Talladega: Win Lose or Draw

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They came. They drove. They avoided The Big One.

From a pure calamity standpoint, the fact that everyone walked out of Sunday’s race at Talladega is almost as important as the driver who won. Still, for every person happy as they leave Alabama, there are others shaking their heads. Here’s a breakdown of Sunday’s race, Bert Convy style.

Win: Anyone contending for the 2013 Sprint Cup Championship

No Chase contender lost a chance at the title because of Talladega. Sure, Matt Kenseth lost the points lead. But four points is something easily overcome. And Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon can still make a run. Making NASCAR important in October is a big deal; we all win with more competition.

Lose: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

What is it going to take for him to win a race? Luck never seems to be on the #88′s side, and the pressure is mounting to win as another winlesss streaks nears the worse side of 40.

Speaking of 40, Earnhardt Jr. is nearing that age. Can he still contend? Of course. Will he still be beloved? Of course. Earnhardt Jr. is with Hendrick Motorsports for titles. The clock is ticking.

Draw: NASCAR

The good is NASCAR’s most dangerous track was relatively safe. The bad news is eight stories were above the race results on the first page of ESPN’s website. Keep in mind, ESPN aired the race and is the king of convergence.

I get football is the alpha dog, but there’s no baseball or playoff sports in action. Had The Big One taken place, where would that coverage be?

NASCAR finds itself in an odd place. It wants mainstream coverage and only seems to get it when things go wrong. As the season heads to the final turn, let’s hope a field of five contenders can bring excitement the fans want and the appropriate attention the sport deserves.