RPW Exclusive: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: Talladega Is No Wild Card

Column By: JOHN DOUGLAS / RPW – TALLADEGA, AL – This weekend’s NASCAR events at Talladega Superspeedway were looked at as one of the wild card events of NASCAR’s Playoffs before teams arrived for the final restrictor plate event of the 2018 season. For one series that held to be true. For the other however the very face of NASCAR racing on it’s largest stages changed.

Let’s take a look at “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.”

The Good:

Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event was a competitive and intriguing race all day long. The passing fans have come to expect from restrictor plate racing was in full effect. As were the wrecks and tossed in with it? A points battle as we wind down the 2018 season. Those storylines were on full display all day for everyone to see.

Though I don’t always agree with this system and did have certain issues with it on Saturday, the race itself, won by Timothy Peters, was a great example of a properly good restrictor plate event. Yes there was a big one, yes there were late race restarts. The ability of those competing to maneuver and pass each other however, was there and was used.

The Bad:

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a worse race than I saw on Sunday from any American sanctioned racing series. My mind wanders back to statements made post the 2000 Daytona 500 by one Dale Earnhardt. The clip is short and easily found on You Tube for those interested in what that clip contains…

There was no real substance to Sunday’s race. If that’s what it can truly even be called. It was more a single file train led by many blue ovals and few willing or able combatants to oppose them. Only in the last 20 circuits did we see any real substantive racing at the front of the field. For those in the media who have to write post race stories to capture the attention of race fans for the racing action itself. I’m sorry. Your job will be very tough after Sunday’s race.

The Ugly:

As mentioned above. Sunday’s race was a bit of a snore. There’s really no way to paint a pretty picture on what paying race fans who bought a ticket saw on that race track. 14 Ford crew chiefs met in the early hours of Sunday morning to discuss their strategy as if all 14 teams were owned by one person. Ford Motor Company.

They raced as such.

This is undoubtedly a turning point in this sport. It takes the individuality of each owner’s teams and throws it out the window. In its almost communistic approach, the individual did not matter for 185 of 188 laps on Sunday. If a Ford led the way, all other Fords were to work in lock step to protect. At one point 9 of the top ten in the race were wearing the blue oval and three seconds ahead of the rest of the field in a single file line.

Each restart saw the same thing. The four Stewart-Haas Racing machines would file into the bottom lane and as soon as they could make it happen, at least two Penske Fords would be hot on their heels, but never challenging them for position.

As a fan of racing I was not impressed. This vaguely resembled Formula One team orders. It was not a good representation of the sport of Stock Car racing and I for one hope NASCAR reviews what happened on Sunday and deems a 14 crew chief pre-race pow wow an illegal strategy move in the future.

I’ll let Sunday’s racing speak for itself as to why.