By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Let me make this clear about Sunday’s Yellawood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, I’m not holding back.
Denny Hamlin wins a long and controversial 200-lap, three-overtime saga by just 0.023 seconds over Matt DiBenedetto and like last August at Bristol, the racing crowd jeered the now 44-time NASCAR Cup Series winner at the expense of Matt D coming up short of a maiden win.
Gutted for DiBenedetto, but that’s just the way life is sometimes. Stuff isn’t meant to be and will have to wait another week to get an opportunity.
That being said, let’s digest this farce of a race as I’ll give my quick takes on this exhausting fall Talladega race.
Scratch the margin of victory between Hamlin and DiBenedetto because the latter got demoted from finishing second to an agonizing 21st place finish for forcing William Byron below the double yellow line in Turn 3, which created an angering ton of chaos (that’s an understatement).
— #NASCARPlayoffs on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) October 4, 2020
DiBenedetto wasn’t the only one who got the penalty hammer after the race as Chase Elliott was also penalized for going below the double yellow line, demoting him to 22nd.
UPDATE: Following Hendrick Motorsports protesting the penalty, NASCAR have rescinded the decision, thus Elliott will be credited with a fifth-place finish. However, Chris Buescher would get a penalty for forcing someone below the double-yellow line, demoting him from sixth to 22nd.
You know what that meant? Guys like Ty Dillon getting third in his final superspeedway race for Germain Racing and Brennan Poole scoring 9th for Rick Ware Racing, the team’s second top-10 ever. In his first Cup start all year, Cody Ware finished 19th for his first top-20 result of his entire measly Cup career. Doing so after being taken out on the backstretch mind you.
Once again, where’s the consistency of the double yellow line rule? How many more times people are going to put up with this nonsense until some serious reconsideration happens?
How the yellow line rule is described in the Cup driver-crew chief meeting: pic.twitter.com/c3TveApajJ
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) October 4, 2020
During the post-race video conference, Scott Miller said DiBenedetto hung a left and Erik Jones said that we’ll see more wrecks if they get rid of the rule.
It’s already a mess! What difference does it make?
Look, I don’t mind the rule’s purpose is to keep everyone safe, but this kind of racing can bring a lot of frustration and emotions from drivers, owners, media and fans alike. It’s just a topic that’ll be debated for years to come and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Red Flag No. 21
It’s been bloody done. The record for the most red flags in a single NASCAR Cup Series season (since 1990) has been broken today following a wild multi-car crash wiping out several drivers.
On Lap 110, the typical bump gone wrong went down coming towards the start/finish line as Clint Bowyer ran into Jimmie Johnson which sent him towards Kurt Busch. From there, all hell broke loose as Kurt was sent towards the outside line and was drilled by Cole Custer, lifting his car up in the air for a few seconds.
A massive pileup on the frontstretch puts us under the red flag. pic.twitter.com/DYMvqiGu09
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) October 4, 2020
Once the chaos finally waned, several drivers’ day was over, including Brendan Gaughan, who was making his final NASCAR start. What a shame because who really knows if this is it for Beard Motorsports as well because they’ve been loyal to the Las Vegas native. All they’ll have to reflect on their last race is just a destroyed No. 62 machine.
Nevertheless, the race was halted for over 10 minutes, but the damage was done. We’ve had our 21st overall stoppage this season and the first since Daytona in late August.
Man, we had a great run going didn’t we?
Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt as Kurt was able to describe his wild ride with ease.
“That’s the nature of this sport. You’re on top one week with a win and everything’s fantastic,” said Kurt. “And then this week here at Talladega, we were hoping for a nice, smooth run and to gain some points. I was just doing my job as a Chevy helper running top-five and next thing you know, I’m going for one of the wildest rides I’ve ever been in.”
Kurt must be glad he doesn’t have to worry about a must-win situation at the ROVAL next Sunday because of his victory at Las Vegas last Sunday.
Red Flag No. 22? Time to Ditch the Race!
GG, NBC for moving the NASCAR race to NBCSN as soon as the red flag came out. I’ll never understand why races need to be later, but this should speak massive volumes why late times isn’t wise when there’s football going on.
Sure, 2:00 p.m. ET is better than 3 or 4 p.m. races, but it’s not a good look to ditch a playoff race.
I know that NFL reigns supreme in sports with over 10+ million (at times way more) folks watching the big games, but what does it say about the network’s care for NASCAR lately? Especially, when it’s a major playoff race that clearly shook up the entire playoff picture with several guys being wiped out from this supespeedway racing chicanery.
Give me a break!
Anyways, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick are among those collected in the crash coming to the white flag. However, the yellow came out before Chase Elliott crossed the line, thus clean up had to be made which led to the 22nd stoppage of 2020.
.@chaseelliott surges to the front, but the field crashes before they take the white flag!
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) October 4, 2020
All three not happy whatsoever because for Logano, he’ll have to have an excellent run at the ROVAL. Then there’s Kyle Busch, who just can’t find any breaks in 2020 and I’m going to say this statement right now:
Kyle will not only miss the next round, but he’ll be the first driver since Dale Earnhardt in 1981 to go an entire season without winning a race in their title defense.
I’ve said it and I’m sticking to it!
Harvick being collected and finishing 20th meant game over for his bid of surpassing Jeff Gordon’s top-10 season record from 2007. He can only tie him at 30, but will need to finish out the rest of the year with a top-10 effort. Otherwise, Gordon still keeps the modern era season record for a 14th straight year.
This race will go down as a total farce and simply weird as hell. Like, what else is new with these superspeedway racing?
There’s nothing else I can say about this 4-plus hour enduring odyssey other than what I just said. Onto the ROVAL next Sunday at 2:30 p.m. on NBC to wrap up the Round of 12.