Well that went as planned.
Large packs of driving. Check. Big wrecks that clogged the field. Yup. Sprint at the finish involving more than 20 cars. Trifecta.
While Sprint Cup fans had a sense of what would happen, now we know shot the names were behind the headlines. Here’s a breakdown of the week’s biggest winner and loser.
Win: Denny Hamlin
This seems obvious after reading Marty Smith’s tweet.
Doesn’t it seem like eight months ago when Hamlin won Homestead and almost won Daytona? That sinus infection/piece of metal in his eye/whatever it was derailed his season.
Maybe Hamlin’s life feels like a soap opera. Maybe it’s bad luck. With the new scoring system, Hamlin went from almost no chance of making the Chase to in the dance. Now Darian Grubb has the summer to get Hamlin’s car and Hamlin’s head ready.
Lose: Hendrick Motrosports
Where is Hendrick Motrosports? Did they know there was a race Sunday? Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson seemed there but not there. Kasey Kahne is 21st in the standings. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was frustrated.
Is Hendrick Motorsports officially in a slump? And when does this go from begin a slump to being just not their year? Watch them now win 12 straight races.
Draw: The Little Guys
If a wild card was going to win, this was the week. Remember, David Ragan won at Talladega last year. Even though we heard long shots like Justin Allgaier and Danica Patrick in or near the lead, nobody could close. This feels like a missed opportunity.
That said, Brian Vickers, Kyle Larson and Austin Dillon would be Chase bound if the season ended today. AJ Allmendinger is two points away from Chasing. When these comeback or new kid stories make the Chase and then make a run in the Chase, NASCAR wins.
This week, Denny Hamlin won. Let’s seem how teams transition from Talladega to Kansas. Enjoy the week, and insert a random catchphrase here.