Woody: Hopefully The Talladega Tingle Will Last
Larry Woody | Senior Writer
There are two ways to look at this weekend’s open date on the Sprint Cup schedule:
1. It gives drivers and fans a chance to exhale after last Sunday’s Talladega thriller.
2. Like lifting down the backstretch, the pause will break the tremendous momentum that NASCAR has finally built up.
I tend to take the second view. I’d like to see the drivers hit the track immediately and – hopefully – pick right up where they left off at Talladega.
With NASCAR fans nodding off faster than air-traffic controllers, the Talladega drama couldn’t have come at a better time. It was a wake-up that the sport desperately needed.
I’ve been critical of this season’s snoozers and ride-around racing, so now I’ll give credit where credit is due: the Talladega race was a dandy.
Action-packed from start to finish.
Eighty-eight lead changes in 188 laps of racing.
Jimmie Johnson making a last-lap charge to nip Clint Bowyer in a finish that tied the second-closest in NASCAR history.
It doesn’t get much better than that.
Granted, the wacky two-car Talladega tandems still seem kinda weird, but they work, so it’s hard to complain. The two-car packs were fast and furious, with plenty of passing and three-wide racing, so
what’s not to like?
Nostalgically, some of us miss the four-wide, 30-car-deep packs that once swept through Talladega’s skyscraper turns – but we miss Cale Yarborough too, and he’s not coming back.
The new Talladega two-step provided competitive, exciting racing without quite as much of the white-knuckle tension that used to build while waiting for the inevitable Big One.
While the Cup drivers get a chance to pause and catch their breath this weekend, the eyes of the racing world will be on Nashville Superspeedway’s doubleheader. The Camping World Truck Series races on Friday and the Nationwide Series on Saturday.
Remember the truck series? It last raced back on April 2. That’s a ridiculously long layoff for a series that many fans consider NASCAR’s most action-packed. The trucks didn’t take a pause that refreshes – they took a pause that makes fans forget.
Some team owners have suggest doing away with open dates, or perhaps having just one around mid-season. I think that’s an excellent idea. Crank it up and keep going.
The truck series layoff was absurdly long and it’s hard to maintain interest over such a long idle stretch. Who’s leading the standings? Who won the last race?
As for the Cup series, if I were running the show and trying to sell tickets, I’d like to see the drivers roll right back out this weekend and take advantage of the lingering Talladega buzz.
It seems a long time until the April 30 Richmond re-match.
– Larry Woody can be reached at email@example.comOne Comment