Patience, Plan and Preservation at Talladega Superspeedway
As the NASCAR Sprint Cup series Chase for the title comes to four to go, the Chase is tighter than ever. With only six points separating Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin, this title is far from decided.Now they come to what is the true wildcard of the Chase; Talladega Super Speedway. There is no guarantee that you will finish the race let alone win the race. Hamlin talked about just this on The Dan Patrick Show, Thursday morning. "It's some of the most exciting racing you'll ever see," Hamlin said. "When one person makes one mistake, you'll find yourself in a crash. Especially when you're points racing, like we are right now, it's going to be a little unnerving."Unnerving is the perfect word for racing at Talladega. You have no control of where the wreck will be and when it will be.We have seen races where for the better part of half the race, drivers are minding their P’s and Q’s. We have also seen races at Talladega where they are wrecking before lap 10.Tony Stewart spoke about it this week to NASCAR.com’s Dave Rodman. "You can't predict when there's going to be a wreck," Stewart said.Talladega is the one track on the circuit where your finish can depend on the guy behind you, next to you or in front of you. About that title Chase that is the closest it’s ever been with four races to go. First through fifth are separated by 203 points. If any of the top three run into trouble it can bring Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon right back into the party. Imagine if Johnson, Hamlin and Kevin Harvick are involved in a wreck and can’t get back on track. You want a tight race? There you have it. You want to be leading the points, you want to be the guy everyone is chasing, but in some ways you want it to be after Talladega. Another factor this weekend will be patience. Oh, yes the word that so many drivers have to remind themselves of as they make those pace laps.Everyone wants to get to the front. Everyone wants to avoid the big wrecks. In order to do that you need to be patient. Your impatience can cost not only your day but in some of these wrecks more than one or two drivers. Most drivers have a plan on how they will race on Sunday. Some will drop to the back of the pack and ride around. Others will try to get to the front and stay ahead of the wrecks. For Gordon dropping back is not the plan early but he doesn’t rule it out as the race unfolds."You have to be willing to adjust as you go, though. You never know how the race is going to play out, so it might be necessary to drop back out of the lead pack at some point. But laying back is not in the pre-race game plan" Gordon said. There will be some who lack of patience will cost them a chance not only at a win but a solid finish. They didn’t stick to the plan because they got impatient. Every lap is important but it’s the final lap that cashes in maximum points. You want to finish first, but first you have to finish.