Monday, November 2, 2009

An Afternoon Rant- Talladega

I'm looking at all the headlines following the race at Talladega and most of the ones I see are articles about how terrible Talladega is this and how unsafe Talladega is that, heck one of the articles I read had this to say inbetween periods of bashing 'Dega because of Ryan Newman's flip:

"Even now, I'm getting e-mails that convey not shock and horror over Newman's crash, but claim that Sunday's race was too boring... never mind that whole guy-landing-on-his-roof thing."

Well, to some extent, yes forget about it. Flips have happened at Talladega for years, until this year I've never heard such drama over it. The wreck here in the spring in which Edwards was sent flying into the catchfence has some validity for complaints because it was a threat to the fans. I believe it is important to note that in response to this accident the restrictor plates were made even smaller to bring down the speeds from the 208mph they were just before that wreck ensued to a somewhat tamer 199 maximum speed on Sunday. Along with this, the catch fence was raised to add more security for the fans.

The wreck this past Sunday does not bother me though. That's right, it doesn't bother me. I will be disappointed if I see any changes made based upon Newman's flip, because the simple truth is that its racing. That flip was the first genuine aerodynamic flip rather than one caused by simple brute force in the COT (Edwards' car was on its way back to the ground when Newman hit him back into the air in the spring), and the odds of it happening are very slight. Why?

Well, the last flip at Talladega before this year was in 2005 when Scott Riggs ricocheted off the frontstretch wall and flipping on the asphalt just inside of the start/finish line. That happened the be the third straight fall Talladega race in which a car went airborne (didn't hear much complaining about it back then, though). The time since includes the three races in the COT from 2007-2008 which were relatively tame wreck wise.

The precautions put in place by NASCAR are plenty to keep the fans and drivers as safe as possible, with Newman a little sore after his flip but otherwise uninjured. Heck though, that fluke flip is just showing how dangerous Talladega is, we need to stop racing there. Oh and while we're at it, how about we stop going to Daytona too since it features the same type of racing, minus all the complaining (was anybody boo-hooing about safety when Newman flipped for the first time? How about Waltrip? Bowyer?). Put Dover on the list too, there was a flip there, too. Oh yeah and Texas. Remember McDowell's wreck? That sure did look scary, gotta stop racing there now, too...

If you want to complain about anything to Nascar following Sunday's race, complain about the quality of the racing. I don't think this is a point I need to explain, the amount of single file racing was quite simply ridiculous. This isn't anything new, its something the drivers have done in the past on numerous occasions, but not to the extent it was on Sunday, which was a result of Nascar's attempt to control the wrecking at Talladega (see fluke wreck to see how well they managed to do that) by telling the drivers how they were to race and threatening them with penalties if they did not race the way they were instructed.

First of all, Nascar's attempt to tell the drivers how to drive is quite simply dumb, the drivers know what they're doing out there better than anyone else, for Helton and company to try and tell them how to race was ludicrous, and I think that as much as the single file racing was to avoid penalty it was much to make a point. Nascar's confidence in the drivers is so low, they must forget it was only 7 years ago that a caution-free race was run at 'Dega.

Complain about that if you will, but don't freak out over a fluke wreck on the backstretch. Treat it the same way Sadler's flip in 2003 (which was worse in my opinion), be happy that the safety measures in Nascar have come so far in keeping the drivers safe, rather than compain about an uncontrollable element of an uncontrollable sport. This is auto racing, every driver knows the risk they are taking when they strap into the cars before every event, to think that there wasn't somewhat of an element of danger would be naive, to try to solve one of the elements that separates this sport from most would be foolish.


  1. Interesting Tyler - I havent read that many articles about people being upset about the wreck -- which of course was horrific for Newman and they should cont to work on keeping those cars on the ground but nonetheless just a by product of racing.

    I have read/heard way more complaints about the quality of the racing itself and anger about NASCAR's control of the racing itself. Not only for the penalty for bumping in the corners (that rule has been in place for several races now, all they did was add the penalty) but more for the drivers inability to hook up 2-3 cars and draft to the front. What fun is it having drafting partners and teammates when you cant even use them!

  2. Tyler, very interesting read. I agree to a point that the drivers staged their form of protest by racing single file for most of the race. Mike Helton, Brian France and Company are taking all the fun out of NASCAR and turning it into a glorified IROC series. I've pretty much tuned out of NASCAR for the season now that JJ has pretty much captured the Chase title. Yes, I said the Chase title. (He would have only one title under the old format, in 2006.)

  3. I have to agree with KLV on her thoughts about fan complaints.

    Tyler...Haven't seen you around in a while. Your writing is on point dude. Very polished. You should write more.

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