By admin | May 6, 2012
By Richard Allen
Just before the halfway point of the Aaron’s 499 at the Talladega SuperSpeedway driver Tony Stewart jokingly asked his crew, “Have I ever said that this race is about 250 miles too long?”
The reality is, Stewart’s question didn’t seem too far off the mark in terms of describing the weekend of racing at Talladega. In both the Nationwide Series race on Saturday and the Sprint Cup race on Sunday at the massive 2.66 mile track, it seemed as though the first ¾ of the races were merely meant to serve as a bridge for getting to the closing laps, and the mayhem.
While the Nationwide race didn’t have the long stretch of green flag laps that the Sprint Cup race had, there was still that feeling of ‘we’re just waiting for a wild ending’ in the air as the race progressed. And unfortunately, that wild ending included a horrifying crash that caused driver Eric McClure to be airlifted to a local hospital where he was kept overnight for observation.
On Sunday, there was a predominance of pack racing throughout the event but no one seemed to be in any hurry to take chances during the first 144 laps. However, on that lap, an incident involving no less than nine cars served as the signal that mayhem had shown up at the track that has in its past marketed ‘The Big One’ as part of the Talladega experience.
Three more crashes took place over those final 40 laps, culminating with a second ‘Big One’ just two laps prior to reaching the scheduled race distance.
“You got to love this place,” Clint Bowyer quipped after all was said and done on Sunday. “No matter what happens in the race, it always comes down to complete chaos.”
Jokes have been made of the meaninglessness of the first ¾ of races held on the restrictor plate tracks of Talladega and Daytona. And the words of Stewart and Bowyer did seem to ring true this past weekend. It’s all a matter of getting positioned for those last few laps, but once you do, be ready for insanity.
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