By: Becca Cottingham
Headline Photo Credit: NASCAR Twitter Page
We leave three back to back short track racing and head to super speedway racing at Talladega. This is one of the most unknown tracks that NASCAR races at each year. There is generally always a big accident that triggers multiple car accidents. Almost everyone of the Toyota manufactured cars made adjustments prior to the start of the race and fell to the back of the pack.The first stage has been a lot of blocking and pushing with multiple drivers. Bubba Wallace fell back to forty position to start this race and went from last to first without help from the other drivers that he would be in an alliance. We got to the competition caution and just about everyone came in for service. However, watch out for them to possibly stop once more during the stage to get additional fuel to make it to the end of stage. Harrison Burton fueler did not get his can disconnected from the car so he was hit with removal of equipment from the pit. Martin Truex Jr and Ryan Preece both got hit with various other penalties. Joey Gase spins out and brings out a caution. The top twenty four drivers did not come into pit while everyone else came into pit. Kevin Harvick’s team should have pitted as he was advised to save fuel to get to the end of the first stage. Joey Logano,Brad Keslowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, and possibly other drivers got into a stage one last lap accident. Joey Logano ended up in the air and he came down right in front of Bubba Wallace. Thankfully Joey has radioed into his crew that he is okay but the car is destroyed. Matt DiBenedetto won stage one under caution.
We start stage two with most drivers going two wide and in some areas three wide. They will get bold a little later in the stage and bring us four wide. We start seeing green flag pit stops when the pit window opens up for the teams. Chevrolet being one of the largest manufactured groups in the series pits first. During this pit stop they experience some slower pit stops and or penalties on pit road. The Fords and the Toyotas in the past have tended to come together due to them being smaller in numbers. However, the Fords decide to come in by themselves and this breaks up the group on the track. There were multiple pit road penalties across the board and caused drivers to go through pit road at pit road speed. Denny Hamlin has had a great year and fewer pit road penalties until today’s race. He was hit with two back to back penalties due to speeding. While Kurt Busch was out on the track something happened and there was a lot of smoke coming out of the rear of the car. They do not believe his car is blowing up but something may have happened to an oil line. He makes it to pit road and fire starts coming from the front of the car around the tires. This was a much needed caution for multiple drivers that were trying to stay on the lead lap. We get back to green and Kyle Busch has a huge save after Matt DiBenedetto uses a block to try to keep the lead. He pushes Kyle Busch below the yellow line and has to serve a penalty because of the yellow line rule. However, he was not able to keep the lead and the lead changed over to Bubba Wallace. There was another small sized wreck to end stage two that involved multiple drivers including the rest of the Hendrick drivers. We will end stage two under caution and with Bubba Wallace getting his first stage win.
Ryan Blaney will bring us back to green to kick off the last stage of Talladega. Aric Almarilo got around Ryan Blaney and had led some laps. Most drivers stayed in a single file line after Aric started leading the pack. They started breaking out into two lines with a little over forty laps to go which will bring most drivers to the open window for pit stops. They will more than likely push them out a little bit more than just a lap or two into the pit window. Most drivers and teams will be preparing for the possibility of an overtime race. We have ended both stages with crashes and drivers will be given the clear to truly push with around ten to go. Most drivers will wait to make their move closer to five to go. Their spotters will be key with trying to ensure that they have the needed drafting help for whatever driver is going to attempt a move. As several drivers made a huge run towards pit road there was at least one car spinning. They did not get a caution from the spin as NASCAR did not feel they needed to send out equipment. Christopher Bell was leading but because of the lead it is causing him to use more fuel. Since the last stops were so quick they more than likely did not get the car full of gas. As the leader at Talladega you will burn more fuel. A lot of drivers are getting the notice that they need to save fuel as some are just on the bubble. More than likely we will have caution laps that will allow drivers to save some additional fuel. Quin Houff blew a tire right in front of the leaders, but multiple drivers decided to stay out when the yellow came out. With right at twelve laps to go most drivers will be getting the all clear to truly go racing. Three and four wide can be normal through the end of the race. We get a caution right at four to go due to the tire coming apart on Martin Truex Jr. They will be going into a green,white, checkered format for the end of the race. We get back to green flag racing and Brad Keslowski takes over the lead just as they start wrecking behind him. Brad Keslowski is our unofficial winner at Talladega. If he passes inspection and is declared the winner he will tie Dale Earnhardt Jr and another driver six wins at the track.