After a rain delayed the race for a day, NASCAR hoped to get in a full race on Monday and put on a good show. Well they certainly got one of the two wishes. With rain headed to the track area, teams knew that the race just might get called early. Passing halfway made the race official and after light rain that hit just one end of the track, Mother Nature unloaded on the entire tack forcing NASCAR to call the race just shy of the end of Stage 2.
When the word came out from spotters that rain was imminent, drivers pulled their belts tighter and made for the front. One of those drivers was Bubba Wallace and as cars shuffled back and forth, he was the recipient of a good push to the front that he was able to defend and stay just ahead of Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch. That push from Busch put him in front when the rain hit and a short time later, NASCAR announced the end of the race and Bubba Wallace as the winner.
Bubba Wallace, first time winner and first African American to win a race since Wendell Scott in 1963.
The race was pretty dicey from the get-go with several lead changes as drivers tested their car at the front and dropped back for a bit when the drivers started getting squirrely early. A couple of multicar wrecks ended the day for several drivers, most notably Alex Bowman and William Byron who are now in a must win position headed to the Charlotte Roval. Once again, the closing rate of the race package was a major factor in the two wrecks that happened. This package needs to be tweaked in my opinion. Too often cars find themselves sandwiched with nowhere to go except into the wall. Even though there were two wrecks, neither was The Big One fortunately. The quick approaching rain probably saved NASCAR from another race with a disastrous wreck-filled ending.
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Denny Hamlin was committed to teammate Christopher Bell and pushed him to the front more than once. The Joe Gibbs Racing tandem had a lot of power and drafted together better than most. Had the race continued, those two were going to be a major factor in the outcome. The Fords once again proved they were stout on the superspeedways leading much of the race.
While Talladega was called early and there was no Big One, it still proved to be a shakeup race for the point standings. The bottom four drivers are essentially in a must win situation this week. The win by Wallace was great for his young team but potentially disastrous for Kevin Harvick. On the flip side, the fact that a non-playoff driver won gave the other playoff drivers a little breathing room. Very little.
Good on ya, mate
- Bubba Wallace (P1) got his first win in dramatic fashion.
- Brad Keselowksi (P2) really need this finish and he certainly was looking good for a potential win.
- Kurt Busch (P4) showed his car still has speed and he is a contender on the superspeedways. 23XI could have a really good season in 2022.
- Christopher Bell (P6) was a contending driver and needed this win to advance. He won the Daytona Road Course race but will have his work cut out for him at Charlotte.
- Chris Buescher (P6) led 7 laps.
- Kevin Harvick (P8) led 16 laps and has to wonder what he needs to do to win. OK finish but he needed a win or Kyle Busch to wreck out.
- Anthony Alfredo (P10) got his first Top 10.
So you had a bad day.
- Justin Allgaier (P40) was the first guy to get wrecked.
- Tyler Reddick (P39) was the second.
- Alex Bowman (P38) has to win at Charlotte.
- Kyle Larson (P37) was running but just barely. He is now -19 to Hamlin.
- William Byron (P36) also has to win at Charlotte.
- Matt DiBenedetto (P35) led 2 laps and looked to have a car capable of winning.
- Ryan Preece (P32) was the recipient of the closing rate sandwich.
- Kyle Busch (P27) is just 9 pints ahead of Kevin Harvick and the cut off line. Yeesh.
Next! The Charlotte Roval
You couldn’t pick two more difficult tracks that will have a major impact on who transfers. No track is easy but to go from a superspeedway hang-on-for-dear-life kind of race to a technical get-out-of-my-way-slow-poke road course is going to be interesting.
While there have been three races on this course, there are only two winners: Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott. Chase has been the king of road courses the past couple of years and won COTA in May, was second to Kyle Larson at Sonoma and The Glen, and 4th at Indy. He finished 21st at the Daytona Road Course. So it’s good to be Chase at a road course. He is also just 9 points ahead of Harvick so he needs to run really well if he doesn’t win.
Bowman and Byron both have 10 finishes at Charlotte and Bowman finished second in 2019. Byron led 27 laps here in 202, the same as Elliott.
Harvick has just two Top 10 finishes to show. One thing to watch for will be how Harvick and Kyle Busch run against each other and where they start. I expect Harvick may have a slightly better starting position compared to Kyle just based on his Talladega finish.
Kyle Larson may be a real wild card here with his road course wins this year. Another driver to keep your eyes on will be AJ Allmendinger if his team enters the race. He is in a fight for the Xfinity title so he may pass on this one. Stay tuned to see if he enters the race field.
John Wes Townley killed
In a domestic dispute that involved his ex-wife, former NASCAR driver Townley was shot and killed. It was not his first run in with the law regarding his marriage and he and his wife and recently completed their divorce.
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