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  • Writer's pictureCraig & Scott

Kentuckiana Motorsports Presented by Lucas Oil

NASCAR driver Chase Elliott hasn't had much luck in the playoffs until Talladega. He ended up narrowly beating a slew of drivers to advance to the next round of the Cup playoffs. It is his 18th career win. Ryan Blaney came in second by less than a car length. Heading into Talladega, Penske driver Joey Logano led all drivers in points. He finished way back in the pack and is now 5th in playoff points . This weekend it is The Roval at Charlotte. After it, the 4 lowest in points of the 12 playoff drivers will be eliminated, and the field will be then down to eight who can when the championship.

Time to insert some curious thought on NASCAR and Talladega. First: TV commercials. From about lap 40 to Lap 20, we counted three split screen TV commercial breaks. NASCAR has to pay its bills. But with each passing lap the intensity picked up. Fortunately, at this Superspeedway race, there were no incidents during the split screens. Still, with more than 50 race lead changes, and the race winding down, NASCAR can do better. Find a way to let fans experience the race as they should, and take care of sponsors too.

NASCAR must also find a way to better deal with late race caution flags. And this is not a conversation about concussions and the safety of the Next Gen car itself. In the Cup race Sunday, a caution was thrown with 5 laps to go after Daniel Hemric's car had engine problems and he ended up parking it on pit lane. NASCAR must protect drivers, crews, teams, and fans. It was right to through the flag to allow a tow truck to push Hemric's car out of the way. However! Because of it, the race ended up in a green-white-checker, or a 3 lap shootout. Prior to Hemric's issue, the competition under the green flag was very fierce. Fans and viewers no doubt were on edge preparing for a fantastic finish. Then poof! Hemric's issue and the caution. That caution punctured the excitement, the mood, the intensity, and the excitement. Keep reading.

We've talked about this before. Whether Hemric's parked car, a wreck, debris, or other situation, NASCAR must find a better solution. The stands at Talladega were full. You're smack in the middle of NFL football season, so fewer eyes are watching, but those glued to the TV, wanted a great finish. NASCAR has to find a way to "freeze the laps" in the last 10 laps of all races (At least one time). Green-White-Checkers (3 lap finish) are fine. But it is past time for more to be done for the fans. Had NASCAR frozen the laps at Talladega with Lap #5, (when Hemric's engine expired), there would have been 5 laps left. This would have created more opportunity for other drivers to have a chance to win, and certainly better excitement for fans and TV viewership. It takes a full lap to get up to speed at Talladega. Had NASCAR frozen the field "before" a possible green-white-checker, just think how better the finish could have been.

Now, let's talk NASCAR Trucks at Talladega. Louisville's Ben Rhodes was leading with 500 yards to go. As the trucks got closer to the finish line, the racing really intensified. Suddenly, cars starting wiggling and spinning. There were no slow cars ahead, no debris, no issues. ZAP! NASCAR flips the switch and throws a caution. Bret Holmes crossed the finish line first to take the checkered flag. Yes, they were that close to the finish line. However, when the caution light came on, non-playoff Matt Dibenedetto (who finished inches behind Holmes) was moved up and declared the winner. NASCAR calculated the results from when the caution came out. Holmes was dropped to second, followed by Rhodes in 3rd. (Great points day for Ben. He needed it. He is 4th in playoff points. After the next truck race at Homestead, four of the eight remaining truck drivers will be cut). However, once again, more inconsistency with NASCAR. That close to the finish line, they tossed the caution? What happened to letting the drivers race to the finish line? In past events, NASCAR has let the drivers race to the finish with no caution. Yes, Talladega is a superspeedway. But does anyone really think trucks going 175 m.p.h. and yards away from the finish line can suddenly slow down or stop on a dime? NASCAR must be more consistent.

The NHRA Midwest Nationals were just as intense as NASCAR as Talledega. It is just so fun to watch the machines roar down the track at enormous speeds! October is full of drag racing excitement! The next mega event is October 13-16 in Texas at the NHRA Fall Nationals.

It was a dominant ARCA 200 Fall Classic at the Salem Speedway (About an hour northwest of Louisville in Southern Indiana). Sammy Smith took the win. Only 6 drivers finished all 200 laps. One of them was Southern Indiana's Will Kimmel. He ended up 4th. Will is in his early 30's, but it still an elite racer on an underfunded team. Too bad someone won't give him a real shot at a higher level. He has the experience. Will would serve a sponsor and a team well. There is one more huge race at Salem. It is a fan-friendly racing weekend at the Salem Speedway October 14, 15, and 16. Many events enjoy as drivers from around the region get ready for the 34th annual Halloween 200 for the Lucas Oil Great American Stocks.

It is the fall and the leaves will soon drop. Still, there is plenty of racing on all levels to talk about! If you've enjoyed Kentuckiana Motorsports over the past 20 years, you know Lucas Oil has been a huge backer of all we do. We thank Lucas Oil as a longtime sponsor. We're able to talk racing locally and in other ways, thanks to Forrest, Charlotte, and Morgan Lucas and the entire Lucas Oil Family. Other backers: PNC Bank (Sponsor of Scott Dixon's Indy Car Series Car), Sportsdrome Speedway (Celebrating more than 75 years of Racing!) locally owned Bright Pest Control and Bright Retail in Louisville, (Offering Do-It-Yourself Professional Pest Products with a retail store), and Knox Ford in Radcliff (KY). KMS supporters also include: VoiceTel Kentucky (Offering telephone service for $25.00 a line, and that includes all taxes and fees), Temco Roofing, Andriots Paint, Flooring, & Blinds, ICA Dumpsters, Kentucky Raceway Ministries, St. Matthews Cycling, Nimlok Kentucky, Dynamic Healthcare, and Lyndon Mower Repair. We also thank our media connections in all series, especially NASCAR and with NASCAR Media for helping us bring the sport to the fans!

We're getting many entries for the Fall KMS Giveaway! Keep them coming! Click on the Giveaway tab for more!

Enjoy the racing!

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