Talladega NASCAR Races Scary To Watch

Charlotte, NC (April 26, 2010) – If you didn’t like the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide races from Talladega Superspeedway Sunday, you are probably not a race fan. You probably don’t have a pulse either.

The two heart-pounding stock car races had more thrills in five minutes than the National Football League draft had over three days this past weekend. Cars whizzing around the giant 2.66-mile Talladega oval at 200-miles an hour – inches apart – was certainly more engaging than how far quarterback Jimmy Clausen was going to fall in the draft.

Talladega again brought out the best – and the worst – stock car racing has to offer. Going into the weekend, the buzz was about replacing the rear wing on the NASCAR COT Cup car with a more traditional spoiler. Would it even work was a significant question.

Somehow, NASCAR again tossed the dice on a rule change and came up a winner because Sunday’s Cup race at Talladega proved to be one of the most dramatic in memory. Too many lead changes to keep up with – along with some of the closest drafting we can ever remember – proved to be the script on this day.

Honestly, the drafting was crazy close. Watching the in-car cameras gave us chills. It was scary just to watch. The action was, in a word, amazing.

While there are those (like us) that have bemoaned the invention of the carburetor restrictor plate over the years, there can be little argument the latest NASCAR rules configuration of restrictor plate and body templates is among the best we’ve ever had. The cars are stable and drivable at huge speeds and infinitesimally small margins for error. Sunday’s race again proved that they also put on an incredible show unlike anything we see at any kind of track – or in any other kind of sport.

Giant packs of cars, running at breakneck speeds fractions of inches apart, wild wrecks that everyone seems to survive unscathed, and photo finishes are a package that are sure to get your attention. On Sunday, they certainly commanded ours.

Scary Moments

Anyone who took a couple of minutes to watch Sunday’s events at Talladega immediately realized how dangerous the racing is. Cars running that fast, that close are bound to crash sooner or later. Its human nature – nobody’s perfect and everybody wants to win.

‘The Big One’ is bound to happen.

On Sunday, the Cup race had its share of bump ups and near disasters – including two multi-car melees – but it was the accident on the final lap of the Nationwide event that ran our blood cold.

During that crash, the car of Dennis Setzer got airborne and into the Turn 4 catch fencing. We shudder anytime a car gets to flying and cringe even more when it starts tearing up catch fencing. There are just so many things that can go wrong.

In this case, the fence did its job keeping Setzer in the ballpark. Fortunately, the accident was in a fan non-access area, so there were no injuries to speak of on the other side of the barrier. Had the accident occurred in another part of the track, we might not have been as fortunate.

We have to give kudos to both NASCAR and Talladega for their diligence in making race tracks safer for all. The higher, reinforced fencing at Talladega this year is a direct result of taking Carl Edwards’ fence-shredding crash a year ago and using it to make thing safer. The new higher, stronger fencing took a beating at Talladega Sunday when it encountered Setzer’s car. The good thing is that it held up.

Let’s face it – stock car racing will never be a totally safe sport – for the drivers or the fans. You can’t predict every situation much less protect everyone from it. On Sunday, however, we saw how working to achieve those very goals paid dividends for NASCAR, Talladega Speedway, the competitors and the fans.

Last Call

We can’t speak for everyone, but we think having both the Nationwide and Cup races on the same day is pretty awesome. We hardly had a chance to cool off from the wild Cup finish when we were taking the green flag for the Nationwide event.

Rain at the race track sucks, but you have to admit that if it continues produces doubleheader events like the one at Talladega Sunday, a few showers here and there may not be that bad after all.

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