The saying in any racing environment is "it's not over until it's over," and that certainly can be said on Saturday night for the Sprint Cup Series.
A late caution and different strategies made for a unique situation, especially considering the final caution led to a green-white-checkered finish. In a race that saw many top contenders taken out early, it all came down to who could hold on for just two laps, or who could make the move to the front in just a short period of time.
It turned out, a move that usually is reserved to win with restricted power was what won it.
Kevin Harvick took the restart like a rocket, gaining five spots before completing the second turn, and went after his teammate Jeff Burton entering the third turn. In the course of just one lap, from seventh to first, and no looking back.
On this night, "Happy" lived up to his other monicre that he gained just a few years ago...The Closer.
Unfortunately, no one made the choice to go with the No. 29 this week. In fact, only two managed top-10 finishes, barely making it in. For the most part, it was a tough go for the Pool participants this week.
Take a look at the results after the Toyota Owners 400:
Patti Rodisch (350) Jimmie Johnson finished 12th (0)
Rob Tiongson (315) Kyle Busch finished 24th (1)
Billy Fellin (310) Kyle Busch finished 24th (1)
Rob Blount (302) Kyle Busch finished 24th (1)
Dustin Parks (295) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 10th (0)
Ryan O'Hara (288) Jimmie Johnson finished 12th (0)
Michael Hirshbein (278) Kyle Busch finished 24th (2)
Kara Martin (277) Kyle Busch finished 24th (0)
Sal Sigala Jr. (275) Kyle Busch finished 24th (0)
Kelly Crandall (259) Kyle Busch finished 24th (0)
Christopher Leone (241) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 10th (0)
James Broomhead (238) Kyle Busch finished 24th (0)
Misan Akuya (228) Ryan Newman finished 15th (0)
Next Race: There were fireworks between many drivers at the end of Richmond, some shouting, others taking it out on the cars. The advantage at a short track is you can take out one guy and likely that is the only casualty. Try doing that at the next race, and casualties could hit double digits.
At 2.66 miles in length, and with 33 degrees of banking in the corners, it's the biggest and steepest track NASCAR sees every year. The restrictor plates return, and the fear increases.
Ladies and gentleman...this is Talladega.
Writers, I know that trying to pick for this race is like trying to find a contact lense in a bubble bath. But, the time has come. Your picks for the Aaron's 499 are due by Thursday, May 2, and 10 p.m. ET.