Talladega: Waiting For The Big One


If bent up sheet metal and wrecked race cars are your thing, you had to wait until lap 189 on Sunday afternoon at Talladega ,to see the fireworks. Tony Stewart in an attempt to block a hard charging Michael Waltrip on the last lap, set it off. You had to know it was coming when they went green-white-checkered on the last restart. Once they all got up to speed, the action went four and five wide, and at 200 miles per hour going into those corners, you had to know it was a recipe for a wreck. And it was.

Oct 7, 2012; Talladega, AL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Aric Almirola (43) , Casey Mears (13) , Bobby Labonte (47) , Sam Hornish Jr. (22) , Marcos Ambrose (9) , Kevin Harvick (29) , David Gilliland (38) , Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) , Martin Truex Jr. (56) , Martin Truex Jr. (56) and Clint Bowyer (15) slide out of a major wreck in turn four involving more than 20 cars during the final lap of the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE

I was pleased with the race, and thought it was one of the better restrictor plate races we’ve seen in a while. We had pack racing, lead changes, and the big one at the end. What more could you ask for? I can see why the drivers who are in the chase, especially the leaders hate this race on the schedule. It’s such a crap shoot.

The only Chase drivers who looked to be trying to win the race were Jeff Gordon and Dale Jr. Both Dale and Jeff were trying to make the high groove work, and it just wasn’t there. Once Nascar threw the caution for debris on the back stretch(wink, wink) to get Dale Jr. back on the lead lap, he continued to run high on the track, but that lane just wasn’t as fast as it usually is. It seems since the re-pave at Talladega a few years back, that lane has done nothing. As you may remember, Dale Sr. loved that high line, and won quite a few races there.

Gordon was also trying to work the outside lanes, but after he got out of the fuel conservation mode, he could never get help when he needed it. He was wanting to work with Kasey Kahne, but Kasey got too far back, and could never seem to get back to Jeff to provide that help. Jeff was able to finish second.

I’m not sure I understand the Denny Hamlin strategy of laying back with some of the others who were waiting until after the big one before coming to the front. That group actually lost the lead draft until the late caution brought out by Jamie McMurray.  Tony Stewart, who made his move to the front a little earlier,  and became a factor at the end. The Big One was on Tony.

Jamie McMurray gave us a peek back at 2010 when he was a factor on the big tracks. He ran an excellent race on Sunday, and had he not slipped up, I feel like he had the car to beat. It was good to see him with a good car, and an opportunity to win. I think Jamie has a lot of talent, and may be just stuck in a ride where the team is not giving him equipment  that will win on a week to week basis.

Being a Nascar Fan , who also loves football, I found that I had to keep switching the channels to keep up with the Redskins vs Falcons as well as the race. It didn’t get any easier at 4:30 when the Pats and Bronco’s started. I hate the scheduling. I also hate the little side by side commercial breaks. They give you one commercial, and ten promos, the same promos. I timed it once, and they were coming 4 minutes apart. It’s distracting when you are trying to watch the race.

I was glad to see Matt Kenseth win the race, but think he is too far back to be a factor in the championship picture. With two wins on the restrictor plate tracks in a Ford, he will be a force next year when he gets in a Camry. If the engines can hold up.