A lot of people got left with the feeling of being cheated after coughing up cash for tickets to this weekend’s Hellman 500 at Talladega.
Known for intense, history-making races, Talladega has a reputation to uphold with every racing event it brings to the track, but during this important step leading up to the Chase, a huge number of fans didn’t get a true NASCAR experience.
While everyone who attended was, in fact, able to watch the race – and nothing hindered the event, some of the strongest players in the series didn’t give 100% and left a lot of their supporters wanting more.
The three top-notch drivers with Joe Gibbs Racing and Tony Stewart‘s team all chose not to fight for a position and instead, just do enough to not get hit and make it through the race.
A lot of you might be confused as to why they weren’t racing their hardest to finish in a good position, but Jensen outlines it pretty clearly – and it makes a lot of sense.
The drivers all had pretty hefty point leads that guaranteed them a spot in the Chase so long as they didn’t get tangled up in a wreck, or break down during the race. This logic of “playing it safe” had them all just riding out their time at the back of the pack.
“At NASCAR’s biggest and baddest track, instead of Winning Is Everything, we got Driving Miss Daisy,” Jensen writes. “I understand why JGR and Stewart did it. But if I were a race fan who spent hundreds of dollars — or more — to come to Talladega and see my favorite drivers race, I’d be really, really pissed off right now.”
So, even though some of the biggest players took the safest route to keep their spots and advance, next year things will be drastically different – Talladega is shifting out of being an elimination race and will, instead, be the middle race. That means that nobody will have to watch these folks “play it safe” after shelling out a bunch of money for tickets.
What did you think of this weekend’s race? Do you agree?