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It's Called Strategy Not Cheating
I don't have any problem with what Joe Gibbs Racing did at Talladega. It was a strategic move. Strategic moves don't always work out; this time it did.
Forget NASCAR's 100% rule, this didn't apply. This was not manipulating a result; they were only taking themselves out of the winning mix but, weren't by doing so, opening the door for someone else to advance in the Chase. It was done purely with the intention with advancing themselves.
The roots of the strategy could very easily be traced to Talladega two years ago, when Kyle Busch, coming into the race in second place, running conservatively, was punted from behind and knocked out of the Chase.
There are plenty of parallel examples throughout the sports world, but this is no different than trying to win a race by gas mileage. It's big picture racing. To finish first you must first finish.
You can't win the championship if you're eliminated at Talladega. Kyle Busch knows that from experience, now Martin Truex, Jr. and Brad Keselowski know too. And, three Gibbs cars that spent a Sunday at Talladega playing it safe are still alive.