Unprotected Walls and Another Lead Change

Dale Wilkerson                                                                                            April 2011

I have a few things on my mind today, and before I pounce on Talladega, I have to back up to Texas last week.
Once again a driver has smacked a wall that does not have safer barriers installed. I mean don’t the drivers know where the safer barriers are located? Well the answer is yes and sadly they can also tell track owners where they need to be installed.

Mark Martin # 5 hits hard on the Texas Motorspeedway Backstretch that has no SAFER BarrierGetty Images

Jeff Gordon had a hard crash at Las Vegas a few years back on an inside wall. There was Tony Stewart who pounded the inside back stretch wall at Charlotte and Jeff Fuller at Kentucky just to name a few.
Mark Martin hit the inside wall at Texas twice after contact with Martin Truex. There is no excuse for Mark Martin or any other driver hitting a wall at any NASCAR sanctioned track that does not have safer barriers in place. This wreck at Texas should remind track owners to make things as safe as possible for the drivers, and if track owners don’t make those repairs, perhaps NASCAR could pull dates from those tracks until corrections have been made.

Race fans were entertained by 312 laps of racing this weekend at Talladega. With a combined 144 official lead changes in both events, fans witnessed the top spot change hands once every 2.16 laps. One word best describes the racing for the top of the leader board: WOW!!!
A lot of fans still complain about the two car drafts, but do you remember the old restrictor plate races. For many years it was get in line behind Earnhardt (Senior or Junior) and ride to the finish.
Yes there were some exciting plate races prior to the new car being introduced, but many of them looked like the first half of the ARCA race from early Saturday morning.

The draft means more today than ever before, but one car can’t work it alone. If our option is what we have today or the old cars, I want today because I like to see the lead swap hands early and often.
This may be as close as we get to the Talladega and Daytona races prior to July 1987. That July the cars used smaller  C-90 carburetors before switching to the restrictor plates for Daytona Speedweeks 1988.
Both the Nationwide and the Sprint Cup races looked like races from several years back, when drivers would get their car hooked up and make a charge for the lead. Sunday Dave Blaney had a strong running going late until he fell victim to a nudge from Kurt Busch. Saturday Mike Wallace and Joe Nemechek were on their way to a one/two finish until another late caution forced a green/white/checkered finish. Wallace ended up rolling over on the next caution while Nemechek snagged a third place finish.

Even the finish of the Sprint Cup race, who would have thought even with two laps to go that Johnson and Earnhardt Jr., would have been near the lead much less going for the win, but they did just that. This was Talladega, and it was almost the way a lot of us remember it being.