Australia. If there was any road to success on Sunday, it was to be a native of Australia. Perth-born Daniel Ricciardo led from start to finish to claim the Monaco Grand Prix. At Indianapolis, Toowoomba’s own Will Power kissed the bricks and drank the milk. Unfortunately, the last Aussie to drive a Cup car was Tasmanian Marcus Ambrose four years ago.
Now it gets real. There is no argument as to whom the contenders are, and who are the pretenders. Say what you will, but even though there might be forty cars on the track, only 16 matter.
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.
Some of the changes are interesting. Moving the season-ending event matters not, as Homestead has never become an iconic event in most minds anyway. Adding a third short track is good. Keeping the roval in Charlotte as part of the mix is fine. Adding some tradition with the Southern 500 becoming even more meaningful actually comes across as a fine idea.
I believe one certain guy would agree with me “that was awesome, Bill from Dawsonville!” Watkins Glen was damned entertaining right from the start, thanks to the action and thanks to the best broadcast crew in the business.
Back in 1949, Martinsville was a dirt track. Fifteen cars started the 100 lap event in the opening year of what was to become the Cup series. Red Byron won it in a 1949 Oldsmobile. A brand new car. In those days, there was little modifications done in the strictly stock division.
Bristol is not Las Vegas, Phoenix, Fort Worth or Charlotte. There are reasons to go to the Virginia-Tennessee border. The country is beautiful. On Sunday, it appears a lot of people were taking in the scenery. They sure in hell were not at the race track.
Talladega was a ratings bust. Talladega. For fans who follow the sport, those four Stewart-Haas cars up front, doing what they had to do all day long, was something to behold. For those who simply tune in to watch incredible action, they had to wait for the final 20 laps for the payoff. However, they had to have tuned in to witness either. They did not even bother. That is troublesome.
Domination and elimination was the story from Michigan on Sunday afternoon. Kevin Harvick dominated and eliminated everyone else from view. He dominated the opening stage. He overcame another pit road miscue that cost him five spots between stages, but he eliminated the danger to come back to claim that, too.
After Texas, then there were two locked into Homestead. One stole the show at Martinsville and then attempted to deny the second his ticket. Joey Logano failed to pull it off as he wound up third. Ryan Blaney had something to showcase and he had his moments. Not enough of them, as he had to settle for second.