Tony Qualified: 6th
Tony Finished: 19th
Points: 174 points, 30th in the championship standings
Quote Of The Race: “I really don’t know why no one would try to go with us there at the end. It baffled me. Our Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevy was really good and I think we could’ve made it interesting if we got back to the front, but there’s only so much you can do by yourself at these races.” Tony Stewart, post-race team release.
I don’t usually lead the post-race reports with the quote of the race but the quote from Tony is so apropos that I couldn’t help but lead with it. It not only tells the tale of Tony’s race at Talladega this Sunday but it speaks to EXACTLY what I don’t like about super speedway races. To me races at Daytona and Talladega aren’t really races. Why? Because it is not racing if the driver isn’t able to depend on his car and his ability to move him through the field. Tony was not able to race at the end of the race not because he didn’t have the car for it. He led several laps, he was in the top ten for a lot of the race. Sure he fell back here and there- and was totally screwed by that last caution since he had yet to pit when most of the field already had. BUT he was still on the lead lap and he had a car strong enough to be able to advance in the field but because this track relies solely on drafting. It means you are constantly dependent on others on the track. You need them to make green flag pit stops, you need them to advance.
Instead of being content to just drive around the track in the middle of a big long choo-choo train, Tony jumped out of line multiple times to try to start a second line to move up and challenge Dale Jr and the other drivers up at the front. Unfortunately no one would go with him. Or let me rephrase that- no one that could help him. Danica actually did jump down behind him once- but for whatever reason she wasn’t able to stay down there with him- it could have been her problem transmission or possibly the handling on her car. I can’t be sure there. I think I saw Matt Kenseth try jumping down to the inside lane as well. Anyway Tony would jump down to the inside trying to advance his position but since no one would jump down into the lane with him he would slide back several spots.
In a nut shell- Tony had a strong car and a strong running at Talladega. Unfortunately his results don’t account for that. He got screwed by the last caution because a bunch of other cars had already pitted by the time it came out- so Tony had to line up behind all them after his pit stop. Then no one would join his tango line at the bottom of the track. I guess they were too scared to lose what position they had. But if enough of them had jumped down- it would have worked.
I don’t begrudge Dale Earnhardt Jr’s win. What I am bitter about is that no one would jump down to help Tony- who had a strong car all day. And that right there is WHY I hate restrictor plate racing. It’s not racing- it’s highly luck combined with popularity and science. It’s not racing. Maybe why that is why it’s being reported that this race is losing the attention of viewers. It was reported that viewership for the Dega spring race has been on a rapid decline.
Anyway- as I mentioned Dale Earnhardt Jr was the race winner- and the only way you don’t know that is if you live in a cave because it is EVERYWHERE! Which is good for NASCAR I guess.
Notes about the race:
1. I can’t begin to tell you how funny I thought it was that Dale Jr, who was in his NATIONWIDE Insurance sponsored Chevy at Talladega won the Geico 500. FUNNY.
2. Did you hear that Greg Ives (Jr.’s crew chief) almost went home on Saturday night because his 8 year old daughter severely broke her arm? Dale offered to fly him home to be with his family because she needed to have pins and such. He talked to her about it and she requested that he stay in Talladega and win! What a dad huh? You can here more about that over here on NASCAR.Com
3. I am going to admit I have some concern about the fact that there have been two pit road fires two weekends in a row. Last week was the Xfinity race- where Brendan Gaughan was pitting and his car ended up engulfed in flames in what looked like a fuel spill. There was a similar incident at Talladega to Ryan Newman’s crew on Sunday. Something must be done. At least Paul Menard’s crew had it right- they put on full-face helmets! Might be something NASCAR might want to mandate those for all crew members. or at least all who are at the rear of the car.
4. Sounds like Kyle Busch is getting closer to being back in the car- I saw somewhere that he was testing in a late model. If I remember correctly he felt that was his first step in getting back into his cup car. I have also seem some people surmising that he might be back in time for the Coca-Cola 600 at the end of the month. I don’t know if that is the wisest race to start back with- seeing as it’s the longest race on the circuit. We look forward to his return though when he is ready!
The Gratuitous Tony Stewart Pictures:
Next Week’s Race: We will be Night racing in Bikini Bottom er…Kansas on Saturday.
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