Monday, May 8, 2017

Talladega Spring 2017 Big One

I don't mind seeing a wreck every once in a while as long as the drivers in NASCAR are okay. However, there are points where it's a surprise despite the big damage to the cars, the drivers are okay with maybe some minor scruffs. Sunday's race at Talladega was an indicator that even with driver's being okay after the Big One, it's still something that is scary.

Late in the race, Chase Elliott and AJ Allmendinger are almost bumper to bumper. That's Talladega racing. Everybody late in a run is bunched up together, jockeying for position to get to the top five or ten. Elliott gets loose and Allmendinger taps the back of his car just a tiny bit. When you're going 190 miles an hour, it's mayhem. The result was an 18 car pile up. Eliott's car almost flipped and almost went off the track. Allmendinger's flipped a few times and stopped upside down. Safety crew members would flip it back gently. It was a red flag for a while as the track was cleaned up before the race finished with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. getting his first win in the Monster Energy Cup Series.

Just the way that Big One unfolded, it looked really bad. Elliott took some big licks from Joey Logano, Trevor Bayne, and a few other drivers when his car was facing the wall. I'm amazed he didn't wind up a major injury. The same can be said for Allmendinger. Looking at the video, Logano's car put him on its side, which is one of the reasons the car went upside down and stayed that way. Head on, some of these cars took a heavy dose of damage. That's the great thing about what NASCAR has been for the last 15 years since Dale Earnhardt's death in 2001. Protection is a key, and we have been able to see this where drivers are protected everywhere in their body.

A big one at Talladega is always expected, but not like this. Aggression is not always a bad thing, but caution has to be advised when 20 cars or more are altogether with half a second to second differential. This race was a reminder that although there were no major injuries, things can change in a flash on and off the track.

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