TALLADEGA, Ala – For as much grief that NASCAR gets on their racing product, this weekend’s tapered spacer package at the Talladega Superspeedway shows that something is woring. We saw a combination of tandem drafting as well as pack racing throughout all 188 Laps that were run over a course of two days.
The end result?
Thrilling race for all 500 miles which featured the most lead changes since 2014 and the sixth closest finish in NASCAR’s rich history. The three big crashes were a byproduct of driver mistakes, not this package and every driver collected in the three incidents walked away unscathed.
How can you fault anything of what we witnessed this weekend?
A lot of people gave Chevrolet some flack for how they planned to run their race, but how can you blame them? Toyota started it, Ford perfected it and Chevy joined the party late. They haven’t won a championship since 2016 and have failed to advance a driver to the Championship 4 even the last two years.
With four drivers championship eligible still, they knew that they needed to capitalize on their gains that were made in this new tapered spacer package. Unfortunately for them, the Ford’s plan worked better.
Ford drivers combined to lead 125 of the 188 laps run in the two-day race including Team Penske leading 73 of them. Ford also finished 1-2-4-5 while the top Chevy driver was in sixth. They went 6-8-10.
The ones that were affected the most though were the Toyota’s. We knew that heading into this weekend though. They had seven cars compared to Chevrolet and Ford taking the other 33 in the race. Seven cars doesn’t give you much of a chance if you all work together. So, they had to play Switzerland in this race and remain neutral.
They combined to lead just eight laps but did get a third place run though.
The future of superspeedway racing though will look a lot like what we witnessed on Sunday/Monday. Tons of action with drivers getting good runs due to the throttle response and the drafting help from a fellow manufacturer teammate.
How can you complain about that?