A momentous and amazing day for our sport after it started with so much hate and disgust when Richard Petty Motorsports found a noose inside of the Wallace team garage. A symbol of racism and an obvious try by a NASCAR crew member to scare Bubba Wallace away from fighting for equality.
With what was intended to be a scare tactic actually launched one of the greatest acts of unity the sport has ever seen. And proved to every racist that NASCAR nor the drivers are going to stop talking about this issue.
I know a lot of fans are upset by the constant talk of “politics” in sports; even though this is a human rights issue, not political. However, the question has to be posed, why do you care? If you’re not racist then why does seeing these acts of unity and social equality bother you? The race will start at its normal time, and it’s not taking away from your experience at all. And if you do have an issue then you racist and nobody wants you watching anyway.
I am more proud to be a NASCAR fan today than I ever have been and I will continue to always watch the sport. NASCAR officials have said they intended to launch a full-force investigation and find the guilty parties and snuff them out of the sport.
The race itself was everything that you can hope for at Talladega. With 19 different lead changes, the race never got away from anyone despite Ryan Blaney having the strongest car all day. There was never a “big one” wreck, although the wreck that took out fan-favorite Chase Elliott was hard for some to watch.
The Elliott, Johnson, and Jones wrecks were all fair deals in terms of pure racing incidents. With Elliott, it seems like he got too big of a run on Joey Logano and instead of running into the back of him he decided to swerve and lost control. With Johnson it was somewhat the same, two drivers not knowing what the other was going to do and one survived one didn’t as he made contact with Kevin Harvick.
The big source of debate comes from Ryan Blaney’s contact with Erik Jones that triggered a wreck across the line. What this came down to was Blaney trying to block Jones – like any driver would do – but being unaware that they were being taken three-wide. As Blaney goes to give Jones a momentum-killing bump, he incidentally bumped him into John Hunter Nemechek who was coming around Jones and that is what sent Jones to the wall.
It was intended to bump him and kill his momentum and that’s all it would’ve done had Nemechek not been there as Blaney assumed.
Blaney didn’t flat out wreck him, it was a racing incident that happened out of circumstance. Not for nothing but any driver would’ve done the same and almost all of them have. Blaney has proven to not be a dirty driver and been on the other end of dirty driving countless times, so I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt in this scenario, especially coming to the line.
Blaney has had one of the fastest cars at what seems like a majority of tracks this year. Today he finally did something with it. It seems like he’s been living in the shadow of Chase Elliott’s young success, but today showed just how much driving talent Blaney possesses from the spectacular race finishing move, but also a great save that almost had him sideways in the corner in stage 2.
Next week, we head to Pocono where Blaney got his first win with the Wood Brothers, so the possibility to carry this momentum to another win is very likely.