Written By Gabriel Tsui, Edited by Simran Kanthi
Are you not entertained? It is safe to say that Talladega's race finish had everyone on the edge of their seats. I was anticipating either Ryan Blaney or Erik Jones making the final shootout for the win, yet Chase Elliot had the last laugh. Let's recap what happened throughout the weekend in Talladega if you missed out on one of the most adrenaline-filled finishes in the 2022 NASCAR season.
Amazing stage one and two final lap shootouts
This race shows precisely why stages in NASCAR aren't that bad. Intense last-stage lap shootouts between multiple drivers made the race more entertaining. On the last lap of stage one, Denny Hamlin was about half a lap away from winning the stage, yet a huge momentum from Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Austin Cindric, and the high line drivers pushed Ryan Blaney to the stage one win by merely a hundredth of a second. On the last lap of stage two, about hundreds of meters away from the finish line, Chase Elliot broke away from Kyle Larson and Justin Haley pushed Elliot to the stage win by half a car length. It was one of the best stage racing I have seen in 2022. I do hope it will be somewhat similar in terms of excitement in Charlotte.
Chase Elliot is the first playoff driver to win a playoff race in 2022
Chase Elliot is one lucky driver. After breaking away from the bottom line on the back straight, he got the entire outside line to push him to the win. Beating Ryan Blaney by mere hundredths of a second, Elliot showed that he has the skill and the luck, the two most important assets in NASCAR, to win the championship. He gained 58 points (which is quite needless as he already secured advancement) and six extra playoff points for the next round, which sets him at 46 playoff points by the time of Round of 8. He secured his fifth win of the season and looks to be hunting for more.
Alex Bowman is out of the Playoffs
After a crash in Texas, Alex Bowman suffered from concussion-like symptoms which prevented him from returning and was replaced by Noah Gragson in the 48 car. As he looks to recover from the injury, he will not be returning to Charlotte which would have ultimately led to elimination. The NASCAR community has been asking a lot of questions about the safety of these next-gen cars. First Kurt Busch, now Alex Bowman. These are two incredibly talented drivers who could alter the playoffs' developments. However, due to injuries in minor crashes, they are forced out of contention. Intentional or unintentional, drivers' health should not be sacrificed for the sake of faster cars, better downforce, and performance. Do better, NASCAR. Wish Bowman a speedy recovery.
Well, this is a short article on a few special things that happened last weekend. I am looking forward to Charlotte to see if anyone could surprise me. Will Christopher Bell rise to success? Will William Byron finally wake up and do something? Or will Austin Cindric surprise us yet again by advancing to the Round of 8? We shall see it all in Charlotte.