NASCAR Spring Break Report Card
Couch Potato Corner
It sure seemed strange not to see a NASCAR race on a weekend. After seven weeks of action and occasional inaction we have been programmed like our television remote to tune into a NASCAR race every weekend. Of course the discerning fans could still find their NASCAR fix with Lori Munro and I on The Final Inspection Radio Show as usual on Saturday.
Let’s take a look at NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series grades at Spring break with only one driver and race getting selected for each grade. (And yes the grading is done on a banked curve)
A: Martinsville Speedway– This was the best race of the year by far giving us the most racing action along with great story lines. We need more short track racing in NASCAR!
A: Kyle Larson– The early part of the 2017 season will be remembered as that time when “Potential” was realized and Kyle Larson became one of the top five drivers at the Cup level. Can he continue this performance all season? Sure he can because it was the car not his ability holding him back.
B: California Speedway– Yes I am guilty of grading on a curve. I wasn’t expecting much from this race since the other speedway races showed that clean air was more important than ever before. But this race was better than expected.
B: Brad Keselowski– It’s hard to believe the driver with the most wins and the most playoff points only gets the second best grade but isn’t this performance expected from the former champion? There is no doubt the best two drivers so far this season have been Bad Brad and Young Money.
C: Daytona International Speedway– It might seem fitting that an average grade was earned by the track that kicks off the NASCAR season every year because this season has been average if not below average so far this year.
C: Ricky Stenhouse Jr– It has been good to see Roush Fenway Racing performing better this season. It has been a surprise that their best driver has not been Stenhouse Jr who has looked good at times and struggled on other weeks to earn this very average grade.
D: Atlanta Motor Speedway– This might be more of a case of “Lunch Bag Let Down” than anything else. Over the years the racing at Atlanta used to be fantastic. The last few years the racing has been very ordinary and this race was a great example of the issues at AMS.
D: Daniel Suarez– Rookies in Cup often struggle and this year watching the three rookies shows who might be a star someday soon (Erik Jones), who is ready but not terrific (Ty Dillon), and who was moved to the Cup level too fast (Daniel Suarez). The only reason “Danny” didn’t get the lowest grade is because this is what rookies are supposed to be like.
F: Texas Motor Speedway– Would someone at NASCAR please stop making excuses and just once would they give us a little honesty? This was not a good race. Combine the lack of action with my “Lunch Bag Let Down” and it is very obvious which track deserved the lowest grade.
F: Danica Patrick– This has been a tough start to the season for Danica Patrick. Over the years when asked about her driving abilities in NASCAR and how good she might be I have called her a “25th Place Driver.” This season she has not even been able to live up to those low expectations.
What did you think about the race weekend? Give us your grades and the reasons why you thought that and the best comments might be used on “The Final Inspection” on 105.7FM The Fan in Milwaukee on Saturday at Noon CT. Steve Zautke hosts the most entertaining two hours covering all things racing and Lori Munro and Dennis Michelsen will have your NASCAR news and views every week.