Parks Pit Report: GEICO 500

Keselowski had the best car all day, but in typical Talladega fashion, it was anything but a typical afternoon.

Keselowski had the best car all day, but in typical Talladega fashion, it was anything but a typical afternoon.

There are two weekends in the NASCAR season that I literally look at and say prayers before the race.  Now that may sound weird because there is an invocation before the action begins, but I do this on my own.

Talladega is the one place that I have said ever since this column began that I loathe.  It’s not just the racing, but it is more importantly the unknown.

At plate tracks, so much of what happens during the race is out of the actual driver’s hands.  It is about trusting not just the spotter on the roof, but also the drivers in front, the sides, in back, and even those at the very back to do what is the right move at the right time.

However, when the threat of weather arrives and the thinking of the action will only make it halfway through the event, the trust ultimately gets cut in half because the race isn’t to 188 laps, the scheduled distance, but rather to lap 95.

But even so, the trust factor lingers, and at one point, the only person a driver can trust is the one strapped into that seat.

What that does is it means 40 different drivers could potentially have 40 different ideas, and that would mean 40 scenarios for the ultimate wreck.  On Sunday, things did eventually get to that point where not just one, but three, cars saw their tires come off the ground and go for either a tumble or a slide on the metal of the side of the car.  That’s three more than what should be seen on any typical weekend, especially with the advances in safety such as how large the roof flaps are on these cars now.

I absolutely get scared at this track.  Not just worried, I mean scared.  In 2010, I was at this track where there were 88 lead changes, a record that still stands today, but I also saw frightening incidents that still saw drivers walk away, but look potentially worse.

At this point, my feeling on Talladega is never going to change:  respect it, but fear it.  Until I see a race at this place that doesn’t see cars wrecking because of someone getting too eager, or making too drastic a move, that is exactly how I will feel about the 2.66-mile beast of a race track.

RESULTS:  1-Keselowski  2-Kyle Busch  3-Dillon  4-McMurray  5-Elliott  6-Stewart  7-Bowyer  8-Kurt Busch  9-Blaney  10-Bayne

NOTABLE FINISHES:  15-Harvick  22-Johnson  25-Logano  31-Hamlin  35-Edwards  40-Earnhardt Jr.

CAUTIONS:  10 for 41 laps.  Lap 51-57 (#88, 83, 5 Accident-BS); 60-62 (#13, 43, 55 Accident-T3); 97-102 (#34, 35, 48, 46, 19, 1, 3 Accident-BS); 111-115 (#88, 19 Accident-T1); 129-133 (#5 Accident-T4); 153-155 (Fluid On Track); 162-166 (#78, 3, 47, 1, 95, 7, 42, 48, 27, 31, 44, 35, 10, 41, 18, 38, 43, 21, 16, 11, 17 Accident-T1); 170-171 (Debris-T2); 182-185 (#20, 10, 43, 22, 95, 15, 16, 27, 21, 4, 38, 32 Accident-BS); 188-188 (#47, 4, 17, 98, 78, 32, 38 Accident-FS).

LEAD CHANGES:  37 among 17 drivers.  C. Elliott 1-13; M. Kenseth 14-28; C. Elliott 29-38; M. Waltrip 39; Kyle Busch 40-51; A. Almirola 52; A. Allmendinger 53; D. Ragan 54-55; M. Waltrip 56; M. Kenseth 57-71; B. Keselowski 72-82; D. Hamlin 83; B. Keselowski 84; D. Hamlin 85-88; B. Keselowski 89-96; D. Patrick 97-99; K. Harvick 100-102; C. Elliott # 103-106; K. Harvick 107-108; T. Bayne 109-115; K. Harvick 116-117; T. Bayne 118; K. Harvick 119-120; T. Bayne 121-128; B.
Labonte 129; R. Newman 130; C. Whitt 131; T. Bayne 132-135; K. Larson 136-137; T. Bayne 138; K. Larson 139-145; M. Kenseth 146-152; B. Labonte 153; M. Kenseth 154-155; T. Bayne 156; B. Keselowski 157-165; J. Logano 166-171; B. Keselowski 172-188.

TIME OF RACE:  3 Hrs, 34 Mins, 15 Secs.

AVERAGE SPEED:  140.046 MPH

MARGIN OF VICTORY:  Under Caution

CHASE GRID:  1. Kyle Busch-342 (points), 2 (Wins); 2. Edwards-337, 2; 3. Johnson-329, 2; 4. Keselowski-300, 2; 5. Harvick-351, 1; 6. Hamlin-269, 1; 7. Logano, -35 (from 1st-Harvick); 8. Kurt Busch, -39; 9. Earnhardt Jr, -72; 10. Truex Jr, -77; 11. Dillon, -79; 12. Elliott, -80; 13. McMurray, -90; 14. Allmendinger, -119; 15. Kenseth, -120; 16. Bayne, -120.

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