What a difference a half a year makes! A little over six months ago, we had a lot to write about after the race at Talladega. Seems that a mostly unknown rookie almost won a Cup race at Talladega. That man was Regan Smith. Without rehashing the whole ordeal, in short, Regan was forced below …
With Talladega in the rear-view mirror, the Sprint Cup Series turns to the cozier confines of Richmond International Raceway and good ol’ fashioned short tracking this week. But while the Series’ last downforce race at Phoenix offered a glimpse of who you’d expect to contend in Virginia’s capital, don’t discount what happened last Sunday. With more than half of the top 12 in the standings involved in wrecks, the wild-card race at Talladega certainly managed to throw a wrench into the momentum of some contenders. The “Big One” doesn’t discriminate whenever it chooses its victims … and the hangover from those nasty crashes can last a couple of weeks if teams aren’t careful. With that in mind, who’s ready to vault towards fantasy perfection at the track many call perfect for racing? Short-tracking on a Saturday night is always cause to put a smile on race fans’ faces… and with the help of the Frontstretch Insiders, this weekend will be all the more enjoyable for you and your fantasy lineup.
Brad Keselowski won in just his fifth career Sprint Cup start at Talladega this past weekend. With Mark Martin now contemplating staying in the No. 5 – a ride many expect Keselowski to inherit – in 2010 and possibly beyond, what does Keselowski’s Cup Series future hold?
In four years of covering the NASCAR beat, I never “officially” met David Poole. But you don’t have to know him to understand. The word is beloved, and the year is 2006. I’m asked to speak for a documentary about the past, present, and future of NASCAR. The producer, a friend, chooses three writers to be his main analysts; David Poole and I are among the chosen few. The day he interviews Poole down in Charlotte, I get a call. “You won’t believe what happened,” he says.
As you may have noticed, much of the action that many have become accustomed to in NASCAR has been absent over the last few weeks. Matt Kenseth winning back-to-back races was nice, and it surely did many good to see Mark Martin back in victory lane. For the most part, however, this has been a lackluster season, with little to rally around or get up in arms about. Enter Talladega.
The wild card that is restrictor-plate racing at Talladega certainly mixed up our rankings as much as it mixed up the standings. The Big Ones led to big changes for our experts, as multiple drivers received first-place votes and just two of 15 stayed in the same position that they occupied last week. The race ended with a first-time winner in victory lane this weekend… and when the dust settled on this week’s poll, there was a first-time member on our list, too. Read on to see if your driver survived Sunday’s roller coaster ride, landing firmly in this week’s edition of the Frontstretch Power Rankings.
Last year Brian France told everyone that he wanted to see more emotion out of the drivers. The fans wanted to see that drivers were human and actually got excited about their sport. The sanitized, corporate pitch men were supposed to be replaced by passionate racers who were out there for the love of the …
At first, it seemed after a series of Big Ones it was the usual suspects who would rise to the front at the end. Ryan Newman and Dale Earnhardt Jr. almost fulfilled that prophecy, creating their two-car breakaway during the final restart of the Aaron’s 499. But just when you thought they had it won… something unexpected actually happened in the Sprint Cup Series, as the two-car tandem of Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski blew by them on the white-flag lap. And after using some brilliant strategy, it was none other than Keselowski who scored his first Cup win, handed owner James Finch his first, and assisted in one of the wildest, scariest crashes ever.
Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR and all of our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Sprint Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members and car owners themselves. This week, here’s a special Nationwide Series peek at what the drivers were thinking following the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway.
1 – Career Cup win for car owner James Finch after Brad Keselowski’s trip to victory lane on Sunday.