It took more than a month and about 140 of the 188 laps at Talladega for it to happen but NASCAR fans finally got to see someone wreck. By now, you should know that Tony Stewart was not very happy about it. However, as you can see above, Brad Keselowski was thrilled.
The Big Deal: The big story was not the awesome move that Brad K put on Kyle Busch… it was the overheating of cars, fuel evaporation and big wrecks that happen when someone makes one small mistake. NASCAR limited the opening of the air ducts on the front of the car, installed smaller radiators and made some changes to the rear bumper to keep cars from being able to push each other for very long. This worked OK at Daytona even though there still overheating issues there. However, Talladega is bigger, faster and the temperatures are hotter. This translated into guys that couldn’t push their cars for much of the race.
Kevin Harvick was one of those drivers and he responded like this when asked a question regarding racing with the high water temperatures,”NASCAR has got us in a terrible box here as far as temperatures and things like that,” Harvick said. “You run around in a pack at 260 (degrees) but I love this style of racing.” They just have to figure out a way to do it without the engines.” Harvick’s car was also a casualty of a fuel evaporation issue that came into light at Talladega. He ended up running out of fuel much earlier than expected. Another driver this happened to was Aric Almirola which was part of why “The Big One” happened on lap 144.
Jeff Gordon said this about the temps, “This temp thing is kind of a joke. They are going to have to fix that.” Gordon was taken out by a wreck but his teammate, Jimmie Johnson, was taken out by an engine issue caused by the high temperatures of the engines. By the time the checkered flag flew, 19 of the 43 cars were behind the wall.
Tony Stewart certainly did not think there were enough cars out of the race. “Honestly, I think if we haven’t crashed at least 50 percent of the field by the end of the race, we need to extend the race until we at least crash 50 percent of the cars.” It was obvious to most that Smoke was being his usual sarcastic self. However some reporters didn’t pick up on it, much to my amusement. Smoke is one of the most vocal drivers but many times it does come off as whiny. His point is made here and he’s right that NASCAR can’t have guys running out of fuel at Talladega and watching temperature gauges the whole race. It’s just the method that he goes about it sometimes (like when he whined about blocking last season). My favorite quote from this press conference was the one he ended with… He was asked… Is it safe to say that you prefer the pack over the tandem drafting? Tony responded, “I think we ought to make it a figure eight. I mean if we could make it a figure eight it would be perfect. It would absolutely be perfect here. It would be better than what we have. That is going to be my vote next week is that we make it a figure eight and/or we can stop at the half way make a break and turn around and go backwards the rest of the way. Then with 10 to go we split the field in half and half go the regular direction and half of them go backwards.” In case you are wondering, NASCAR has said he will not be fined for his comments.
I Have A Dream: Well, Brad K did anyway. He claimed his move to break the draft that Kyle Busch would have used to slingshot by him to win on Sunday came to him in a dream. It was a sweet move where coming off turn 4 he immediately dove down the track which suprised Busch enough to where he didn’t follow. The separation became too much and he couldn’t make the typical slingshot move for the win that we expect at Superspeedways. It will be interesting to see how a last lap battle will play out at Daytona in July now that this trick is out of the bag. Kyle Busch failed to win Sunday because of this move but also failed to win on Saturday in the Nationwide race because Joey Logano passed him coming to the line on the final lap. I hope he was taking notes.
Cheers:To Brad K (obviously). To Tony Stewart for giving us something to talk about all week. To Jeff Burton for finishing 10th. To Kasey Kahne for his great driving through 2 wrecks that happened all around him and another top 5 finish for him. Cheers to streaks: Dale Jr’s 6th top ten in a row and Biffle’s 6th top 5 of 2012.
Tears: For Martin Truex, Jr (28th) for his second straight bad finish. For Jimmie Johnson (35th), who must really hate Superspeedways even though he won ‘Dega last year. For Tony Stewart (24th), because his press conference was as entertaining as it was whiny. For Jeff Gordon (33rd) because his weekend fell apart quickly. And finally for Carl Edwards, whose recent improvement took a beating with a 31st place finish.
Rubbin is Racin’, even after the finish…Danica Patrick spun her rival Sam Hornish into the wall because of tight racing at the finish of the Nationwide race on Saturday. The two have apparently been rivals since go-kart times. Danica didn’t like the way he ran her up the banking at the end and he says it was because he had a tire going down. NASCAR’s first “he said/she said.” People are making a bigger deal about it then they should. This kind of stuff happens and there isn’t a huge history to Danica’s behavior yet. So let’s not pile on just yet.