Chasing Talladega from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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******************************************************************************Rusty Norman
Talladega was made for speed. It’s big, it’s wide and it has high banks which were made for high speed racing. In fact, as one of the two super speedways left on the NASCAR circuit, and it is one of the biggest reasons we have restrictor plate racing. Oh, I know there are those that will disagree with me about that but I still say it and believe it to be true.

Even though there are other tracks NASCAR races at that are just as fast without restrictor plates, both Daytona and Talladega could have much higher speeds if it weren’t for restrictor plates. The restrictor plates allow NASCAR to keep the speeds closer to a maximum of 200 miles per hour rather than higher speeds that have proven to be much more dangerous for stock car racing. With all of the technology being used by NASCAR to make racing as safe as possible for the drivers, crews and fans, restrictor plates have been one of the most reliable ways of controlling the maximum speeds they could be running these days.

One of the things I liked most that came about because of restrictor plates was a thing called “pack racing.” There is just something about 43 three cars running nose to tail and door handle to door handle at close to 200 mph for lap after lap and only breaking up to stop for fuel and tires, (when necessary). I don’t care what some may say, it is quite an awe-inspiring site to behold. For NASCAR fans, it is something they often looked forward to.

And then one day, the drivers discovered a thing called the tandem (or two car) draft. After that, it was goodbye to pack racing and hello to multiple two car hookups and multiple radio channels so the drivers could communicate with their chosen drafting partner (or partners) so they wouldn’t wreck each other trying to outrun the other two car tandem drafts.

Of course, we all know what happened next. NASCAR (at the request of the fan’s I might add) started a series of rule changes that would hopefully eliminate the two car tandem and get the field back to pack racing. Well… they did finally make it, and from this fan’s view, have not only made the two car tandem acceptable but, have returned Super Speedway racing to an even more acceptable level. The latest combination of pack racing and two car tandem offers NASCAR fans everywhere renewed interest in something they loved and now have added the new dimension of pack racing and two car drafts along with tension and drama galore.

This fan loves the latest Super Speedway racing at Daytona and Talladega and enjoys the fact the results generally are unknown until the last straightaway as they pass under the flag-stand. (Who could ask for a better way to end a race?)

Now you might be asking if I care that the drivers have very mixed emotions about driving the restrictor plate races and that many (especially those in the Chase) hope they aren’t caught up in the proverbial big one. Many of those same drivers say their stress level is the highest at this type track as any other they race at and they mostly just endure them and are quickly ready to move on to the next “normal” race.

As for how the race will go this afternoon in Alabama, everyone has already called it as a race anyone could win. The regular Chasers hope to finish somewhere in the the top ten or fifteen rather than in the garage area and way back in the finishing order after “The Big One” while others hope to gain back some points on those ahead of them. I can’t say I disagree with the assessment and it is true… this is one race that anyone of the 43 could win and it is just as likely it will be someone other than a Chaser.

From this fan’s view, this is one race I love to watch from beginning to end even if they do tend to play follow the leader at times. I also admit that I would like to see the points battle heat up a bit more because of this race at Talladega. I would like nothing better to see the top two or three drivers finish very near the back of this one just so the others can play some catch up. Of course, that does mean all of the others in the top twelve would have to finish at the front end of the field if they hope to gain any positions in the standings.

Now, I do have to ask this one question of you concerning Jeff Gordon. Do any of you think he has a chance of winning this afternoon and actually gaining some points on the leaders??

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 7, 2012 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions