Fall is in the air as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series trekked into Alabama this weekend for its second visit to Talladega Superspeedway of 2017. On the upside, at least there weren’t any cars in the air this time around. However, Talladega still chewed ’em up and spit em out faster than you can say “the Big One.” After a bevy of crash-related yellow flags (and three red ones), the pack of cars left undamaged probably could have all rode back to Charlotte in one hauler.
Brad Keselowski managed to weave his way through the carnage and score yet another win. The victory, his fifth at Talladega, locked up his place in the next round of the playoffs and cemented his status as the driver to beat when the restrictor plates are handed out.
Now that the smoke has cleared and all the debris has been swept up, it’s time for our contributors to assess where everyone stands. A race at Talladega is essentially like dropping the field into a blender and seeing who gets diced the least. So who did we think snuck out with their momentum intact? Whose playoff dreams got carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey? Take a look and let us know what you think.
How the Rankings Are Calculated: Frontstretch does our power rankings similar to how the Associated Press does them for basketball or football. Our expert stable of NASCAR writers, both on staff and from other major publications, will vote for the top 10 on a 10-9-8-7… 3-2-1 basis, giving 10 points to their first-place driver, nine for second and so on. In the end, Frank Velat calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners and… here you go!
The No. 78 team has been hitting its stride in the postseason, but the only thing that Truex hit at Talladega was the wall. – Bryan Gable, Frontstretch
First-Place Votes: 5
While the No. 42 team didn’t get the win, it can take pride in being one of the four playoff teams that actually finished the grueling race at Talladega. – Rob Tiongson, The Podium Finish
It’s odd that some fans threw beer cans onto the track after the race. I almost expected him to get out and find a full one to chug. – Frank Velat, Frontstretch
A few weeks ago, he didn’t win and some said he wasn’t aggressive enough. On Sunday, he failed to win and some said he was too aggressive. Either way, he can’t win. He literally can’t win. – Michael Massie, Frontstretch
A playoff contender making it through Talladega without hitting anything? That’s almost as good as a win. – Velat
The No. 18 team no longer has plenty of points, so Busch better hope that he still has plenty of speed. – Gable
He’s on the bubble right now. I wonder if he has any experience racing with a lot on the line. – Massie
The whole point of people wearing fluorescent orange and camo is to avoid getting hit. That didn’t work so well. – Velat
A stage victory for Blaney coupled with his strong track history at Kansas may be enough to get the No. 21 into the Round of 8. – Tiongson
The good news is that Kenseth was able to limp to the checkered flag on a day when many other title hopefuls could not. The bad news is that he is still below the cut line. – Gable