Weather has plagued the NASCAR schedule from Atlanta to Martinsville to Bristol. This weather shows no weather concerns with sunny skies and warmth at Talladega. That’s good news for race fans whether heading to the race or watching on television.
Martin Truex Jr. took the top spot in the final round of qualifying Friday to win back to back poles in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series, his first at Auto Club Speedway. Toyota Racing Development will share the front row with the efforts of Kyle Busch.
While Harvick led more than half the time, Brad Keselowski was second after holding point for 38 laps. Denny Hamlin was fourth with 26 up front, while Kurt Busch settled for eighth, taking the second stage and leading 52 circuits.
36. Damn, and I was so looking forward to saying nothing but positive things this season. 36. That is the number of entries slated to run at Atlanta on Sunday. 36. The last time we had that small a field, it was 1996 in Martinsville. Rusty Wallace and Jeff Gordon were the race winners at that venue. 36.
Forty drivers, 40 spots. Still, despite the lack of interest and resources for additional teams to attempt to enter the iconic competition, we have some high-quality contenders to watch out for. Alex Bowman and Denny Hamlin are locked into the front row, as long as their cars last. The rest of the top 20 qualifiers went into Thursday trying to protect their positions from all challengers in the two 20 car heats.
It’s only a short time until the annual Media Tour at the Hall of Fame in Charlotte. We will learn a lot there, but a couple things are obvious. There will be 24 major teams running next year (10 Fords, nine Chevrolets, and five Toyotas).
Martinsville, where eight boys were trying to lock themselves into the final field of four contenders for the championship in Homestead. At the same time, 31 boys and a girl were doing their utmost to spoil the party for someone by winning the thing themselves.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. started on the pole at Talladega. Most years, that is just par for the course. In this, his final season, it was a return down memory lane. Talladega is where anything can happen, where any lead lap car has a shot to win it, and a where one’s dreams can go up in flames, smoke, and mangled metal without notice.
History and tradition. Often NASCAR sells it out for a corporate buck, but the Southern 500 was a race to win long before they went round and round at Daytona, Talladega, or all those generic races on cookie cutter 1.5-mile tracks across the country. It was the race a driver wanted to win. That legacy continued in Darlington, South Carolina on Sunday night at the track too tough to tame, the famed Lady in Black.