During a week when the sport was mourning a loss in its Royal Family, the family race team shone through. Richard Petty Motorsports honored their boss’s wife Lynda, who passed away last week, in the best way a racer can: by putting together a great performance on track. Marcos Ambrose led 22 laps en route to a top-five run Sunday, his best result ever at Martinsville. Meanwhile, driving an STP-sponsored car that harkened back to the days of Richard Petty behind the wheel, Aric Almirola drove from a 20th-place start to finish eighth. Somewhere, the Queen, “Mrs. Lynda,” is smiling.
Looking for the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How behind Sunday’s race? Amy Henderson has you covered with each week with the answers to six race-day questions, covering all five Ws and even the H… the Big Six. Who… gets my shoutout of the race? It shouldn’t have been unexpected. Anyone who didn’t think Dale …
NASCAR used all of the tools at their disposal to restart the race and run it to the advertised distance of 499 miles, plus a few more, rather than calling it when the red flag flew for rain on lap 124. That threw out a ho-hum finish, turned it wild and gave the Davids a chance to beat up on Goliath.
What is there to say that’s positive about a type of racing where one driver makes a small mistake and a dozen or more others pay the price? Talladega, along with Daytona, is the epitome of what racing should not be: artificially restricted power that allows no throttle response, huge crashes that destroy a dozen or more innocent bystanders, drivers not racing for most of the race because it doesn’t matter until the last few laps. Yes, the finishes are close, but is a close finish worth watching a race just waiting for the inevitable Big One and wondering who will get taken out this time?
Brian Vickers spun in turn three on lap 396 to bring out the final caution flag of the night. It brought most of the field to the pits, scrambling the running order and cost Juan Pablo Montoya his first win on an oval.
The thing about Brad Keselowski that makes him a threat every place on the circuit is that he doesn’t let any racetrack beat him. You can’t look at past finishes and think, “Hey, a rival could really have a great day, because Keselowski isn’t that good here.” No sooner will the thought be formed than Keselowski will go out and prove it to be wrong by posting a stronger finish than he’s ever had before. That, really, is what makes him scary good, and a threat to win every time out. Sure, he’ll have his bad luck, but that rarely indicates a trend. Prior to his back-to-back Bristol wins (fall ’11 and spring ’12), Keselowski hadn’t even cracked the top 10 in three Cup races there, posting a best finish of 13th. Now, he’s a top pick. And he can do that anywhere.
Some things in life are simply unavoidable: clocks strike 12 daily, there’s always somebody at the traffic light who forgot what the accelerator is for, breakfast foods are somehow the most boring and exciting menu items at the same time. And NASCAR may take a winter hiatus; however, our favorite sport always returns before we …
For possibly the first time ever, Dale Earnhardt Jr. snuck up for a good finish. Usually, it’s impossible for Earnhardt to fly under the radar in a race. But this week, with the spotlight on his teammate and his former employee running for the Cup, Earnhardt did just that, finishing 10th after running mid-pack for most of the day.
Jeff Gordon was among the drivers who pitted on a quick caution on lap 155. In the end, it resulted in the No. 24 having enough fuel to make it to the finish when Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. had to pit from the front of the field. Gordon ended the night taking the first win for Hendrick Motorsports at Homestead-Miami Speedway while his teammate Jimmie Johnson sat in his car in the garage, having lost the championship due to a faulty rear end.
It used to be the greatest indictment of NASCAR after a controversial event was that it was “becoming just like big-time wrestling.” Which after this weekend’s fracas at Phoenix International Raceway I say, “FINALLY.” Let’s be honest. Wrestling is awesome. Back in the late 1990s when NASCAR was in its heyday and being thrust into …