Restrictor plate racing is not necessarily racing; it's more like dancing. So many elements are out of one's control, and you have to rely on your partner or partners to get the best finish possible. Talladega, especially, is known for this.
Sunday's race was yet another indication of that, and it's well known that one doesn't win this race. One really doesn't even finish this race. Truthfully, one simply survives it, and one survives it enough to see the checkered flag before anyone else.
That is exactly what happened. There were a couple big wrecks, as has been expected, and many favorites were taken out in each of them. There was spectacular racing for the entire event, often being two and three-wide from the front row to nearly the tail end. Some drivers fell back, others wanted to stay out front. It was a typical race one would expect to see at Talladega.
The eventual winner, although not one that is normally expected to win at this track, got a bit of revenge. Denny Hamlin started this race a year ago, but yielded to Brian Vickers due to injury. Earlier this year, he felt dizzy before California, and was not medically cleared to race. Turns out a piece of metal in his eye was giving him migraines, meaning he would not get any points that afternoon.
However, when the checkered flag waved on a Sunday afternoon, Hamlin was the first to the line, and punched his ticket to this year's Chase.
No writer picked a win this week, and in fact many did not fair very well. Only two finished in the top-15, and just one was able to secure a top-five run. But, as unpredictable as this track can be, just being able to finish is a strong day for anyone. Here's where everyone shakes out after the Aaron's 499:
Kara Martin (359) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 26th - 2
Dustin Parks (351) Kevin Harvick finished 7th - 1
Ryan O'Hara (346) Matt Kenseth finished 37th - 3
Michael Hirshbein (343) Kyle Busch finished 12th - 1
Rob Tiongson (311) Jeff Gordon finished 39th - 1
Sal Sigala Jr (307) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 26th - 2
Patti Rodisch (304) Jeff Gordon finished 39th - 1
Rob Blount (299) Tony Stewart finished 43rd - 1
Billy Fellin (292) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 26th - 0
Aaron Rosser (291) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 26th - 1
Misan Akuya (262) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 26th - 0
James Broomhead (243) Jimmie Johnson finished 23rd - 1
Next Race: It is normal to always think a tornado comes through Talladega each time these drivers compete. Some teams get out with no damage, others come out with a few dented fenders but otherwise are strong, and others must scrap the car to rebuild. Twisters often take out a lot of things, and cause a lot of devastation. For NASCAR, their next trip is an area that is so famous for being in an area where tornadoes hit, and even include one in a famous movie.
Upcoming for NASCAR is yet another Saturday night shootout, but unlike Richmond, this track is hosting a night race for the first time. Don't expect a wicked witch or some flying monkeys when these cars hit the track, but someone is going to end up looking for Oz.
Kansas Speedway welcomes NASCAR this Saturday night, so writers, you must follow your own yellow brick road and have your picks in by Thursday, May 8, at 10 p.m. ET for the 5-Hour Energy 400.