Once the "Big One" strikes, who will emerge on the other side?
Kevin "Where did he come from" Harvick has done exactly that a number of times. Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards play the "safe" game and ride around in the back, not even trying to lead the race, or gain points, waiting until the last moments of the race to make their way to the front and attempt to take the checkers.
To me, as you may well know, this isn't "racing". NASCAR implemented the 100% rule after the Chase standing were shaken up by team orders, yet clarified that, at restrictor plate races, the hanging back is a strategy to win the race, and therefore allowable.
I call BS.
This is a race, just like every other race on the circuit. If you are to be crowned Champion, in my opinion, you race. You do your very best to win every race, not sandbag waiting for a moment to strike. I think the strategy is one of the reasons I have not been a fan of either Jimmie or Carl.
Okay, the strategy has nothing to do with it, but it does add to the dislike.
Racing at a restrictor plate track calls for quick reflexes, a car set up to make the most of the draft, and the ability to calculate, on the fly, where you can fit your car in the next ten seconds. We've seen some incredible moves over the years, but to learn how to win at Talladega or Daytona, one really needs to watch Dale Earnhardt Sr. The cars have changed over the years, but the ability and the skill needed to race successfully here have not. Dale Sr. won 10 times at Talladega. Dale Jr. won four races in a row here, and won a total of five. Jeff Gordon has won 6 races at 'Dega. Could they be the two to watch today? Or should we be watching Matt Kenseth? He led the most laps at the spring race, but wound up 8th at the end.
The point here is, no one knows. It really doesn't matter how good your car is, how quick your reflexes are, or how fast your pit stops are. In the end, it's all just a crap shoot.