October 3, 2005 | 9:19 A.M. EST
Keep your fingers crossed that we won't see the return of restrictor plates this season at Charlotte. After Sunday's race in Talladega, there isn't anyone I can think of who would like to see another plate race for a long time.
It's not the plates or the track. In my mind, the blame for all of the crashes we saw on Sunday is in the hands of the drivers. With only three laps in the book, people were running over each other like it was the last lap. The "art" of bump drafting, or as it's now known "slam drafting," should be outlawed - especially in the turns. One driver after another blamed the competitors when they were knocked out of the race and that's where NAScAR needs to start if it wants to "fix" restrictor plate racing.
Seeing Dale Jarrett win was refreshing. DJ led only two laps all day - exactly the number he'd led all year coming into Talladega.
After having overheating problems all day and spending a great deal of time on pit road, Tony Stewart had to be thrilled with a second place finish. And with most all of his fellow "Chasers" having troubles on Sunday, Stewart's runnerup finish was good enough to put him back on top the standings.
I watched the replays several times and, in my opinion, Jimmie Johnson was wrong both times for starting the two incidents he was involved in. Johnson is one of those in the corner bump drafting offenders and Sunday wasn't the first time the No. 48 has instigated plate race trouble.
You have to feel for Elliott Sadler, who had a car capable of winning and as strong as teammate Jarrett's Robert Yates Ford. He got taken out pure and simple but probably feels lucky since his last two fall Talladega visits ended upside down.
So much for the final plate hurrah for the former plate kings at DEI - Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. It looked like the duo would have a chance to end their restrictor plate relationship on a positive note, but were wiped out in the early race crash.
Jeff Gordon was another of the non-"Chasers" who had the opportunity to steal Sunday's spotlight. But Gordon's day ended early - and he probably finished it back in his Florida mansion watching the end of the race on television.
Kurt Busch salvaged a day that looked like it was going to include his third straight bad finish after he hit the wall on lap 90 when a tire went down. But Busch battled back and had to feel blessed with a Top 10 finish.