Sunday at Talladega was all about Stewart-Haas Racing and their Roush Yates powered Ford Fusions. Nearly the entire race was run with the SHR cars running 1-2-3-4. If they ever did get separated it wasn’t because of on-track performance it was merely others trying to do anything to separate those four cars.
Kurt Busch DOMINATED Sunday’s race but ran out of fuel in turn 3 on the last lap. That stumble handed the win to teammate Aric Almirola who locked himself into the next round and got his first Cup win since the summer Daytona race in 2014.
SHR Show All Day
When you talk about domination in NASCAR Sunday’s race will be right up there. SHR cars led 155 of 188 laps on Sunday as they ran most of the race unchallenged by others.
The first 111 laps of the race were all SHR. The only time other cars led were during pit stops as the four teammates coordinated well on every restart to get into line on the bottom. It was around lap 112 where other cars were able to lead laps. Both Brad Keselowski and William Byron led laps as the four SHR cars were stuck midpack after pit stops. It didn’t take long for them to regain control when Kurt Busch took back the lead about 20 laps later.
Kurt Busch led a race-high 108 laps and had nothing to show for it at the end of the day. Running out of fuel on the last lap handed the win to Almirola who led one single lap but that’s the one that came with the checkered flag.
In fact, all Roush Yates powered cars dominated the day. More often than not the Top 7 consisted of all Fords. It was an amazing display of teamwork and utter dominance by one manufacturer that we haven’t seen in NASCAR in quite awhile.
One factor in this domination has to be the car set up. If you watched the race you noticed the SHR cars were all poiting to the outside wall when going striaght. That skew was done to increase speed. The logic behind their strategy was be faster than everyone to the point handling didn’t matter as much because they were out front. And it worked. With only one plate race left next season at the Daytona 500 how many cars will show up with the same set up? And will NASCAR police this?
Kurt Busch was not happy after the race. A caution with two laps to go set up for a Green-White-Checkered finish. Because of that, all SHR and Penske cars were worried about making it on fuel. NASCAR inexplicably added another lap of caution before restarting the race. When they did that numerous cars sputtered and Ryan Blaney ran out of gas. Brad K and Harvick dove to pit road for fuel as the field came to the green.
That was Kurt’s first gripe, why the added lap of caution?
His second gripe came on the last lap when the field wrecked going into turn 1. NASCAR didn’t throw the caution and allowed the field to race back to the line. If the caution came out, Kurt wins. NASCAR has been inconsistent at best in this situation. Sometimes they throw it and sometimes they don’t. There is never any consistency in it and many drivers want a definitive ruling every time.
Kurt has valid complaints but they’ll fall on deaf ears.
Almirola Into The Next Round
Aric Almirola’s win locks him into the next round. A guy no one thought would make much noise this season is into the round of 8 with a shot at Homestead.
Almirola should have two or three wins this season but finally broke through at Talladega. People will make Danica comparisons and whatnot regarding the #10 which is valid and invalid at the same time. The most impressive thing out of this is the fact that every SHR car has a win this year. That’s a strong race team and that’s something that doesn’t happen often with a 4-car team.
If you would have told anyone Chase Elliott and Aric Almirola would be the two guys locked in headed to the elimination race at Kansas everyone would laugh in your face. Yet here we are with Keselowski sitting on the outside looking in. Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. can still be eliminated which is a wild thought.
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