NASCAR Race Fan Commentary: Talladega

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Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series raced at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday and there was much controversy about the racing there. I’d like to make a few comments about that.

When I picture NASCAR racing, I picture Talladega. I once gave up sightseeing in Houston because the race in Talladega was on! I love the three wide, ten deep racing. It keeps you on the edge of your seat all through the race. Now there is a two car tandem going on for the restrictor-plate races. I don’t think NASCAR decided to start this way of racing. I believe the drivers thought of it. A couple of years ago, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was pushing Ryan Newman and they pulled ahead of the pack by doing so. Brad Keselowski started pushing Carl Edwards from way back and the two of them raced past the pack and even passed the leaders! Brad won that race.

Since then, the drivers figured out they could go much faster two by two than they could in a big pack. In a big pack, they may be racing nose to tail, but there is no room to gain any positions. These tracks lend themselves to needing a friend to go with you and push you to the front. That always has been the case. If you pull out and no one follows you, you end up way back in the field. In the middle of these races, they follow the leader single file. You just can’t be RACING that hard for the whole 500 miles.

In that race way back when that I had to watch, the winner, Dale Jarrett (my favorite until he retired) spent most of the race behind the pack so as not to get caught up in “the Big One” crashes that this track is so famous for. He managed to get up front when it counted and won the race. Much to my delight.

It was pointed out that Carl Edwards, with team mate, Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson, with team mate Dale Jr. spent most of the race driving behind instead of racing. And that if they had been racing all day long, they might have won the race. That may be true, but two by two or in a pack, sometimes the winner has been driving back there to avoid the crashing.

The partners of Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton raced up front all race long. The two of them were faster than the rest of the field. In the end, they pulled so far ahead of the pack that they were able to settle the win between themselves. They separated at the Finish Line and the pusher, Clint, won the race. That was exciting for me, as they had been racing up front all race. Those driving around in the back, did not make up that much ground.

I have to ask race fans why they go to Talladega. To see pack racing and spectacular crashing? Either way, there will be someone to make a mistake and cause a crash. Someone in the pack will go somewhere that there is no room and take out half the field because they are so close together. In two by two racing, someone will not be pushing properly and they will get into each other. Is pack racing with the spectacular crashes the better way to race? Or is going faster with a partner and maneuvering between two other couples while the pusher can’t see anything better? I don’t know. But I do believe the drivers will still do whatever it takes to go fast and win.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I love NASCAR racing.

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One Response to “NASCAR Race Fan Commentary: Talladega”

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