Nationwide at Talladega

April 16, 2011
by Lee

Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR -- The No. 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew rolls out Kyle Busch's ride under threatening skies Friday at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala.

The largest track on the circuit, Talladega Super Speedway, is the site of the Nationwide Series Aaron’s 312. If you are going to win at this track, you are going to have to hold the gas pedal to the floor the entire day. Not only do you have to keep the petal to the metal, but you also have to have quick reflexes to avoid the big wrecks.

Nationwide Code Spotter at the start of the race is “grinders”.

The pole sitter leading the field to the green flag today will be Elliot Sadler flanked by Clint Bowyer. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is making an appearance in the race today, so we will have to keep an eye on him today as he rolls off third. Trevor Bayne, Daytona 500 winner, will get his day underway from the fifth position.

In order to make it to the end of this race you cannot make a mistake on the track when the cars are in a pack. The spotters will get a workout clearing cars and makings deals for partners to run and pit with. Decent crowd appears to have gathered at the giant speedway, as the drivers have powered their machines and are on the parade laps.

Sadler leads the field through the tri oval waiting for the green flag, and we are green and bringing the cars up to speed. The cars will not be up to full speed until they get back to front stretch. Remember that each car has a restrictor plate to slow the cars. Bowyer gets to the start finish line first to lead the first lap. The two car hook ups have already begun. Aric Almirola gets the lead and holds it for lap two. Three laps, three different leaders at the start finish line, give it Carl Edwards for lap three.

Lap 10 and there are five or six groups of two who are at the front of the pack. Racing has been interesting so far with the first swaps starting to occur. The rest of field is nowhere to be seen behind the leaders. No surprise at this point since many of the experienced cup drivers are at the front and holding the two car draft for longer periods of time.

Another Code Spotter code was just given, “bumpdraft”.

Lap 20 and the leaders have caught some of the back markers and put them a lap down. No sign of a caution at this point in the race, we have had 10 leaders for 14 lead changes.

Lap 23 and we get the first caution of the day as Kevin Harvick loses an engine and his day comes to an end. With the caution being out, the lead lap cars will head to pit road for tires and fuel. Kyle Busch misses his pit and will have to go back around and come back to pit road. Most cars took two tires and fuel on this round of stops.

Lap 28 and we go back to green with Sadler leading.

Lap 29 and Brian Scott brings out the second caution of the day. Scott got loose off the front bumper of Joey Logano and spun the car. No other cars were collected in the spin. Edwards came down a closed pit road and took left side tires. Edwards had shut the car off on pit road and the crew checked the right side. No other changes were made, and Edwards restarted the car and went on his way. Some of the cars towards the back of the field chose to pit under this caution as well.

Lap 33 back under green with Earnhardt Jr. leading the way.

Lap 44 and we have caution for Sam Hornish Jr. spinning in the tri oval. Hornish Jr. does not hit anything and no other cars are involved in the spin. Hornish Jr. was being pushed into the tri oval and closed on the next group quickly. It looked like he got off the gas and got bumped from behind, nothing done intentionally on this wreck. Leaders take the caution opportunity to pit. Brad Keselowski wins the race off pit road. There were all different strategies on the stops with some cars getting two tires, four, and even a handful of no tire stops.

Lap 48 and the green is back out with Keselowski leading the parade. Back to the start finish line and Bayne leads the lap with Edwards pushing him along. Big group of cars behind the leaders that are trying to sort themselves out into two by two packs.

Lap 55 and the caution is out for Mike Bliss who spins his car and avoids contact. Another situation where the pusher is not lined up on the back bumper and a spin occurs.

Half Way Statistics (Lap 58)

Leaders: 13 for 25 leaders

Cautions: 4 for 15 laps

Average Speed: 137.874

Lead Lap Cars: 33

Lap 60 and we get the green flag to restart the field with Jamie McMurray leading the way this time. McMurray holds the lead back to the start finish line as six groups of two are battling for the lead.

Lap 66 and something that is not written all that often, Kenny Wallace is leading the race.

Lap 68 and the caution is out for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. getting turned into the back stretch wall. Red flag is out for clean up on the backstretch. The cleanup is for fluids on the track. With the red flag now withdrawn, the cars hit pit road for stops.

Lap 75 and the green flag is back out with McMurray leading.

Lap 82 and Donnie Neuenberger spins on the backstretch to bring out the caution. Leaders pit for fuel, no one up front seemed to take tires.

Lap 87 and back to green.

Lap 87 and back to yellow with a huge wreck on the backstretch. Too many cars to list but a few names involved, Michael Waltrip, Busch, Harvick, McMurray, and Jennifer Jo Cobb. Red flag again for clean up.

Lap 91 and back to green with Earnhardt Jr. leading the race.

Lap 97, 20 to go, Bayne is now up front being pushed by Edwards.

Fifteen laps to go, Earnhardt Jr. is leading with five packs of two in contention at this point for the win.

Ten laps to go and Keselowski is leading with now six packs of two who are near the front.

With seven laps to go the caution comes out for Hornish Jr. spinning off the backstretch and barely bumping the wall. Damage to the back end of the car from all the bump drafting that has gone on today.

Three laps to go with Bayne leading as the green flag comes out. Caution is out again for a wreck on the backstretch involving Michael Annett. We will go green white checker finish for this one. I wonder how many times the ESPN commentators will say the cars look more like Martinsville today.

Green comes out for the first attempt with Joe Nemechek leading the race. Not going to finish this race on this attempt. Caution on the back stretch again. James Buescher and Reed Sorenson involved. Jason Leffler was also involved on the backstretch.

Second attempt at green white checker finish is underway with Wallace bringing the field back up to speed. White flag is out with Bayne leading. Wreck on the backstretch with Mike Wallace flipping the car. He got turned into the wall and tumbled down the backstretch, and then still drove the car back to pit road. Amazing.

Kyle Busch was determined to be leading when the caution came out and he is the winner.

Final Race Stats:

Leaders: 18 for 57 leaders

Cautions: 11 for 37 laps

Average Speed: 125.772

Lead Lap Cars: 18

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