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A Fan’s View: Talladega - 100 Wins, Team Orders and One for the Little Guys
The Sunday, October 23rd race at Talladega Superspeedway saw a milestone earned, the little team that could in the top five, and controversy over "team orders." The Chase for the Sprint Cup has never been this exciting.
100 wins for RCR - with Clint Boywer's victory at Talladega, Richard Childress Racing collected its 100th win in the Sprint Cup Series. RCR's first win came in 1983 with Ricky Rudd behind the wheel of the #3 on the road course at Riverside, California. Childress earned many of his wins with the late Dale Earnhardt behind the wheel, as well as six Cup Series championships with Earnhardt. In 2012, Bowyer leaves RCR for Michael Waltrip Racing, and Childress takes over Kevin Harvick's Nationwide team and puts grandson Austin Dillon behind the wheel.
One for the "little guys" - as a long time fan of the World of Outlaws sprint car series, I've watched and cheered for Dave Blaney for many years. As a long-time NASCAR Modified fan, I've followed the career of Tommy Baldwin Jr. through the ranks of the Mods up to crew chief for Ward Burton and Kasey Kahne and finally into team ownership. Cheers to both of them as Blaney tied his career-best Cup Series finish of third and gave Tommy Baldwin Racing its best finish ever. Blaney has been a threat in all four restrictor plate races this year, and this car was kind of special to Blaney: it was the same car that he drove to his last third-place finish, also at Talladega - back in 2007 when he ran for Bill Davis Racing, where Baldwin also worked.
A different kind of "team orders"? - after the controversy surrounding the "team orders" supposedly given to Ford drivers for Sunday's race, a new controversy has come to light: Chad Knaus telling Jimmie Johnson to wreck the rear end of the #48 if he won the race. The conversation was heard on NASCAR.com's RaceBuddy application, which had a camera in Johnson's car; Johnson seemed hesitant to agree with the instructions. When asked about it on Wednesday, Knaus replied "…here's the deal - racing at Talladega is tough, and I think everybody understands that. You run 500 miles at 200 miles per hour, and you're bump drafting and you're beating on one another and it's real easy for these cars to get outside of tolerance. It's a tight tolerance that we're held in. It doesn't take much to be a few thousandths off and have NASCAR raise an eyebrow." Knaus said he just wanted to be proactive. It sounds logical from one of the top crew chiefs in the series, but it still doesn't sound right.
Paula is a long-time auto racing fan who also writes about NASCAR topics for Skirts and Scuffs and examiner.com.
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