This week, the Crappafoni Pictures crew is in the heart of Dixie, Talladega, for this week's The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, complete with BBQ and all the fixin's. Served Southern-style, of course, and wash that down with PLENTY of Coke and sweet tea! Enjoy!
Clint Bowyer: he gets this week's top spot as the race winner. He had a stout car all day long, as evidenced by his last lap pass on his teammate Jeff Burton. Very rarely was he in mid-pack, where all the trouble was. (Ask Kevin Harvick about that.) For Bowyer, it was his first win of the season, it was car owner Richard Childress' 100th win as a car owner, and it breaks the tie between RCR and Hendrick Motorsports for most wins at Talladega. It was RCR's third win in the last four Talladega races. A very nice parting gift for RC, indeed. Good job Clint!
Jeff Burton: this was his best finish of the season, and it looks like things are starting to turn around on the 31 team. Try as he might, he just didn't have the juice to hold off Bowyer for the win.
Dave Blaney: the third-place run tied his career-best finish. He and Brad Keselowski worked very well together: a veteran of plate racing and a youngster. More importantly, it was HUGE for his team as they have some breathing room inside the top 35 now. A very nice birthday present, indeed. (Blaney's birthday is tomorrow.) Happy Birthday!
Brad Keselowski: he did a great job pushing Blaney to the front all day. And unlike some drivers that thought you could win the race halfway through (Allmendinger and Ambrose come to mind), Keselowski stayed patient and was rewarded with a solid fourth place finish, plus moves up three spots to third, 18 points behind leader Carl Edwards (who I think will points race his way to a championship).
Brian Vickers: another very solid Talladega run for BV. Perhaps he's auditioning for a ride next season, as Red Bull is pulling out of NASCAR at the end of the season. He led three laps en route to a top 5 finish. He has one of his two wins at this track, this same race in 2006.
Kasey Kahne: much like Vickers, he had another solid Talladega run. UNLIKE Vickers, he'll be driving the 5 car at HMS next season. (This makes it four makes in four years: Dodge in 2009, Ford in 2010, Toyota this season, and Chevrolet next season.)
Tony Stewart: Smoke led the most laps, but got shuffled back when he and Paul Menard got separated late in the race. He gains a position in the standings, but is 19 points behind Edwards.
Michael Waltrip: I've got to give a shout out to ole Mikey! He kept the car in one piece, stayed out of trouble, and was rewarded with a top 10 finish.
Denny Hamlin: he lost a lap early when he lost the main draft, got it back under caution, and kept the 11 in one piece. He eventually finished in the top 10.
Honorable Mention: Matt Kenseth, Juan Pablo Montoya, David Ragan, Jamie McMurray, Robby Gordon, Paul Menard, and Kevin Harvick.
Kevin Conway: he ran a grand total of two laps before declaring himself done for the day. Yeah, you guessed it: he drew the short stick at the start and parkers' meeting in the Todd Bodine Meeting Room before the race. He hotfooted it out of town with his earnings faster than the laps he turned on the track.
AJ Allmendinger/Marcos Ambrose: sorry guys, I have to put you here. Your carelessness in a crowded part of the track definitely killed Kyle Busch's chances at a title, and put a serious dent in Kevin Harvick's title chances. Harvick gave you guys PLENTY of room; I guess the WHOLE state of Alabama was too small for you guys! (Harvick and Menard had BOTH of their left side tires on the double yellow and were GIVING you the position, but you guys ****** it up!) IF Harvick wins the title (and it's looking quite remote now, thanks to you guys), it will be NO thanks to you guys. EVERY FREAKING YEAR someone has to get a LITTLE TOO RACY WHEN THEY DON'T NEED TO. SHEESH!!! Next time do us a favor: don't be so careless and reckless when you're in a pack of cars; they WERE trying to give you the position, but you decided to get racy!!
AJ Allmendinger/Marcos Ambrose: see above.
Those are my nominees for the race. Feel free to come in with yours. HINT: I'm pretty upset right now, as you can tell. (The two guys I DON'T want to win the title are 1-2 in the standings and Kevin's half a race out. Thank you, AJ and Marcos for that.)