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Chase race six at Talladega turned out to be exactly what many of the twelve Chasers feared it would be… unpredictable and a race they would have rather not had to run. It was also a race that separated the ones that can win the championship from the ones that can forget about it this year and, at least from this fan’s view, the real players are coming into focus. A quick glance at the finishing order show only three of the twelve Chasers in the top ten, so, even though some of the top guns had bad days, those behind them had worse days and Carl Edwards still sits first place in points.
One good thing came out of it for Denny Hamlin, he finished eighth and that was good enough to move him up in the field. Now he is no longer twelfth in points and happily turned that spot over to Ryan Newman, at least for now. He is separated from Jeff Gordon in tenth spot by only two points and just ten points from Dale Jr in ninth. As I said before, those three are falling back faster than Denny when it comes to the points and, unless his luck changes soon, Jeff Gordon could be battling Ryan Newman for the Twelfth spot. They’re only separated by six points at the moment and neither one of them can seem to catch a break since the Chase began.
There was a lot of chatter about how some of the teams chose to ride around in the back while others chose to race out front. (Notice I purposely chose the words ‘ride’ and ‘race’…) The complaint seems to come from the journalists section in particular and they suggest the fans are being cheated by those that choose not to race until the end of the race. I do understand where they’re coming from, but I do not necessarily agree with them.
Restrictor plate racing with the COT and especially at Talladega has become a strategy race. The teams absolutely have to do what they think they have to do to be around at the end of the race or they have no chance at winning it. Yes, it has changed the way the race looks now, but until NASCAR and the teams find something that works differently, this fan thinks we need to accept what we have knowing that NASCAR will do what it thinks is necessary to improve the situation. I am confident, they will eventually find a happy medium to remedy the situation. As it is, the racing isn’t that bad anyway, at least from my view.
One noticeable thing about the racing and the choices being made along the way as strategies and partners had to change. It didn’t matter much whether teams or partners chose to run in the front or the back. Apparently it wasn’t safe anywhere and accidents that gathered more than one Chaser happened in both places and in the middle, too. From this fan’s view, it just goes to show they’re not 100% safe no matter where they choose to run in this type of racing. It didn’t happen to those running out front, but either their partner or the ones that tried to pass or run with them could have caused the front runners difficulty as well.
Another problem with the two car tandem drafting reared it’s ugly head again at the Talladega track and that was what happens to one driver’s chances when his planned running partner runs into problems or they get separated for some reason. This last weekend showed a lot of people being left without their running partner at one time or another during the race. Plans had to change on the fly and sometimes people were left out in the cold causing some disappointments for more than one.
From my view, it appeared there was a lot of tension, resulting in impatience and the usual split second mistakes in judgement that caused accidents or some other sort of problem for several. It was clear the strategy chosen by some worked out well and for others, not at all.
One thing was definitely apparent at the end of the day. With all of it’s problems and drawbacks, restrictor plated racing is still unique and this fan finds it quite entertaining and exciting. I don’t think anyone can argue with the way this Talladega Super Speedway race finished between Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton. It was another close one and was decided on the final part of the final lap and from this fan’s view, generally, you just can’t hardly get better than that. Well… that is unless you wanted someone else to win… )
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 28, 2011 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman and Nascarfansview.com
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