If Sunday afternoon didn’t prove that coming to Talladega Superspeedway is truly about survival of the fittest, then what does?
All Chase drivers – and fantasy owners – knew what this race symbolized. It could make or break championship hopes.
Unfortunately, the event that all drivers – not just the 12 contenders – feared occurred on the final lap, that being the ‘Big One.’
The wreck collected, at least, 20 cars, and within the wreck, only four chasers finished in the top ten. Knowing what is known, the points were shaken up. However, the driver the other 11 contenders were chasing narrowly escaped the carnage around him.
Brad Keselowski stretched his point lead to 14 points, which proved the theory that those who play defense, survive most. This is exactly why he was one of the five drivers fantasy players should have inserted into their starting lineup.
Granted, it wasn’t obvious which role Keselowski was playing. He was riding in the pack for the majority of the race; he just didn’t make any moves to gain bonus points for leading. What Keselowski didn’t do is choose to drive the race as conservative as Denny Hamlin did. After starting 22nd, he finished seventh.
Among the other selections was two-time Talladega fall winner, Clint Bowyer.
Bowyer qualified third, and started the race aggressive. He led eight laps, but after awhile, he decided to patiently hang in the back with team owner Michael Waltrip. His efforts were to no avail as he finished 23rd, after being collected in the fiasco.
The Roush cars were stout, once more, as Matt Kenseth took the checkered flag; although, his teammate, Greg Biffle, wasn’t too shabby either.
With his strong fifth place qualifying effort, Biffle found himself up front, as well. There were a couple of close calls along the way, but he managed to lead 16 laps. Combine that with a sixth place finish, and owners wind up receiving their monies worth out of him.
Remember in my fantasy preview when I said start Bobby Labonte because he qualified 40th? And because he was starting 40th, if he was involved in an accident, owners wouldn’t suffer point consequences?
Truth be told, he was collected too…..and he still finished 18th. Meanwhile, elder brother, Terry Labonte, finished in 16th, as he couldn’t escape the chaos surrounding him.
Just like Keselowski, hopefully owners’ day can be described as having the distinction of survival of the fittest; I know it was for myself. Hopefully, a point total of 204 points was good enough for players to say “mission accomplished.”
NOTE: Usually, I would list the amount of points each driver was responsible for. I was unable to as NASCAR.com was still trying to assemble the official finishing order. Obviously, fantasy goes by finishing order. With the uncertainty of that, I waited and checked the next day. Sadly, the leaderboard results showing me how much each driver received disappeared. Sorry for the inconvenience.
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