So wow- Talladega was a cluster of a race wasn’t it? That is two weeks in a row where NASCAR has suffered some sort of major FAIL regarding a Chase (playoff) race. Last week if you remember – ABC failed to show the first 26 laps of the race at Charlotte because of a college football game. This week? NASCAR failed themselves by up and changing the qualifying process (yet again). Obviously the drivers themselves didn’t understand it much either- because many big name drivers- including several CHASE eligible drivers only made the race on owner points/championship provisionals. Hey NASCAR- SOMETHING IS WRONG with your new qualifying format if drivers in the Chase only make the field because of owner points/past champions provisionals. Fans and teams alike just got use to the new qualifying format and then NASCAR had to go throw a wrench in the plans? That is NOT cool. What also concerns me about this qualifying format is that drivers with full-season funding and sponsorship did not make the field (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) – yet one-off drivers riddled the field (Mike Wallace, Terry Labonte, Michael Waltrip). I honestly do not know what NASCAR was thinking there.
About the race itself? It was typical Talladega. This track should honestly be eliminated from the chase in my opinion and switched with a road course. Why? Because at Talladega- the finish of the race is really due more to luck and not skill. Road courses however? They are all driver skill and not luck. I have been saying this for years. The Chase should showcase what drivers can do to get themselves in the show. Road courses are THE tracks for showcasing driver ability. What racetrack should be added? Well technically it would be AWESOME if it was Laguna Seca (Mazda Raceway @ Laguna Seca) because that track is 10 miles from my house. But really a second race at either The Glen or Sonoma Raceway would work- or throw something new into the mix like Road America or the road course on Daytona. Or heck, even get really wild and frisky and just barricade streets off to be true to it’s name ala Grand Prix of Long Beach.
So Tony seemed to believe that he had a fairly decent Bass Pro Chevy until he got damaged in a wreck. He was destine to spend the rest of the race at Talladega (a heavy areo track) working on repairing the car. He also sustained a second crash after the checker flags flew when a tire blew out. He ended up finishing 4 laps down. This really just is NOT Tony or Team 14′s year this year. I am ready for 2015- I hope that the new engine/spoiler package will help Tony’s driving style and not hinder it…and that the team is just able to get themselves together.
Race winner was Brad Keselowski. This was an elimination race and as it stands right now- Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. do not transfer into the Elimination Rounds. I say as it stands because Ryan Newman’s car did NOT pass post race inspection after Talladega- coming in too low on both sides of the rear end of the car. We await anxiously word of any penalties tomorrow (penalty Tuesday). I personally think that if your car does NOT pass post race inspection then you should automatically be eliminated from the Chase. NASCAR does not want nor need another “spingate” on their hands.
Gratuitous Tony Stewart pictures:
Next week we are racing at Martinsville- one of my favorites!