Mr. Harvick's Wild Ride!
TALLADEGA, AL – It was some wild driving at the “’Dega” this past weekend. The Aarons 499, a grueling 188 laps around the 2.66 mile Talladega Superspeedway, ended well for Kevin Harvick, ending a win drought for he and Richard Childress Racing. Harvick had not won a points race since the 2007 Daytona 500, while RCR had not won a race since October 2008. “Everything just played out perfect for us today,” Harvick said.
That was not how it felt for most drivers. A long series of wrecks extended the race by 12 laps with 3 attempts at a green-white-checkered finish. The first restart attempt ended when Newman and Logano tangled resulting in a 9-car pileup. The second saw a spin by Johnson and Biffle after making contact at the front of the pack. On the third, and final (by NASCAR rules) restart, two “teams” jumped to the front of the pack. Hamlin pushing Montoya on the outside and Harvick pushing McMurray on the inside. The McMurray/Harvick team pushed out in front and were running strong. Just at the right moment, Harvick pulled-off a picture perfect slingshot move beating McMurray to the finish line with Montoya following in third place. It was quite an exciting finish.
This year’s exciting race comes after a lackluster race in the fall when drivers were told they would be penalized for “excessive” bump-drafting. The drivers were left to police themselves, and from the fans standpoint, made for a great race. I’d hate to be the team owners that have to pay for the carnage or the crews that have to put the cars back together again. But most importantly, no one was seriously hurt during the race – at least physically. The cold relationship between Jimmie Johnson and car-owner Jeff Gordon was strained further when Johnson cut-off Gordon on lap 183. "The 48 is testing my patience, I can tell you that. It takes a lot to make me mad -- and I am pissed right now," Gordon said.
Only 30 cars were running at the end. A couple of NASCAR records were broken this weekend. There were a record total of 88 lead changes with a record 29 different leaders.