For the third time this season, NASCAR presented a race worth watching. 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.
Sometime over the next ten weeks, at one of ten tracks hosting the Chase, Clint Bowyer will be sailing along. He will feel a sudden nudge in his left rear quarter-final, just a touch but enough to cause him to feel the car getting out from under him. Bowyer will try to save it, and come close in doing so but, alas, his car will find the wall. His race and his Chase hopes, done in an instant.
Did anyone doubt that Jimmie Johnson would lead the Chase points after Martinsville? Earlier in the spring race, he and teammate Jeff Gordon were headed for a 1-2 finish before somebody got greedy and the result was Ryan Newman winning. Never mind that Hendrick Motorsports owns this place, and if for not a strange turn of events, HMS would have won both races at Martinsville Speedway. As usual.
Hendrick Motorsports crew chief, Alan Gustafson, continues to showcase his talent when faced with adversity. The gusty chassis adjustment call at Richmond earlier this season that vaulted his No. 24 team into the Chase when the possibility of making the postseason looked grim, was just one example of many timely and “out of the box” calls Gustafson has made to overcome a problem.
It may seem silly, but there are those who have already decided that the Chase has two favorites, Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson. There is something to be said for that, but the thought needs more investigation. It’s also useful to look at history and recent statistics. Those two categories tend to color things a bit.