Any race fan will tell you – Talladega is known for its white-knuckle, bumper grinding, bump-drafting, giant pileup, last-lap-pass racing.
This week’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega was no exception.
Nascar drivers generally don’t like restrictor plate racing because the plate limits the amount of horsepower these cars have, thus making it near impossible to pull away. The cars drive around in a huge pack, wide open, using the “draft” to find the speed needed to get around the other cars. This means that any mistake by a driver who is drafting in the big pack of cars, creates a chain-reaction – collecting all the cars around them. Wrecks like this can gather up half the field and are referred to as the “big one”.
The fans love restrictor plate races for precisely the same reason drivers don’t. We love watching the cars race around at over 200mph, like three inches apart. They bump each other, race four wide at times, and put on an “edge of your seat” show for us sitting at home.
Lap 7 – The Big one. The 17 car (Matt Kenseth) moved up the track a bit while in the draft and collected the 24 (Jeff Gordon), starting a chain reaction. As crazy as this is, it’s a typical wreck at Talladega.
Final Lap – Carl Edwards. This was one of the craziest race endings I can remember. Carl Edwards (99) had been hanging around mid-pack for most of the second half of the race. With like five laps to go, he hooked up with Brad Keselowski (09) and drafted up through the field to contend for the win. I could not believe it, he came out of nowhere.
Coming down to the checkered flag, Keselowski got a run of Edwards and cut down to the bottom of the track to make the pass. Edwards came down to block and this happened:
Wow… I mean, wow. After that type of crash, I just love how Carl Edwards got out and ran across the start-finish line. That’s cool as hell, and the grandstand burst out in cheers. My first instinct is to lay blame on Keselowski for spinning Edwards, but you really can’t say that any of the drivers involved did anything wrong. Even Carl Edwards said after the race that he was ok, and “that’s just talladega”.
Props to the safety crew at the speedway. The retainer fence worked perfectly and only a few fans were treated for minor injuries. I can’t imagine what would have happened if that fence was not there. The next time you are at a race, and they tell you to stay away from the fence and get behind the yellow line during the race… do it. ;)