Consider our Takeaways feature to be the home of our random and sometimes intelligent musings. Sometimes the post may have a theme. Sometimes it may just be a mess of unrelated thoughts. Make sure you tweet us your thoughts after the race or email your post-race rants via the link in the signature line below.
• AJ Allmendinger’s car sat upside down in the middle of the Talladega backstretch after an 18-car pileup with 20 scheduled laps to go in Sunday’s race.
As everyone else involved in the accident drove away from the scene or was easily able to climb from his or her cars, Allmendinger needed to wait for the track’s safety team to flip his car over onto its wheels so he could safely get out.
The massive accident happened because Allmendinger, running third at the time, got into the back of Chase Elliott off turn 2. As Elliott’s car rocketed off the corner and onto the flatter straightaway, it washed up a few feet towards the outside wall.
As it did that, Allmendinger closed to the back of Elliott’s rear bumper and hit him in the left-rear corner. Once that contact was made, the wreck was on.
“[Leader Kyle Busch] and [Elliott] were kind of leading the two packs and [Kevin Harvick] was just on me,” Allmendinger said. “Once I got to Chase, I got loose. I barely tapped him. And then I tried to get off him but at that point it was too late.”
As Allmendinger uttered those quotes on the Fox broadcast, the network showed a replay of the accident. Harvick wasn’t very close to his back bumper at all.
Yeah, hindsight in a split-second crash like this is always more reflective than the instinctual thought process that led to the incident in the first place. But Cup Series drivers know that contact that isn’t flush with the rear bumper of the driver ahead of them can have severe consequences. Especially when a car like Elliott’s is moving sideways too.
• It was a bit jarring at first to see Danica Patrick congratulating boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse while wearing street clothes. Patrick was involved in the multi-car accident and had plenty of time to change and watch Stenhouse’s first Cup Series win.
• Stenhouse’s move to the bottom in the tri-oval on the final lap seemed incredibly risky. With Kyle Busch on the high side, Stenhouse moved to the bottom to block Jamie McMurray.
But Busch had more momentum than McMurray did and Stenhouse was forced to move back to the outside before the finish line to make sure Busch didn’t get around him.
Had Busch gotten a bigger run, Stenhouse’s move to the bottom would have been one he would have regretted for years. The high side tended to have more momentum through the tri-oval and Busch even blunted Stenhouse on the outside via side-drafting a lap before. Had he been able to get to the outside of Stenhouse before the finish line, Stenhouse could have been toast.
• Landon Cassill had a problem right after the restart following the big accident and limped around the track. Four laps later, a caution came out for Cassill’s car because it didn’t make it to the infield and was partially exposed to the track. How long had it been sitting there before the caution came out?
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