Sunday, October 7, 2012

Rating the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500: 5 Stars *****

The annual crazy race of the Chase lived up to the hype this time with the most lead changes of the season, large pack racing and a massive crash on the final lap. The final restrictor-plate race of the season gets a 5 Star Rating.
The majority of the race Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway was actually extremely clean. Carl Edwards, Cole Whitt and Joey Logano got in an early wreck and Jamie McMurray spun out to cause the green-white-checkered finish, but that was the extent of the damage.
Until the final turn of the final lap.
Casey Mears, who had a strong car all day, gave Michael Waltrip, who was irrelevant until the final lap, the mother of all pushes through Turn 3 and the pair was headed to the lead. But then Tony Stewart saw them coming, tried to block and ended up setting off a 25-car wreck.
Needless to say, the race ended there. Matt Kenseth was ahead of the wreck and drove off for the win. Jeff Gordon finished second, but he was 15th or worse when the wreck began. For once he was on the receiving end of some good luck, and it kept him on the edge of championship contention.
Like it or not, that’s what happens at restrictor-plate tracks. The field was four-wide at least six rows deep nearly the entire two laps of the final restart. That is incredibly exciting to watch, but it would be a miracle for the field to make it back around without some sort of incident. It’s already amazing they made it to the final lap without a wreck.
Since the Sprint Cup Series was at a restrictor-plate track, let’s go ahead and discuss the style of racing. The cool temperatures should’ve helped the cooling issues the cars tend to experience after the offseason rule changes to restrict air flow to the engine, but nobody was able to push for more than a lap, if even that far.
The race actually felt more like the old style of restrictor-plate pack racing than any race since the drivers discovered the two-car draft in 2008 and 2009. Drivers were able to pass for the lead (there were 54 lead changes), and the field never got strung out despite a couple of green-flag pit stops.
This was the last race of the current car model, but early indications are the new model in 2013 will produce similar, if not better, racing. But we’ll find out about that in February at Daytona. For now, the Chase drivers will focus on the final six races of the Chase and how to catch Brad Keselowski, who extended his lead to 14 points over Jimmie Johnson.
Next up is Charlotte Motor Speedway for a Saturday night race. It’s the fifth race in the Chase, and this is the point where drivers start to get eliminated from championship contention either mathematically or practically. Johnson wrecked in this race last year to end his hopes of a sixth-straight title.
Either way, the racing at Charlotte is usually pretty entertaining. It might be some of the best intermediate track racing we see the rest of the season.
Have a great week, everybody.

4 comments:

  1. 5 stars? seriously, did you turn this on with the last 3 laps left and excited to see those mangled wrecks? this race was a 3 at best. jayski must be desperate linking to you off their article page

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  2. Pretty interesting that the amount of excitement is governed by the number and size of wrecks.

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  3. 499 miles of mindnumbing boredom followed by one mile of "excitement" does not make a 5 star race. It was a horrible race and I expect the crowd to be even smaller next year and the TV ratings will drop except for the last lap.

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  4. 499 miles of mindnumbing boredom followed by one mile of "excitement" does not make a 5 star race. It was a horrible race and I expect the crowd to be even smaller next year and the TV ratings will drop except for the last lap.

    ReplyDelete