We are sorry for our long absence. We have moved the sports desk to the deck of the Good Pirate Ship RedState. We had to locate the desk first. It was hidden under the mounds blue-gold glitter left by the Golden State Warriors championship parade. Just as we were making progress on this front, Sammy, Karl, and Kraken held a fish cracker battle to mark the end of the NHL season. The Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup. It took forever to remove all that stuff from between the couches cushions. We’re finally back and enjoying some great NASCAR racing action.
In what was undoubtedly the most exciting start-to-finish racing of the year Chase Elliott was able to hold off a strong field and win the Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart. He did this in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Atlanta Motor Speedway, July 10th. This victory marks Elliott’s third win in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series.
Atlanta has been reconfigured with more banks. This makes it a mini-superspeedway. Proper drafting is crucial as cars can race in tight spaces. Elliott was comfortable on any track and did an excellent job manipulating drafts, knowing when it was time to push or be pushed. This led to Elliott’s victory.
The race had multiple plotlines throughout the course of its events, including an increase in Denny Hamlin’s beef on-track with Ross Chastain. World Wide Technology Raceway in St. Louis was the first to address this issue. Chastain rear-ended Hamlin in the inaugural NASCAR Cup race at the facility. Despite having said all the correct words, he apparently didn’t learn much. After Chastain had clipped Hamlin in the left rear, a bit of over-aggressive, sloppy driving at Atlanta caused Hamlin to spin. Hamlin carefully weighed his post-race thoughts. However, Chastain and Hamlin will be paying more attention to one another on every track.
A more encouraging note was the strong run of Corey Lajoie. His 21stplace finish does not reflect how great he is. Lajoie ran up front for most of the race, but was unable to catch Elliott outside. Elliott then threw a block, and Lajoie crashed into the wall, ending the race with caution.
As noted, the mainstay of today’s action was from green flags to checkered flags. The lead changes were common, but Elliott’s win in the first race stage was not an indication of his lack of competitiveness on-track. Next year will be even more exciting than the disappointing crowd, and anyone who is a casual NASCAR fan will still want to experience this level of racing thrills in person.
The race showed how NASCAR is still the sport of the people, even despite attempts to make it look like a business. While stock cars today aren’t stock, there is still a semblance between them and what you see in dealership showrooms. Fans can approach the drivers with ease and they remain friendly, down-to-earth. The new car, which was introduced in racing this year, has proven it to be the four-wheel equivalent for old Timex commercials. It can take a beating and still keep tickin’. It is not like a Formula One car that will explode if it comes in contact with a caterpillar. Do you want excitement and action? You’ll find plenty of clips from this race.
NASCAR’s popularity has fallen in recent years. The 2022 Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart at Atlanta Motor Speedway will return it faster than anyone can say “boogity, boogity, boogity .”