BY AARON BURNS, @AaronClayBurns
Two things occurred last Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway which are a nightmare for drivers to witness.
First, any time a car is upside down, barreling toward another car, it’s no fun for the pilot -- Joey Logano in Sunday’s case -- or his four-wheeled landing gear, which was nearly Bubba Wallace.
Thankfully, Logano is alright after one of the dreaded superspeedway sites, a wild ride in traffic. Another thing drivers hate to see, of course, is a line of Ford cars leading the charge on a superspeedway in the closing laps.
It’s as common as rain during the Daytona 500, Denny Hamlin leading with 50 laps to go or someone wearing a Chase Elliott shirt.
Ford-powered cars, such as those of race winner Brad Keselowski, near-winner Matt DiBenedetto and third-place finisher Michael McDowell, stick to a superspeedway game plan better than any manufacturer in NASCAR. Chevrolet’s machinery seemed to work the draft well yesterday and the Toyotas -- particularly Hamlin and Bubba Wallace -- seemed fastest.
But another Ford won. Keselowski’s sixth win at Talladega tied Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon for the second-most Cup Series wins in track history. Driving a fast car helped, but so did the congo line that the blue oval cars seem to develop four times a year.
“I think Ford works really hard at (teaming up on superspeedways),” Keselowski said. “I think there’s probably some drivers that are known for their prowess on the plate tracks. All that comes together and creates some pretty strong results.”
Fords have won 10 of the last 12 Cup races at Talladega. McDowell nearly went two-for-two, coming up about 15 feet short after a stirring victory in the Daytona 500.
Michael, what do you think about this Ford domination? What’s the cause of this success?
“Even those restarts there, sticking together so we could control the end of the race. You can’t control all the variables, but with 12 or 13 of us, we have the opportunity to do that if we execute well," McDowell continued.
“A big part of that, too, is Doug Yates and Roush-Yates engines. Their superspeedway program is incredible. Doug and his whole team there take a lot of pride in Talladega and Daytona. This is a big deal to them. That’s a big part of our success and Ford’s success, is working together as a team, the resources we have at Ford Performance and Doug Yates at Roush-Yates engines.”
This weekend at Kansas Speedway, though, the draft won’t factor into the results. The Fords have only three wins in the last 10 Kansas races.
They’ll make it four on Sunday. Logano experienced literal highs and lows at Talladega. At Kansas, he’ll only experience the high of winning.