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The Final Word – If only all races were like Talladega

For the third time this season, NASCAR presented a race worth watching. I am not talking about those good ole boys and girls who have the sport in their blood, who love it, cannot live without it no matter what it looks like. I am talking about those who demand an entertaining three-hour experience if they are going to spend the time to take it all in. Talladega delivered.

This is what drew people to NASCAR in the first place. They did not know a Fonty Flock from a Smokey Yunick, but they knew what they liked. Tons of action, lots of speed, disaster possibly just around the corner, watching guys doing things we could never pull off on our best day, or even contemplate on our drunkest. On Sunday, Talladega delivered.

Back in the day, we talked about boys who went by the names of Petty, Roberts, Yarborough, Allison, Earnhardt, Gordon, and Stewart, to name a select few. Today, we once again talk about an Elliott, as the son of Bill from Dawsonville took the prize in the end. Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, and Ryan Preece led three Chevrolets across the line as, for once, the manufacturers made it known they wanted to win. They wanted their representatives to work together to make that happen. Limit what you do for the Ford and Toyota guys. Win one for the Camaro. In the end, thanks to some fine wheelmen and good fortune, Talladega delivered.

It was a day when sometimes they got too close to the line, and what you would expect would happen at 200 mph at close quarters did happen. Kevin Harvick lasted just 10 laps. Denny Hamlin survived 80. Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer were running at the end, but their odds of winning were about the same as your own. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was front and center most of the day but wrecked by the end. If you were looking for fireworks, Talladega delivered.

Were the FOX announcers great, keeping you informed and entertained? They did not have to be. The race, the actual event, kept us watching all on its own. Sure, we could talk once more about what changes FOX should make, and what NBC did last season, but we’ve flogged that horse past the point of what the SPCA or even Rodrigo Duterte could tolerate. You wanted a race, you got a race. Talladega delivered.

Daytona. Bristol. Talladega. Ten races, but only three that kept the viewing public glued to their seats, even if they were nowhere to be seen at that track in Tennessee a few weeks back. To be honest, I was so focused on the race, I could not tell you how many empty seats there might have been in the wilds of Alabama. If they could not or would not make the effort to take this one in, that would have been a shame. Talladega delivered.

Next week, they are in Dover. The Monster Mile they call it. It has been around for 50 years. Miles the Monster, holding a full sized Cup car up in the air, has been there since 2008. The last time the Cup boys visited there was last October. The winner, the youngest ever to do so at the venue, was one Chase Elliott. Will Dover bring us the same kind of experience as we enjoyed this past weekend? Hell no. Few tracks deliver like Talladega can.

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.


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