|08/29/19||DIBENNEDETTO NASCAR'S ROCKY BALBOA|
|06/26/19||FROM JOURNEYMAN DRIVER TO HALL OF FAMER|
|06/18/19||WINNERS NOT ADDING UP|
|05/25/19||THE 600 IS STILL A CROWN JEWEL|
|05/15/19||NEXT TWO WEEKS COULD BE TOO GOOD|
|04/10/19||WALTRIP A TWO-WAY HALL OF FAMER|
RU ROH IT'S THE ROVAL
Could Sunday's event at Charlotte Motor Speedway be the sequel to the tale of "The Spooky Case of the Grand Prix Race" with Shaggy and Scooby Doo?
Picture this in your mind's eye.
Our hair-raising cartoon opens with the sun now having burned off a Sunday morning fog. Shaggy is strapped in, his safety belts so tight they're ready for a NASA rocket launch, and his heart is pounding as if he just walked into a darkened room when someone starts up a chainsaw or he's seen a flicker of a face wearing a hockey mask. Daphne gives him a pat on the helmet, while Velma cleans the windshield one more time as Fred wishes him good luck over the radio. Then, just as they are about to give the command to start engine Shaggy looks over at Scooby and asks, "What do I do now?"
All he can say, "Ruh Roh it's the Roval." That beast is the only 17-turn, one of kind road course that has left more than one driver sleepless or waking with cold sweats.
This means the episode will swing back and forth, as the forces of darkness battle against those of the light, promising a nightmare ending for some drivers and a happy one for others. It will leave some fans cheering and others shaking their heads in disbelief or disgust.
"It's such an unknown and the track is very slick", explains Kyle Busch. "The tire and the track just don't necessarily marry up well. We did a couple of tire tests and they decided to go against the
"It's going to be tough, super chaotic," adds brother Kurt. "People are going to be extremely frustrated. I think you could see like 10 cars finishing that race and everybody else DNF. I mean it could be pretty wild."
That could be problematic for 12 of the 16 Playoff contenders with the inaugural Bank of America Roval 400 the round cut off
For everyone else, channeling my inner Shaggy it's "Zoinks". Joey Logano goes in ranked fifth trying to make the top-12, but only 25 points to the good if he crashes early he could be on the outside looking, failing to make the cut. Aric Almirola has done a great job with a couple of top-10s in the opening two Playoff races but at number six he's just 23 up on 13th place Clint Bowyer, his teammate. Then, on shaky ground, you have Kyle Larson (+17) and Kurt Busch (+15). You'll then find on thin ice Chase Elliott (+10), Austin Dillon (+10), Alex Bowman (+5), and Ryan Blaney (+4).
Along with Bowyer (-4), three other guys are staring out of a deep hole as they embark on their Roval adventure. Jimmie Johnson is minus six points with Erik Jones (-21) and teammate Denny Hamlin (-29). Joe Gibbs had three chances to win the championship when the Playoff started and by the end of round one, he could be down to one.
Those two I thought would make it into round two while I picked Almirola, Dillon, Bowman, and Johnson not to make it through. While I can't root for those four to move into the next round, I'll admit I wouldn't mind eating crow if they did, especially for those younger guys who don't get the same respect as some of the other Playoff drivers.
This race is truly going to be a unique, one in a lifetime experience for the fans and everyone else involved in the sport. It will leave Shaggy saying "Gadzooks" and the episode ending with a tight shot of Scooby Doo giggling.