Sunday, April 27, 2008

Talladega: Mysterious and Mystical

Talladega is mysterious. After seventy-eight historic races there, what will happen next is still unknown. It carries a mystical legend with it. It was reportedly built on a Native American burial ground and the restless spirits are said to influence incidents on the track.
That influence could have manifested during the Nationwide Series race Saturday, when Kevin Lepage mysteriously entered the track from pit lane directly in front of the entire field, specifically in front of Carl Edwards, who was travelling 100 mph faster than Lepage. The result was "The Big One," involving fourteen cars.
The Big One is what many fans look forward to when watching the race, and for those who don't enjoy seeing such carnage, it is the fear of the Big One that adds to the excitement. The race fan never knows if it is going to be his or her favorite driver that will have to retire from the race or be removed from reasonable competition because of a wrecked car.
But often, not always, there is some good racing going on at Talladega. Sure, it is restrictor-plate racing, but, unlike Daytona, the other restrictor-plate track, the drivers often go three or four wide, and the cars are packed even closer together. That produces the conditions for the Big One, but, if the cars are set up right, it also means some interesting side by side racing.
The cars weren't set up last October at Talledega, and the race turned out to be a boring single file 200 mph parade, but now that the teams have some more experience with the new car, today's Aaron's 499 should be someshat better. Hopefully.
Earnhardt, Jr should win. We really want him to win, and he deserves a win. So does Tony "Smoke" Stewart, and the way those two worked with each other most of the time during the Nationwide Series race, yesterday was an awesome example of precision driving. Maybe we can see some more of that today.
Until the checkered flag waves, however, we will be mystified by the mysteries of Talladega.

1 comment:

Ovalscream said...

Great piece, Jim ... I enter the race at Tally now officially mystified. I'm throwing the bones for Jimmy J., m'self, but the oracle says nothing yet about the winner ...