THERE WAS NOWHERE TO GO. REALLY. TALLADEGA, Ala. & ...
THERE WAS NOWHERE TO GO. REALLY.
TALLADEGA, Ala. At Talladega Superspeedway, cliches get tossed around like Halloween candy.
"Racing at Talladega is a high-speed game of chess."
"You just pick a lane and hope for the best."
"Three-wide, 10 rows deep as the freight train exits turn four ..."
"The Big One lurks at every turn."
And, of course, what usually follows "The Big One" is "there was nowhere to go," which was the case for the Red Bull Toyotas in Sunday's Talladega 500.
As the field approached turn one on the last of 188 laps, a pack from about seventh on back diced for position. You can guess what happened after that. The No. 43 broke sideways in front of Scott Speed's No. 82, Kasey Kahne's No. 83 and many others.
While that car scraped across the track on its hood and into the inside wall, Speed and Kahne's cars slid, spun and hobbled away. But the damage - and the race - was done. NASCAR went to the tape to declare a winner, and Kahne limped to the garage in 26th and Speed in 29th.
The results, however, were no reflection of the first 187 laps.
After starting 16th, Kahne, in only his 11th day with Red Bull Racing Team, roared into the lead by lap five and led twice for three laps. He had the 10th-highest average running position (13.8) and spent more than half the race in the top 15. Kahne was part of 87 lead changes, too - the second most in NASCAR history. Thanks mostly to Brian Vickers, the No. 83 has now led 40 laps in the past seven Talladega races.
Speed had a stout car as well. He entered the race with two top-15 finishes at Talladega and seemed well on his way to backing that up. He moved from his 29th- place starting position to 15th in the opening laps and was 10th by lap 58. He opted to play it safe toward the back to avoid "the tornado" and began making his move inside 30 laps to go, climbing as high as 11th. He made the second-most green-flag passes on the day with 463.
Yes, the Talladega 500 continued a strong stretch of restrictor-plate performances by the Red Bull Toyotas, it was "just one of them racin' deals."
UP NEXT AAA 500, Sunday, Nov. 7, Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas