NASCAR removing Talladega as elimination race makes no sense


I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t understand, especially on the heels of what we saw Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, as to why NASCAR is switching the dates of the Kansas Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway races in the Chase in 2017.

Next year, it will be Kansas that is an elimination race, and not Talladega.

From what I’ve picked up from the grapevine is that it was switched because of a lot of lobbying by a handful drivers for NASCAR to switch the dates.

I’m totally disappointed that NASCAR gave in and made the switch. At the end of the day, I don’t know what else you could ask to have in a race.

Now sure, Joey Logano wasn’t in a must-win situation but naturally winning secured his moving onto the Round of 8. Then you had Denny Hamlin on to the next round by beating Kurt Busch to the finish line by only .006 seconds. Conversely, we had another driver eliminated from the Chase when Austin Dillon was edged out by Aric Almirola for eighth place by only half a car length.

Why would you want to change that type of excitement and drama?

For many years, the Chevrolets of Hendrick Motorsports owned Daytona and Talladega. You just knew if you were going to sit on the pole or pull into Victory Lane, you were going to have to beat a Hendrick Motorsports car to do it. That’s simply no longer the case as Team Penske has become the king of the restrictor-plate tracks.

Sunday was the third consecutive restrictor-plate race where Ford driver Brad Keselowski had led the most laps. Other than a piece of trash on his grille and overheating one too many times, everyone else was forced to race for second behind Brad. Obviously, the good news for Team Penske was his teammate Joey Logano finished off what Brad started.

Logano’s win marks four out of the last five restrictor-plate races that Team Penske has won. So, I promise you they are thrilled there is at least one restrictor-plate race in the Chase.

As I always say, I love restrictor-plate racing because it’s the great equalizer and it gives certain drivers a chance to get up there and be noticed. It levels the playing field to a great extent.

What a dismal year it has been for Richard Petty Motorsports, so it was nice to see what a great day they had with Brian Scott finishing second and Aric Almirola finishing eighth. What a huge day that had to be for the entire operation.

Roush-Fenway Racing also really hasn’t had a stellar year by any stretch of the imagination, so it was good to see the No. 17 of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. come home fifth Sunday, as well.

I know a lot of folks are going to be unhappy with what three of the Joe Gibbs Racing drivers did, but I can’t and won’t fault them in the least. They did exactly what they needed to do.

If another organization was in the same position and did the exact same thing that JGR did at Talladega, well you know what, shame on them for not doing it. This is about winning a championship and I do no fault them for what they did.

I also never would have believed that Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr., two drivers who won four races apiece this year, would both be eliminated from the Chase due to engine failures. I would wager that with neither driver advancing, especially Truex, there were a lot of busted Chase brackets after Talladega.