In the dictionary next to the word wild is a picture of the Monster Energy Cup Series racing at Talladega. With the current rules package for plate racing, the speeds were extraordinarily high. NASCAR has said they don’t want to see speeds over 200, Saturday they reached 204 mph. Those speeds forced a plate change in the hopes of slowing the cars down a little more. Along with the speeds, The “no ride-height” rule and small spoiler put a premium on handling, which for these drivers was very limited as they put 500 miles on the board at the Talladega Superspeedway.
Who could hold it wide open for 188 laps?
On The Gas:
3: Alex Bowman – The Good news for Bowman, he carries on solid runs for the No. 88 at the plate tracks. Bowman was able to get out front, lead laps at Talladega. That made Earnhardt fans happy. The bad news, if his current up/down trend with results continues…We can pencil him in for a spot in the “lower” section next week.
2: Kurt Busch – A second place finish, it not always an easy pill to swallow. Kurt Busch left Talladega thinking that was a win. With an average finish of 14th in the first nine races, Busch has had see his teammates succeed. Harvick goes on a three race winning streak. Bowyer breaks a multi-year losing streak. Then Aric Almirola is a corner away from winning the season opening Daytona 500.
1: Joey Logano – One day short of a full year since his last trip to victory lane, Logano kept his Pennzoil ford towards the front of the field. That Ford became extra wide as the white flag flew. Logano was able to block Kurt Busch and a hard charge from Chase Elliott to lock himself in to the playoffs this fall.
Now, who suffered the wrath of Talladega, and left with bent sheet metal and hurt feelings?
On The Brakes:
3: Martin Truex Jr. – Since his win March 18th at Auto Club Speedway, Truex has one finish in the top 10. In Fact, the No. 78 car hasn’t finished inside the top 14 since. Sunday was just another part of this stretch that has given Truex an average finish of 27th in the last four races. Three of those, he’s crashed out of.
2: Erik Jones – It didn’t take long for Jones to realize the apron at Talladega was not a place you wanted to put your car. Jones clipped the apron in turns one and two that sent his car up in to McMurray and triggered one of the multi-car wrecks. When asked after the accident how difficult the racing was, Jones said, “These cars are just really challenging to drive now, and I think that’s why you’re not seeing a ton of racing early on.
1: Trevor Bayne – Early in the week, Bayne found out he was losing part of his ride. The announcement that Matt Kenseth with share the No. 6 this season had to make Bayne think his job was on the line. With that kind of pressure, why not look at Talladega as a place for redemption and prove you belong. The week couldn’t get much worse, except it’s Talladega. The “big one” strikes and Bayne has to wonder…anything else? Just minding your own buisness and someone else’s mistake sent Bayne to garage and home disappointe–again.
From one Monster to another, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series leaves the carnage of Talladega behind, and heads to Dover. Who might the “Miles The Monster” decide to have for lunch Sunday?