As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is shifting gears and sets off from Talladega to race 8 of the chase at Texas Motor Speedway next weekend, unfortunately they will do so will heavy hearts as NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter, (whose career in motorsports spanned portions of six decades as both a journalist and public relations professional), died last Friday night in Daytona Beach, Fla. following a 12-month battle with cancer. He was 71. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family.
With that said, this past weekend say plenty of action as Race 7 of the Chase at Talladega Superspeedway proved to be just another wild card in this year’s chase. So here are the top 5 things learned from Talladega.
1. Clint Bowyer survives and win the AMP Energy 500 at Talladega. As the white flag comes out, the Big One happens with A.J. Allmendinger going air born, meanwhile when the caution came out, Clint Bowyer was just a nose in front of his teammate Kevin Harvick and won the race.
2. Pit crews. Isn’t it funny that when Clint Bowyer won today’s race, he won with Harvick’s former #29 pit crew (and a different crew chief). I truly believe that it isn’t just the pit crew that was the problem, but more so the driver Kevin Harvick in that case. And I also believe that Harvick yelling at his crew members over the radio doesn’t help none either. It’s all in how that driver pumps up his crew that’s makes a difference especially with all of these professional pit crews.
But I do feel bad for the former #33 crew as they don’t get to celebrate in victory lane with Clint Bowyer because of the swap.
3. Chase drivers. The top 12 chase drivers had mixed results and top 3 emerge as true contenders with now three races to go in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
As of 5:22pm, Jimmie Johnson finished 7th and is the points leader, Denny Hamlin finishes 9th and is now 2nd in points, –14 behind and Kevin Harvick finishes 2nd and is over 30 points behind.
4. Non-chase drivers find success as well at Talladega. David Reutimann, Juan Montoya, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. all finished in the top 6.
5. Robby Gordon creates new energy drink (SPEED Energy) to sponsor race team. On Friday at Talladega Superspeedway, Robby Gordon introduced a new energy drink that he developed to sponsor his race team.
This one is interesting to me especially considering Gordon use to have Monster Energy drink as a sponsor, however I will give Robby Gordon credit, since many companies are cutting budgets and not sponsoring race teams right now, Gordon decided to create his own sponsorship sort of speak or potential revenue source for his race team. And while there are several energy drinks on the market right now including Monster and AMP, it’s a good idea to at least try and develop something new and if it works, that will be big for him and his racing career.
6. Jamie McMurray ran Dale Earnhardt Bass Pro Shop paint scheme from the 1998 NASCAR All-Star race at Talladega. Honestly, while I really respect the fact that drivers and of course T. Earnhardt (and Richard Childress sometimes as this is an EGR car) wants to run special paint schemes to honor Dale Earnhardt, I really don’t understand this one though. Dale Earnhardt ran this famous paint scheme back in 1998 at Charlotte in the All-Star race, not at Talladega, so why run it here at Talladega? Why not run a black with bright red strip paint scheme with instead of GM Goodwrench on the hood, have Bass Pro Shop on it at Talladega considering 10 years ago was Dale Earnhardt’s last Cup Series victory. I’m just saying especially as a Dale Earnhardt fan.
Note: I realize that so many NASCAR fans, media members, drivers and more circle both Talladega Superspeedway Cup Series races on the calendar because of what they call the excitement factor. However I have to say that in watching most of this 188 lap race, I was so board in watching this race, it wasn’t even funny. I find no real excitement in either Talladega races and that’s just my take. But below I broke the race, headlines and results down as best as possible.
All I can say now is thank you that NASCAR is finally past all four restrictor plate races and the Cup Series drivers can now get down to some real racing especially in who wants the Sprint Cup Championship. The next stop is Texas Motor Speedway with Jeff Gordon and Denny Hamlin among the favorites to win the race.