If you watch Talladega racing at all, you know that just about anyone can win the event due to the style of racing. If you watched on Sunday, Kyle Busch was probably not one of the drivers you picked to win. He wasn’t racing in the Top 10 most of the day and the field was bunched up about as tight as you could make it.
But this is Talladega and weird things do happen. After a couple of smallish late wrecks, the field went to OT and Busch and team gambled by staying out which turned out to be the race winning move. On the final restart, Bubba Wallace was still fighting to stay in the lead with Ryan Blaney and Aric Almirola. Almirola had been a great pushing partner for Blaney who led a race high 47 laps. As they came off the last turn, Wallace decided to not only block, but to triple block Blaney. Wallace had a car that was pretty squirrely to begin with and all it took was a slight touch of the bumpers to send Wallace spinning and allow a surprised Kyle Busch to overtake Blaney for the win.
Overall, the race as pretty tame with two bizarre spinouts on pit road as drivers made late decisions to pit and came close to wrecking everyone around them as they spun on pit road. Not only were they stupid moves, but a pit road spin is also very dangerous with all the crews waiting for their drivers to pit. Tyler Reddick and Chase Briscoe deserve raspberries for those bone head moves.
While Chevy got the win, Ford had five of the Top 10 positions wrapped up and only the Toyota of Christopher Bell made the Top 10. Chevy also grabbed eight of the Top 15 positions. But if you look at the driver point standing right now, Toyota and Chevy each have four teams in the Top 10.
Things of note: When is Ryan Blaney going to win?
Blaney is one of my guys, I really like the guy and his demeanor. It sure looked like he had this race locked up until Bubba ran out of track and patience. This wasn’t a run out of talent issue because you really do have to keep yourself up front at these races. I do have to question the wisdom of wrecking and finishing 28th or letting Blaney have the win and finish second or third. Blaney is good friends with Bubba and he even called out the wisdom of blocking with the new race package. But NASCAR has created this style of racing so the drivers just have to adjust to it.
In the ten races so far, Blaney has 5 Top Five and 2 Top Ten finishes which is just good enough to put him eighth in points. While no one has more Top Five finishes, leader Christopher Bell, for example, has 2 DNFs but also 7 Top Ten finishes. THAT stat is where you make the money.
Blaney isn’t Mr. Dover either, so he’ll be looking to beat his average finish of 13th. Stay out of trouble, get a decent but not great finish and move on to Kansas.
Next up: Dover
Chase Elliott is the defending race winner and Team Hendrick has won the last two races here and three of the last six. Kyle Larson is ranked as the best driver since 2020 but Kevin Harvick has a win and four Top 10 finishes in the same time period. Alex Bowman has a win plus stays in the Top 5 pretty frequently. Noticing a trend here?
Martin Truex Jr. has three wins at Dover but just one and three runner up finishes here since 2020 nor did he crack the Top 10 in his last two appearances. Teammate Denny Hamlin has shown some speed this year and has a 2020 win at Dover but has been rather uneven and often still has pit issues.
Joey Logano runs pretty well at intermediate tracks but hasn’t been all that great at Dover lately. With that said, you can never count Joey out. If they hit the setup, he could be doing the celebratory burnout this week.
Drive fast, turn left and keep the shiny side up. Be sure to leave your thoughts about Talladega below in the comments section.
(Featured Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing