All the excitement that came from Talladega, which actually surprised me when it came to the racing, sort of came to a halt because when the tall spoilers and wickers came off, the realization is that the draft again would be talked about.
Even for a track that is one mile in length, talk of drafting and qualifying once again came to the forefront, because in all honesty it has been a bigger topic in 2019 than the actual racing.
Well, in a way, the fans got what they wanted because they got tired of the games that set the field.
Yes, NASCAR did not want to head this direction, but we are back to what has been used long before and what truly worked: single-car qualifying. There’s no more elimination from one round to the next, nor teams trying to cool engines to make a second run during a single round. Not any longer, every team has the same opportunity to make one strong lap on track, with no interference from another car. More importantly, every driver will get an opportunity to promote their brand and sponsors on television.
I had nothing against group qualifying, with the lone exception being at plate tracks, and we saw how much of a failure that was because it was a precursor to what we’ve seen this year.
However, you put so much downforce on these cars, it takes away from the idea of the fastest car being on the pole and instead being the one with the right positioning to be on the pole. California was the catalyst to this change, and Texas pretty much set it in stone. When you have a guy like Clint Bowyer, who is normally jovial, joking, and laughing while in the garage angry about the games and the controversy coming from it, something is getting changed.
Did NASCAR want to go to this direct route, no, but even the fans were calling for it. Although not the most exciting activity to watch on television, this is the reality. Single-car qualifying works.
Now there’s no question as to who can be the fastest for a Sunday, or sometimes a Saturday, race because they went out and earned the pole as the fastest car for that weekend.
So now, after all the controversy with qualifying has ended, and we all can move forward, it’s time to celebrate 50 years of a monster. I’ve always enjoyed this place because it’s treated like a short track, but you have multiple lanes to use like you’d see at Michigan or Las Vegas. It;s also a place no one can escape from accidents. We’ve seen Joey Logano go for a tumble at this place, and we’ve seen wrecks that would make Talladega jealous. It’s that kind of a race track where nothing and no one is safe, but when one is able to tame the monster and rather than give him a meal of sheet metal and engine oil.
To me that is a challenge since this package is causing much higher speeds than has been seen at Dover in years. For the last couple seasons it’s been low downforce, driver input, and this year thanks to the extremely tall spoilers and ducts, these cars are planted to the track like glue. And that’s increased the speeds to almost making the drivers feel like they are too fast for the track.
But, as Chase Elliott said, that’s what they get paid to do…go fast. After all, if you don’t like going fast, probably are involved in the wrong sport.
Let’s get racing!