the end, it also meant frustration, anger, and potentially some payback down the line.
That payback is not coming this weekend, since going left and right is not going to happen again for a couple months. Instead, the speeds are increasing to their absolute max, at the fastest track on the entire schedule, and also a track that the entire field enjoys coming to.
There is added pressure on every team to do well, and to win, since all the auto makers are not far from the speedway. Back in the era when these cars truly were almost their production counterparts, sometimes even truly their production counterparts, and being able to put a Chevrolet, Ford, Dodge, or any other make in victory lane had a lot more priority than just a win, points, and a trophy. It means a lot of sales for that manufacturer for the entire week.
Back in the day, “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday” was absolutely enormous, especially with the kinds of cars that were being ran back then.
These days, still in an era where families are struggling to get back to a sense of familiarity, both in how they live and what they can afford, that theory is not always the same.
It still has a lot of meaning to the manufacturers, but this year with it being the next-to-last race in the regular season, it still is a chance for someone to steal a win. This place is so big, so fast, and so strategic, it takes a lot more than skill at the wheel to pull off the win.
But, at the same time, a year ago Kevin Harvick became the first to complete a back-to-back sweep at the track on the same weekend.
The biggest different between those two events and the single event this season is actually seeing a crowd sit in the grandstands. There is not one bad seat at this place. From the bottom row where the wall is literally right in front of you, to the top row where the seat back is the fence. It’s a multi-groove, multi-strategy, multi-variable track that is absolutely a place where someone could easily stun the field with a win, and maybe a playoff spot.
Time to dust off the Motor City and see who will be selling a few autos once business restarts on Monday morning.