The game of chance, played quite a bit when restrictor plates are added to the engines. It’s not like walking a tightrope, but more like a razor’s edge. One single decision can change the outcome for many. It’s the typical way a plate race is run, because in an instant, it can end for so many teams.
Talladega has long been the one track that is defined by expecting the unexpected, while also knowing the expected can occur at any point.
That expected moment came with 20 laps remaining, and it took away the opportunity for 16 drivers to win, or at least have a decent afternoon. But, the calamity isn’t what always is the only thing that is expected in this type of racing. It’s also the matter of that when it gets down to “Go Time,” it is always the final pass that could make the difference between celebrating in victory lane, or an interview on pit road.
In this case, that moment came in overtime, coming through the fourth turn, and finishing just after the white flag.
No matter what, the driver at the front is the most vulnerable in the lead. Block one lane, then another, and if the run is too fast, the battle is on. But, somehow, the pass stuck, and the blocking held all the way to the checkered flag. The fastest car to start the race was the one to make it to the line the final time, and in doing so got to experience the thrill of victory for the first time.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr, driving for Roush-Fenway Racing, earned his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup win, and in doing so brought Roush back to victory lane for the first time in almost three years, dating back to June of 2014. An excellent accomplishment for a driver who often was talked about just because of his girlfriend, fellow competitor Danica Patrick.
Surprisingly, but also not surprisingly, not one participant got to celebrate a victory. But then again, with half the field finishing in the top-10 this time, it was a strong survival of NASCAR’s beast of a track. Here’s where everyone now stands after somehow making it through the GEICO 500:
Rob Tiongson (387) Brad Keselowski finished 7th –  2
Ashley Hobbs (333) Brad Keselowski finished 7th –  7
Dalton Hastings (331) Brad Keselowski finished 7th –  3
Ashley Hull (314) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 22nd –  7
Rob Blount (301) Brad Keselowski finished 7th –  1
Misan Akuya (296) Jamie McMurray finished 2nd –  9
Penny Whitecotton (280) Kevin Harvick finished 23rd –  1
Billy Fellin (277) Ryan Blaney finished 39th –  2
Klarissa Mitchell (269) Jamie McMurray finished 2nd –  0
Sal Sigala Jr. (261) Brad Keselowski finished 7th –  6
Patti Rodisch (238) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 22nd –  8
Ashley McCubbin (233) Joey Logano finished 32nd –  2
Dustin Parks (233) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 22nd –  1
Next Race: There’s no question Talladega is always known for having the eye of the storm develop at a moment’s notice. The next weekend means no more plates on the engines, but there is always a storm that could develop. After all, a few years ago this race was sponsored by a sponge, and it rained. Plus, this state was the backdrop of one of the most infamous movies of all time, with multiple characters that are revered to this day.
It’s a trip to the Great Plains this upcoming weekend, with a Saturday night battle that could mean a twister approaching at some point. Hopefully someone has a pair of red shoes available, and a small dog.
For the first time this year, the Kansas Speedway is preparing to bring forth the action on it’s asphalt. Participants, this could be a critical week heading into the summer stretch. Get those picks secured by Thursday, May 11, at 10 p.m. ET for the GoBowling.com 400.