New NASCAR rules get vetted at Talladega races
“How did the new spoiler and NASCAR’s instructions to the boys to ‘have at it’ work out at Talladega Superspeedway?”
A: NASCAR seemed to get it right on this one. Last fall at Talladega, drivers were told in the drivers meeting that there would be punishment for aggressive driving, and long stretches of the race were considered by many to be boring compared to previous Talladega events.
On Sunday at Talladega, there were no threats of punishment in the drivers meeting, leaving the drivers to police matters themselves. By most accounts they did a commendable job.
And the spoiler seemed to allow trailing drivers to close the gap on those ahead of them, and it even seemed to play a role in Kevin Harvick’s last-lap pass of Jamie McMurray for the win in the Aaron’s 499.
And it kept spinning cars from flying through the air, as they tended to do with the wing on the back.
“I think it was very typical Talladega,” Harvick said. “I think there was a lot of pushing and shoving, two- and three-wide.
“The spoiler made it so you could pull back up on somebody if you made a mistake. You just didn’t want to be the very last car. It was a very interesting day and it played out perfect for us.’’
Even in defeat, McMurray seemed to like the way the race played out.
“It was actually a lot of fun out there,” he said. “We had such a good rules package with the wing here, you didn’t know how this was going to work. They did a really good job of picking the blade and the right [spoiler] and made the cars racy.’’
Still, McMurray said both he and Harvick played it safe for the majority of the race.
“Well, we raced really smart,” he said. “We rode around toward the rear. Kevin and I actually rode together all day back there. I think everybody in the back of their heads thought that with the wing and the plate and everything that there were a lot of unknowns and that we were going to suck up too quick, because the cars did, they sucked up really well.
“We saw Ryan Newman get wrecked in practice, and that was practice. I really thought in the first 40 laps we would have a wreck like that but everybody did a really good job.”
Sixth-finishing David Ragan agreed that the racing was good, at least from the driver’s seat. “Certainly, the cars drive really well. I think NASCAR made the right decision on allowing guys to push a little bit more and be a little more aggressive.
“I think it was a pretty clean race, except for maybe the last 10-15 laps, and that’s just from everybody losing a little bit of patience.”
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