Sunday, May 6, 2012

Rating the Aaron's 499: 4 Stars ****

After weeks of so much green-flag racing that people got nervous when they saw water bottles on the track, the Sprint Cup Series stormed through Talladega Superspeedway and came out with just 24 cars running at the end. Although it was a good race, there have been better races at Talladega. Sunday’s race gets a 4 Star Rating.
Brad Keselowski showed once again that he is perhaps the young NASCAR driver with the most potential to be a Cup champion. The guy is a master at saving fuel, he doesn’t back down when the race is on the line and he simply outfoxed Kyle Busch to win Sunday’s race.
Ever since Keselowski sent Carl Edwards flying into the fence to end the 2009 spring race at Talladega, the finishes at that track have had a predictable, albeit very exciting, ending. Two cars break away from the pack, the lead driver then tries to block but the second-place driver makes a move and passes the leader for the win.
All of the ingredients were in place for a similar finish Sunday. Keselowski and Busch burst from the pack on the final green-white-checkered restart and they were the only two with a realistic chance of winning.
However, once they got to Turn 3 on the final lap Keselowski pre-empted Busch’s move by moving to the bottom lane and breaking their two-car push. Busch then didn’t have a partner to help him make a move, and Keselowski cruised to the win.
Keselowski now has two wins on the season and sits 12th in the points. His two wins nearly guarantee he will make the Chase for the second year in a row, but his ability to run well on several different types of tracks – he also won at Bristol in March – makes him a likely candidate to be in the top 10 in points by the time the Chase starts.
Plus, he runs well enough at the current Chase tracks to legitimately contend for the title.
The rest of the race was rather clean for a Talladega event, especially compared to the mayhem of the ARCA and Nationwide races earlier in the weekend.
Many of the drivers grew frustrated about having to monitor their water temperatures throughout the race, but NASCAR jumped in with both feet when it made changes to break up the two-car drafts. It won’t back down from that very easily, but officials might have to consider opening the cooling system restrictions for the July race at Daytona when it will likely be hotter than Sunday.
People will forever debate the merits of restrictor-plate racing, whether it is proper racing or what style of racing they prefer. But, Sunday’s race had a more similar feel to restrictor-plate races during the Dale Earnhardt era. He didn’t have to contend with the cooling system restrictions, but the ability to pass in the pack Sunday was better than the old pack style of racing.
Remember, back in the day fans and drivers alike complained after every race about some aspect of the racing. Sometimes it was too hard to pass, other times it was that the rules allowed teams with junk cars to race along with the traditional front-runners.
Whatever the case, that is just part of restrictor-plate racing and it will likely forever be that way. Like it or not, that’s part of its charm. People talk about restrictor-plate races for weeks after they are over. That doesn’t happen for races at places such as Fontana or Kansas. Overall, restrictor-plate races are some of the most exciting on the schedule. Period.
With all of that said, the next race track is pretty darn good. A 500-mile race at Darlington Raceway is one of the ever more precious major tests for drivers. The Lady in Black will beat the tar out of a driver who isn’t up to the challenge.
With Darlington and Charlotte on the schedule for the rest of the month, May should have some of the best racing of the season to date.
Have a great week, everybody.

1 comment:

  1. Darlington raceway is really good for new racers .it provides 500 mile race at this track for new drivers to check skill power.

    Race Track