I probably should have given my take on Sunday’s CampingWorld.com 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway yesterday. After all, it was still fresh on the mind, then, just a day removed from the race. But I’m not sure I knew what to feel yet. Or maybe I was hoping it was just some kind of nightmare, and I just hadn’t woken up yet. Well, it’s Tuesday, now. Apparently, it was real, and there’s just no getting around it. I don’t think burying my head in the sand and pretending it just didn’t happen is an option, either. So, here it goes.
There were so many issues with the end of the Talladega race. Where do I start?
First there was the green-white-checker restart, or restarts. Was that really only one green-white-checker or was it actually two, despite NASCAR’s Talladega rule modification to only attempt one for safety’s sake?
I guess I get the GWC debacle. I guess the debate there hinges on exactly when a restart starts. If a restat isn’t official until the leader crosses the start/finish line that first attempt wasn’t an official attempt, so I guess I can give NASCAR that one.
Problem with Sunday’s race, though, is that’s the most clear of the questions raised on Sunday, or at least it was, perhaps, the least controversial oddity of the nightmare. And that’s about as clear as mud.
Then there was the “official” GWC and the caution that ended the race. I get the confusion over Joey Logano being declared the winner over Dale Earnhardt Jr. Most fans go by what they see on TV. And the understandable delay between the actual time of caution and the time it takes a human working for NBC Sports to signify a caution to the TV audicence made it look on the TV broadcast like Earnhardt was slightly ahead of Logano when the caution came out. What we have to keep in mind, though, is the TV indication of a caution isn’t official. It’s NASCAR that officially puts out the caution. I get the issue there. When the caution “officially” came out, Logano was still ahead.
Okay, I take back whas I said before; the leader at time of the race-ending caution is the least controversial aspect of this whole mess. But for some watching home on TV, that one’s also about as clear as mud.
Here’s the real rub. Was it intentional or not? And I think you know exactly what I mean by “it” — the final big one that ended the race. Did Kevin Harvick intentionally cause the final “big one” to end the race, knowing there wouldn’t be another green-white-checker attempt?
Motive was definitely there. He had a sick engine, to put it lightly. If the race ran for two green-flag laps, Harvick definitely wouldn’t have made it — to the finish of the race in the position in which he was running at the time, nor to the third round of the Chase.
I’m not sure I can make a determination one way or another whether Harvick intentionally caused that last wreck to secure his Chase advancement. Harvick was adamant that it was accidental, that he was trying to get out of the way. But, it was beyond convenient, wasn’t it?
I don’t know if this is all because of the Harvick incident, itself, or the culmination of everthing that happened at the end of the race on Sunday, but this seems even worse that Richmond “spin-gate” circa 2013, doesn’t it?
To borrow from last week’s “Back to the Future Day,” if only we could go back in time and prevent this whole debacle from even happening. I know that’s not really possible, but a girl can dream, can’t she?
Maybe Sunday is a valid argument for Talladega not being in the Chase. I’m not for Talladega losing one of its dates, or anything like that. I just think maybe the fall date should be moved. I’ve felt that way for awahile, but my reasoning sure has changed since Sunday. My reasoning for taking Talladega out of the Chase used to be because it was too much of a wild card. Now, I think it should be moved to avoid the big mess we witnessed on Sunday. If it can’t be moved from the Chase, at least don’t make it an elimination race.
When should that second ‘Dega date be? I don’t know. One thing of which I am sure — it seems a majority of us want a road course in the Chase. Maybe that’s where that potential road course Chase race should go.
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