As anticipated, the competition at Talladega Superspeedway was full of excitement. The race on Sunday was filled with unexpected moments and intense action. Even with three drivers from Ford in the Round of 12, there was still a lot on the line for the weekend. Surprisingly, their strategy paid off, while Tony Stewart and his team faced difficulties on the track.
During the 2023 season of the NASCAR Cup Series, Stewart-Haas Racing has faced challenges with their technical problems. Their performance on Sunday was no exception, as it continued to be underwhelming. However, Ford’s strong showing in the race has diverted attention and criticism away from the team.
Tony Stewart and his team narrowly avoid embarrassment at Talladega while Ford enjoys a successful race.
As the Round of 12’s second race approached, Ford was optimistic about their chances for victory. Brad Keselowski from RFK Racing had previously won six times at the track and was considered a top contender. Additionally, Ryan Blaney from Team Penske had two wins at Talladega and was expected to perform well. However, the challenge proved to be tougher than anticipated.
Blaney was positioned below the cutoff line and any small mistake from Keselowski or Chris Buescher could have caused them to fall into a difficult situation. In such a scenario, Ford relied on their non-playoff drivers to support their teammates still in the race for the championship. This strategy was strategically sound.
Ryan Blaney wins by a narrow margin. What an exciting finish at Talladega!
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) October 1, 2023
With that being said, the competition at Talladega posed a difficult scenario for the team. In the final moments of the race, both Blaney and Kevin Harvick from Stewart-Haas Racing put up a strong fight for the victory. Although it seemed likely that #12 driver Blaney would win, Harvick almost secured the win if not for Blaney’s narrow victory of 0.012 seconds.
The #4 driver suffered a tough defeat, particularly since he is set to retire after the season. Though a win would have been a perfect goodbye for Harvick, it would have greatly hindered Blaney. However, Sunday’s win not only secured a spot for Team Penske and Ford in the next round, but also prevented Tony Stewart from a major humiliation.
The fasteners for the windshield on Kevin Harvick’s car were not properly secured.
Unfortunately, he has been disqualified and is now in last place. #NASCAR photo.twitter.com/1Vu0aoKgVG
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) October 1, 2023
After reviewing the race, NASCAR determined that Harvick’s car did not meet the requirements due to improperly secured windshield fasteners. This was a significant mistake by the SHR team. Fortunately, Blaney’s win prevented Harvick from losing his well-deserved victory. It would have been a meaningful and memorable win, especially since it was Harvick’s last race on a superspeedway track.
Tony Stewart’s outburst against SHR reveals the team’s struggles and adds to Kevin Harvick’s current struggles.
This isn’t the initial occurrence this season where the #4 team has encountered technical difficulties. However, the concern is whether it was significant enough for NASCAR to respond as they did. Undoubtedly, the fans were dissatisfied with how Harvick was handled in this situation.
The fans are angry after Kevin Harvick was disqualified following the Talladega race.
Ryan Blaney’s victory at Talladega greatly improved his ranking in both the driver’s and owner’s standings. He currently holds the fifth spot in the owner’s standings, providing Ford with a strong chance of success. In contrast, fellow Ford driver Kevin Harvick’s performance appeared to be underwhelming.
Almost there for the win. Kevin Harvick has five remaining opportunities to secure a victory in his last NASCAR season.
“NASCAR on NBC will be broadcasting live on October 1, 2023.”
Although he came close to winning, he and his team were found to have broken NASCAR’s Rule Book, specifically rules 22.214.171.124.F regarding the windshield and 14.1.E&P concerning the overall assembled vehicle. As a result, Harvick lost all the stage points he had earned and ended up finishing 38th in the race. This disqualification did not sit well with his fans, who took to social media to express their disappointment. Some even raised concerns about NASCAR’s handling of the situation.
“Shouldn’t this have been caught during the pre-race inspection if he didn’t change the windshield during the race? @nascar, is this your responsibility?”
“This is incredibly absurd.”
“Why was this not noticed during the car’s inspection at tech?”
“Nascar is continuously targeting Harvick this year with whatever they can. This is completely absurd.”
“I would have been upset if he had won, but then this unexpected event occurred.”
“Nascar has officially announced to Harvick his retirement for a valid reason. This is similar to other veterans who have left this sport behind.”
“That’s a minimum of 20 additional horsepower. I believe it may be a safety concern, but the penalty seems unjustified. What is going on, @NASCAR?”
“Surprising. Continuously attempting to diminish Harvick’s final season in retirement.”
It is indeed questionable how NASCAR went about its business in this case. While it is disappointing for Harvick and Tony Stewart, the #4 driver still has enough races to secure a win. The question is, can he manage to pull it off? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out this article: Long-time NASCAR Driver Exposes Ford’s Dominance Over Tony Stewart.
Ford’s strategy prevents Tony Stewart’s driver from being publicly embarrassed just after almost winning.