If you missed the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Super Speedway during Sunday's NASCAR race there is no need to worry. Here are some cheat sheet talking points for your water cooler conversation. First tip, don't use the word "Talladega" too many times in one conversation. Try to drop a couple of the shortened version in a few times. Here's an example. "Hey, 'Dega's known for that type of racing and pack racing!"
Yep, Danica Did Great!
First, set all of the hater's aside. Danica Patrick drove pretty darned well yesterday. She lead a handful of laps and maintained a nice power through the smoke line as the No. 2 car of Brad Keselowski went nuts right next to her. Granted, Keselowski and Danica were working together for a few laps which helped Danica move to the front. That happens at 'Dega, cars - and packs of cars - work together. The only problem was Keselowski moved up a tad bit to soon when he went for the front and Danica jiggled a bit. The good news was Danica held on to her car while Brad took a nice off track excursion.
Dale Jr Messed Up - a little Bit. Dale Earnhardt Jr. didn't win the Aaron's 499. Denny Hamlin did and Hamilin drove a nice race. He was where he needed to be at the end of the day. Earnhardt, saw the writing on the wall and figured that a huge wreck would happen towards the end so he hung back after being the leader for a while. After Dale Jr. seemed to make the decision to play it safe he didn't have enough laps left to work his way back to the front. Why is this a little bit of a mess up? Because Dale Earnhardt Jr already has a win this season which is HUGE in this new points season. With that win in the pocket he could afford to hang back a bit a watch. A finish is much better than a DNF.
Denny Hamlin Tamed Talladega
It was Denny Hamlin's 24 win in over 300 Cup series races. The win at Talladega came after a late caution when Hamilin and several other drivers were moving around towards the front changing the number one spot while often racing two and three wide at nearly 200 miles per hour. As Hamlin came around and took the white flag safety officials spotted a piece of a bumper sitting in the main racing groove near on the front stretch. You don't need a bunch of race cars heading towards the main section of fans with a hunk of scrap in the middle of the road. The caution was waved, Hamlin's pass to the front happened at the perfect time and all he had to do was savor the ride back to the checkered flag.
By the Numbers
Even though the cars pushed the limits at nearly 200 miles per hour when you factor in the caution speeds the average speed of the race was 152.103 MPH. And in case you needed to know the official race in hours and minutes etc was 03:17:16. Oh, here's a nice NASCAR Geek stat. There were 48 lead changes during the race. Denny Hamlin won, Tony Stewart finished last due to a wreck and Dale Jr. came in the 26 spot. You can check out the complete finishing order HERE .
Nationwide and ARCA Winners
Don't forget that there were also two other races at Talladega this weekend. Elliot Saddler won the Aaron's 312 Nationwide Series race and Tom Hessert won the ARCA Racing Series International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200.
Images [NASCAR Media / Getty images] [ARCA Racing Series]