The Final Word – Talladega, right on the corner of bitter and sweet street

There are things in life that just irritate a person. There are calls for me to worry about man-made global warming when I got snow falling outside in the month of May. There are three hours of television devoted to a two-minute horse race. There are entertaining races from Talladega, with big names leading, big names wrecking, only to have the thing won by Denny Hamlin. Then there are times when you write your column, forgot to save the stupid thing, only to dump out of the word processor to lose it all. Yes, I am an irritated man.

I am probably less irritated than, say, Tony Stewart. The only time we really saw his useless beast on Sunday was when it was on the hook being towed off the track after being mercifully taken out of action in 43rd place. Things are going better for me than they did for Brad Keselowski, who decided to squeeze into a place in front of Danica Patrick where there was no squeezing to be done to have his day ruined just 15 laps in. I wonder if Kurt Busch is happy, even though he had another less than stellar outing that ended like that of his boss. Finishing outside the Top 30 probably did not tickle the likes of Carl Edwards, Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth, or Jeff Gordon, all of whom did make some noise before the sound of mashing metal entered their ears.

Dale Earnhardt Jr is probably a touch peeved at being called in from the front to pit for fuel he did not need to wind up in the back in a position he could not return from. 26th was not what the script was supposed to read. Jimmie Johnson snapped loose early, and though he finished 23rd on the lead lap he was never a factor. He was one place behind Danica, who set a new gender standard at Talladega for her 22nd place result.

Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer had to have been disappointed. The pair were set for a big run on the final lap to try and catch Hamlin, who was running on fumes, when Justin Allgaier got messed up just as the white flag came out. With a chunk of his bumper left on the track, the caution had to come out before the lads could attempt to make their run for glory.

Yes, I am saving this version of my column as I go along. Why do you ask?

So, I am happy, at least happier than I was before the words on my screen disappeared and the bad words came flying out of my mouth. Maybe not as happy as Landon Cassill, as his unsponsored white Hillman Racing Chevy finished the day in 11th. Kyle Larson probably sports a sweeter disposition after the 21 year old was ninth to make it five Top-Tens in 10 starts. Definitely not as happy as the fans at Talladega were when Danica led early, briefly, or when Junior did the same later, and longer. I am guessing that Denny Hamlin is probably happier than me, not that this does anything to perk up my own mood. With his 24th win in his 300th start, and a place in the Chase all but reserved despite missing a race earlier this season, I doubt Denny really gives a damn as to my current state of happiness.

Kansas comes up this Saturday night, where Hamlin set the track record two years ago by wrapping up the day in just under three hours. Kenseth is happy there, having won two of the past three, while happy is something Harvick was after claiming the prize in the fall. Keselowski and Johnson split in 2011, and that should be cause for joy and even some hope. Meanwhile, this column is saved, and sent. Look at the big ole smile on this face.

1   (1) Joey Logano 2 wins, 305 points
2   (2) Kevin Harvick 2 wins, 258 points
3   (4) Kyle Busch 1 win, 343 points
4   (5) Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 1 win, 328 points
5   (3) Carl Edwards 1 win, 328 points
6   (6) Brad Keselowski 1 win, 294 points
7   (16) Denny Hamlin 1 win, 292 points
8   (7) Kurt Busch 1 win, 196 points

9   (8) Jeff Gordon 347 points
10 (9) Matt Kenseth 344 points
11 (10) Jimmie Johnson 304 points
12 (13) Greg Biffle  300 points
13 (11) Ryan Newman  299 points
14 (12) Brian Vickers  297 points
15 (15) Kyle Larson  286 points
16 (14) Austin Dillon  281 points

17 (19) A.J. Allmendinger  279
18 (18) Marcos Ambrose  268
19 (21) Paul Menard  265
20 (22) Clint Bowyer  261
21 (23) Kasey Kahne  252
22 (17) Tony Stewart  244
23 (24) Casey Mears  244
24 (25) Aric Almirola  242
25 (20) Jamie McMurray  241
26 (26) Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.  218
27 (27) Martin Truex, Jr.  209 27
28 (28) Justin Allgaier  190
29 (29) Danica Patrick  176
30 (30) David Gilliland  152



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Ron Thornton
Ron Thornton
A former radio and television broadcaster, newspaper columnist, Little League baseball coach, Ron Thornton has been following NASCAR on this site since 2004. While his focus may have changed over recent years, he continues to make periodic appearances only when he has something to say. That makes him a rather unique journalist.


  1. The race is a farce. The drivers say it doesn’t matter where a car starts, and then NA$CAR makes they come near a destruction derby for only their benefit. They the drivers coast for 475 miles, only to cause a destruction derby in the last 25 miles. When will the next driver get killed at this track? NA$CAR walks away with millions and the team owners haul their trash back to their shops.


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