When control from the driver is put not just in their own hands, but in the hands of others, trust is either developed, grown, or erased with a simple maneuver. That’s how racing at a plate track is done. Especially at a place where the track is so big, and cars are so sensitive, trust and believing in one another becomes so critical.
Talladega has long been a place that trusting one another is what survives the race, and when the time is right, taking risks is what wins the race.
This track has seen moments where cars are scattered from wall to apron, some upside down, others twisted, and some even a blaze for a little bit of time.
Other times, drivers put trust in one another for an entire race, and not one broken car. An entire race, at a plate track, and not one yellow flag was in the air. It happened not once, not twice, but on three occasions, and it stunned every fan, and every broadcaster could not believe it happened.
This track always surprises everyone, and Sunday was no exception. Penalties hindered many of the favorites, but they continued battling all afternoon. But when it came time to make the move to win, they tried, but were almost scared. Drivers tried, but it wasn’t enough. When it was all said and done, the man at the front is no stranger to winning here, but it has been a while since he did experience victory. Last time he did, the perks of victory were snatched away, and it was far too much to overcome in order to make a playoff run.
Welcome back to victory lane, Joey Logano. Hold that steering wheel with pride, especially since it was more challenging to hold onto it when popping out the hatch instead of the window.
What is not a surprise is that with how this track is, achieving victory is a shot in the dark. In the end, no one managed that this week, and finishes were spread throughout the results, which changed the standings vastly. Here’s the shakedown after the GEICO 500:
Sal Sigala Jr. – 431 – Kevin Harvick finished 4th (3) 17
Ashley Hobbs – 393 – Kyle Busch finished 13th (4) 21
Rob Tiongson – 390 – Matt DiBenedetto finished 19th (2) 10
Billy Fellin – 317 – Brad Keselowski finished 33rd (3) 18
Penny Whitecotton – 314 – Kevin Harvick finished 4th (3) 11
Trisha Rodisch – 313 – Chase Elliott finished 3rd (2) 9
Ashley Hull – 307 – Chase Elliott finished 3rd (2) 12
Rob Blount – 299 – Brad Keselowski finished 33rd (1) 6
Dustin Parks – 298 – Alex Bowman finished 8th (0) 2
Misan Akuya – 297 – Jamie McMurray finished 28th (3) 17
Klarissa Mitchell – 127 – Jamie McMurray finished 28th (0) 0
Next Race: From one monster to another, NASCAR is taking on another difficult track on the schedule. She’s not as big as Talladega, and certainly it doesn’t come with restricted engines. But, it’s a challenge every time the cars hit the track, more specifically, hit the concrete.
Twice the size of Bristol, but with the same surface, and a groove that is both wide and narrow at points, she really is a monster. More emphasis on the monster aspect of this track comes when fans enter the facility, in a gigantic statue holding a full-size car in its grip.
It’s time for the first trip to Dover of 2018. The “Monster Mile” is hungry, and he has a craving for an appetizer of transmissions, then a main course of some sheet metal, and for desert, a motor oil sundae.
League members, get ready, and lock in those picks by Thursday, May 3, at 10 p.m. for the AAA 400 Drive for Autism.