After five fairly non-eventful races to begin this year's Chase, Sunday's Talladega tangle was easily the best 2011 Chase race to date. Each October 'Dega proves to be the wild card in NASCAR's playoff format. The huge superspeedway annually showcases big wrecks, multiple leaders, and lead changes.
RCR's lame duck driver, Clint Bowyer was fast all race long, then drag raced his teammate, Jeff Burton, down the front stretch, and nosed ahead at the line. It was easily one of the year's best finishes. Bowyer carries his winning ways to MWR next year, while winless Burton, and sponsor, stay put at RCR.
Dave Blaney was the surprise of the day with his third place run. Blaney was pushed to that spot by 4th place finisher, Brad Keselowski. Red Bull mates, Brian Vickers (5th) and Kasey Kahne (6th) were strong all day. MWR drivers, Mike Waltrip (9th) and Martin Truex Jr (10th) came out of nowhere on the final restart.
Every time a car hits a wall head-on most fans are quick to claim it was 'eerily' similar to Dale Earnhardt's fatal crash ten years ago. Most of them are not at all like Earnhardt's wreck. However, Sunday, Regan Smith had a head-on impact type crash that was almost the same. The black Chevys touched the apron at 190 mph+, then shot, grille first, up the high bank, into the outside wall. Thanks to the safety innovations over the last decade Smith walked away, uninjured.
Top tier teams coasting in the back of the pack all day. Hendricks' four car team used a ride-around-in-back strategy for most of the race. A long, late yellow trapped them too far back to get to the front in the remaining two green flag laps. Mark Martin (20th) was HMS's highest finisher. The other three HMS cars are/were in the Chase.
The whining over some drivers not helping other drivers via the draft.... I'm looking at you, Gordon fans. Every driver out there owes his loyalty to his own team, only! Like every other job, when the boss tells you to do something, you better do it!