Back when SHR announced that they would be moving to Ford as their manufacturer there was a huge segment of the community that balked at the switch in manufacturer. I have long said that I could understand the reason- with FORD SHR had the opportunity to be the top team for their manufacturer. They would never get that support from Chevy- who puts all of their support over to Hendrick Motorsports. With Ford as their manufacturer, Stewart-Haas Racing has the change of becoming more of a rival to Hendrick Motor Sports. With Stewart-Haas Racing’s impressive performance all season, it has become clear to me that they are indeed working on becoming a real rival of HMS/Chevy.
Talladega, however, just proves this point even more. The four teammates, led primarily by Kurt Busch who won the pole, worked so impeccably together the entire race. It was mentioned on the national broadcast that the Ford crew chiefs got together to talk about a game plan for the race. And while that was obvious, what was more apparent was that the SHR teammates were working together even more. The team not only qualified 1-2-3-4 for the race but showed their strength from the outset often leading the laps and keeping together. When they got separated, they eventually found each other and worked hard to get into that ducks in a row formation that they spent a majority of the Talladega race in. Yes, the cars were fast. But it was more than just four fast cars- it was more about the working together that was the strategy that put them over the top and had them together for the end of the race. Yes, two of the four cars ran out of gas at various points of the last two laps, but the surviving vehicles came out 1,2 at Talladega.
Was it a boring race? Yes probably. Talladega usually is until suddenly it isn’t. While thankfully I didn’t think we saw the amount of carnage typical of Talladega, I personally liked that. It’s not to say that the race was wreck free, it most definitely wasn’t, but overall the wrecked car count was much less than usual.
And to see Aric win his first race with SHR was great! He was so excited to win in that 10 car. The whole race was a feat that all of SHR should be proud of.
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