Before setting our sights on Martinsville, there’s one more thing I want to say in defense of Talladega: it was nice to see NASCAR’s lesser lights shine. The underdogs had their day.
Not only did Jamie McMurray capture his first win in three seasons, there were plenty of other “no names” near the front. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. showed he was more than “Mr. Danica Patrick” with a third-place finish, and it solidifies- at least in this opinion- he is a deserving Rookie of the Year.
More love for Ford came via Front Row teammates David Ragan and David Gilliland. The duo that finished 1-2 at Talladega in the spring, darn near did it again, finishing sixth and seventh respectively.
Looky here! Michael McDowell of Phil Parsons Racing finished 15th on the day. This team ordinarily starts and parks! Considering they found themselves in relatively uncharted water by having to do real pit stops, that’s pretty impressive. Hopefully, there are more days like these ahead.
Aric Almirola wasn’t a stranger to the front early. Granted- he races with arguably the most notable racing number of all time (Richard Petty’s ‘43’)- and that will get you noticed any day- especially when you adorn the “Petty blue.” Nonetheless, we don’t see the Floridian up front very often, so it was good to see him get some camera time.
Cinderella stories are still compelling. Whether it’s the Arizona Cardinals making the Super Bowl, NC State winning the NCAA in ‘83, we cheer for the underdog. It was refreshing to mention a few names we don’t talk about nearly enough.