Denny Hamlin has been through a lot. From a torn ACL to a fractures back to slivers of metal in his eye, the driver of the No. 11 for Joe Gibbs Racing has overcome many obstacles. His talent, faith, and dedication have been questions and scrutinized. Through all sorts of storms, he has remained tenacious.
And tenacity wins at Talladega Superspeedway.
Though the finish was debatable, and the rest of the day was chaotic, Hamlin secured the win as the race ended under caution. A lot happened on-track, but let’s dissect the final laps, shall we?
A late-race caution left three laps on the line, and the remaining cars were ready to go. Green out, cars gone. The first lap was clean. Coming to the white, however, an incident occurred in the back of the pack; drivers like Alex Bowman, Cole Whitt, and Justin Allgaier got together and spun around. The white flag was already drawn, and the rest continued to race. The caution finally flew when the drivers were halfway into the final lap. This froze the field, and Hamlin was crowned the winner.
Fans were immediately outraged by the fact NASCAR threw the caution late and that it determined the finishing order. This situation is being misconstrued, and this is why.
NASCAR is inconsistent, I’ll give the fans that. However, once the wreck happened, all the cars either continued to run or went into the infield grass. The racing surface was left clear. In basic terms, this means “GO!” As the field went along, Allgaier, collected his car and drove on the apron. His bumper flew onto the track, among some other pieces. That’s when NASCAR threw the yellow: when the track wasn’t suitable for racing. Hitting that debris could’ve been disastrous; what if it went into the stands?
Because of that reason, I believe NASCAR made the right call.
Unfortunately, the finish will blow up the internet for the rest of the week, masking the real story: the racing at Talladega was phenomenal. Non-stop action made it difficult to look away from the TV screen. There were 188 lead changes Sunday afternoon. Isn’t that remarkable? That boggles my mind, it truly does.
Hamlin’s victory creates eight different winners as the sport heads to Kansas Speedway. The track is holding it’s first NASCAR night race. Can it back up the awesome racing seen at Talladega Superspeedway?
Point Standings after the Aaron’s 499
1. Jeff Gordon (–)
2. Matt Kenseth (-3)
3. Kyle Busch (-4)
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-19)
4. Carl Edwards (-19)
6. Joey Logano (-42)
7. Jimmie Johnson (-43)
8. Greg Biffle (-47)
9. Ryan Newman (-48)
10. Brian Vickers (-50)
11. Brad Keselowski (-53)
12. Denny Hamlin (-55)
13. Kyle Larson (-61)
14. Austin Dillon (-66)
15. AJ Allmendinger (-68)
16. Marcos Ambrose (-79)