Talladega usually provides two of the most entertaining races of the year in NASCAR. It's unpredictable and usually involves multiple wrecks, and it's among the fan favorites of the season.
Former NASCAR driver Ricky Craven wrote a column for ESPN in which he described Talladega as a "necessary evil" that's also a "gimmick." He said the slowest car in the field can win since drivers can't really control their fate.
"But we do it because the customers enjoy it, they respond with their wallets and a restrictor-plate race will be a fixture of the NASCAR playoffs so long as there is a NASCAR playoffs," Craven said.
"In full disclosure -- it pains me to admit it -- the race is among the most entertaining on the schedule."
Craven went on to say he's looking forward to this Sunday's race at Kansas because it's not gimmicky, and it represents racing in its purest form.
"This week's 1.5-mile conventional track is a perfect venue to determine who qualifies for the round of eight," Craven said. "Most importantly, most of the 10 drivers not already locked into the next round will control their own destiny."
Denny Hamlin said before the race at Talladega that be believes the race should be a cutoff race since it's unpredictable. But Craven suggests the opposite, and he prefers a more traditional race where the best and fastest cars rise to the top.
Craven did marvel at Brad Keselowski's ability to race at restrictor plate tracks, and he also credited Dale Earnhardt Jr. for his abilities at Talladega and Daytona.
Certain drivers race better at tracks like that, and he said Keselowski drove with a "composed intensity."
NASCAR officials won't take Talladega out of the playoff format since it's such a popular venue, but Craven does make a good point about it not needing to be a cutoff race. The race left several championship contenders in a tough spot before Kansas, so former champions such as Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson will have their work cut out for them.