NASCAR at Talladega After Thoughts: Bowyer Wins and the Points Race Tightens

Clint Bowyer pulled into Victory Lane at Talladega as the winner of the Amp Energy Juice 500 after NASCAR checked the video feeds and timing loops to be sure who was out front when the caution came out on the last lap on Sunday afternoon. As it turned out, Kevin Harvick finished second and Richard Childress Racing finished 1 – 2 for the day. If Jeff Burton wouldn’t have been taken out by a skirmish with Dale Jr and the wall late in the race, who knows, RCR may have finished 1-2-3 because all three of the teams were that strong all day. (That is also a testament to just how much of a turn-around there has been at RCR since last season.)

Well, the jury is still out on what happened to Jeff Gordon’s #24 late in the race. He and Jimmie Johnson were trying to stay out of trouble hanging around in the back of the lead draft until about fifteen laps to go. When the two decided to pull out and make their move, they proceeded almost immediately to the front of the pack and Jeff thought his engine was going to blow, smelled oil and pulled out of line, leaving Jimmie without a drafting partner. It turned out Jeff’s engine just stumbled, (possibly hit the rev limiter on the chip or some other circumstance having to do with restrictor plate racing) and he finished just behind Jimmie Johnson at the end of the race in 8th place.  It is another one of those strange things that has happened this year (and not just to Jeff Gordon.)

From this fan’s view, I know there was a lot of passing and lead changes, but, personally, I didn’t see anything going on other than follow the leader for a lot of laps. Now, don’t get me wrong; I don’t have a problem with them running around a restrictor plate track in a big pack, single file, and I sure don’t have a problem with them running around for many laps door handle to door handle. I just think the race at Talladega needs something to make it more interesting in the middle.

I don’t have an answer to it (at least not yet) and I’m not really complaining, but, I do think the race needed just a little something. I know the top three, in particular, were running a safe race, (and Denny Hamlin almost ran so safe we all thought he might finish a lap down there for a while), and those top three weren’t alone in doing that.

I knew going into Sunday’s race that generally the first fifty or so laps are the best until we get to the last ten and it pretty much proved out that way. (Yeah, I know nobody really cares what I think about how the race went on Sunday, but I thought I’d tell y’all anyway.) I have heard some say since; they thought it was one of the best races they’ve seen at Talladega in a long time. From my view, I think they confuse the way the Chase is going with the actual on-track racing. I mean, if we do look at the way the Chase is panning out, it is the closest ever and, if the top three continue to run the way they have, it very well may not be settled until the final lap of the final race for the 2010 season at the finale in Homestead. Now, I’m not saying things are going to continue on as they have, but I have to be honest, I was thinking things would have already been different and that hasn’t happened yet. (There, now that I’ve said that, watch what happens this coming weekend…)

Oh well, everyone says the “bad tracks” are out of the way for everybody (uh, that would be Martinsville and Talladega, just in case you haven’t been paying attention) and now, (at least according to Denny Hamlin), it is back in the hands of the drivers.

Well, I’m not so sure I agree with him, but I will say this… I reckon we’ll find out…

See ya next time… Rusty

All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer

© November 02, 2010 – all rights reserved

Rusty Norman and

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