Welcome to Talladega, the most entertaining racetrack in NASCAR. We watch something you and I haven’t got the guts to do, or just maybe we have enough brains not to. Fender to fender, side by side at 200 mph, and you sit in wonder that they have not wrecked yet. When they do wreck, something considered more of an eventuality than anything else, it often is spectacular. If that does not get your juices flowing, then might I interest you in the ballet, or maybe soccer or basketball is more to your liking.
There are other items of interest that popped up this week. Someone made the suggestion that NASCAR should consider paying refunds for rainouts or delays that force the event to be spread over a couple of days. Great idea, for those who do not understand economics. Expenses have been incurred, revenue is required to pay them off, and we all understand that the weather could play a role. If you are not prepared to pad your stay by a day, just in case, you take your chances. If it rains for a couple of days, some refund might be a consideration.
A return of Matt Kenseth could be in the offing. Reports have him coming in to replace Trevor Bayne, with the pair splitting the duties for the rest of the season at Roush-Fenway. Bayne’s health issues could be an issue behind the move or just a lack of performance. The No. 6 currently sits 26th in the standings. It will be good to see Matt back, but I wish it was under different circumstances.
Monster Energy will be back as the main sponsor for the Cup folks for 2019. After what will be just three seasons, there are no promises beyond that. Hell, Nextel lasted longer. I think we know the answer as to how bad Monster Energy has got it. What once had been a fever has turned into a mild case of the sniffles.
Skittles. M&M’s. Snickers. Kyle Busch drives a car that even the kids of his rivals love. That has to hurt, especially lately. When Kyle Larson lost to Busch at Bristol, the first thing 3-year-old Owen Larson asked his pops was if he had any Skittles for him. That had to hurt. You know, Mr. Larson, you are not you when you lose to Mr. Busch. Have a Snickers. What, too soon?
It is never too soon for Talladega. I bet you it could have a successful series all on its own. If the Professional Bull Riders can break away from rodeo with its own separate event, I think a Talladega series could make a go of it. I know I would be watching.
You can catch a preview this Sunday afternoon with our Hot 20 and their friends.
1. KYLE BUSCH – 3 WINS – 415 Pts
Why not four?
2. KEVIN HARVICK – 3 WINS – 324 Pts
3 wins, one of which is encumbered. It matters not, for the moment.
3. CLINT BOWYER – 1 WIN – 329 Pts
Stewart-Haas has yet to win at Talladega. Could times, they be a changin’?
4. MARTIN TRUEX JR. – 1 WIN – 284 Pts
Things were looking sweet on the track but went sour in the Richmond pits.
5. AUSTIN DILLON – 1 WIN – 208 Pts
You would have to think the Daytona winner would have a shot at Talladega.
6. JOEY LOGANO – 359 POINTS
Appeared to be the best damn car at Richmond, at least for the first half.
7. BRAD KESELOWSKI – 303 POINTS
5 times Talladega has been kind to him. Only a Gordon and a pair of Earnhardts have won more.
8. DENNY HAMLIN – 286 POINTS
An owner of Little Big Burger in Cornelius, N.C. might look familiar. Denny Hamburger?
9. RYAN BLANEY – 282 POINTS
If being wrecked is something you get used to, Blaney should be relaxed going into Sunday.
10. KURT BUSCH – 282 POINTS
Third SHR auto in the Top Ten, as all sit among the dozen best.
11. KYLE LARSON – 279 POINTS
Credit One Bank is a fine sponsor, but they are not exactly Skittles.
12. ARIC ALMIROLA – 248 POINTS
Has three Top Tens in 2018. Danica had three Top Tens from 2015 to 2017.
13. ERIK JONES – 233 POINTS
It promises to be a perfect Talladega Sunday, especially if he claims his first career win.
14. ALEX BOWMAN – 209 POINTS
Except for Texas, it has been nothing but Top Twenties, with a pair of Top Tens in his last four.
15. JIMMIE JOHNSON – 200 POINTS
Both crew chief and driver showed their worth last week.
16. WILLIAM BYRON – 192 POINTS
Drives an iconic car, but not exactly an iconic or even a recognizable name just yet.
17. RYAN NEWMAN – 186 POINTS
The RCR boys are in the mix, but lately, they have not been among the main ingredients.
18. PAUL MENARD – 183 POINTS
Was working his way back at Richmond, but an uncontrolled tire in the pits dashed all hope.
19. RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – 176 POINTS
Last year, he was the guy with the girl. This year, he is the guy who is the defending race winner.
20. CHASE ELLIOTT – 175 POINTS
Eight times a bridesmaid before becoming a bride. That was also his dad’s experience.