It’s been a darn tootin’ minute since Ol’ Lefty has had much to say about NASCAR, but this is ‘Dega, and we don’t ignore Talladega ’round these parts. The best (and worst) thing to ever happen to my beloved NASCAR was called Talladega Nights, and it was all because of this race. If ya watched on Sunday, then ya know why this track is the 2nd home of stock car racin’.
It ain’t just a big honkin’ donut of tar, it’s also the fastest track on Mother Earth. Before them boys in the scoring tower decided to muck with the engines, a guy named Rusty Wallace clicked off a lap at 216 miles per hour. It’s the longest circuit in the series at 2.66 miles, and somebody forgot the measurin’ tape when they painted the stripe cuz the finish line ain’t in the middle where it belongs. Ain’t no big deal, right? Wrong, but I’ll learn ya that lesson in a bit. For now, just remember that ‘Dega brings out the best from the cars.
That’s all well and good until ya mention THE BIG ONE and the TALLADEGA CURSE. Either one gets guys shakin’ in their fire suits. Some say the track sits on a cursed indian burial ground. Others say a mystic shaman cursed the whole freakin’ valley after the Civil War. Another tall tale claims that way back when the chief was out racin’ horses on the grounds and met his maker when his horse threw him like a bad habit. Heck, on Friday there was lightnin’ hitting the grandstands and a twister threatenin’ to send haulers into the upper atmosphere. Somebody up there must hate this place.
True or not, there’s somethin’ about racin’ here that scares the crap outta people, and rightfully so. Half the safety doohickeys we got in racin’ are because of wrecks that killed people at ‘Dega. Nowadays its got less to do with curses and more about cars acting like airplanes and catchin’ the fence or 20 car pileups in the high banked corners. Now ya know some history, so let’s see which demons came out to play on Sunday.
The combo of restrictor plates and the new splitter/wing package turned Talladega Nights into Dancin’ With the Cars. It was all about pickin’ yer pardner and doin’ the Tango for 500 miles. Long story short, 1 car goes slower than 2 hooked together, but 3 go slower than 2. Kinda like bein’ married… 2′s a good number, but 3 will getcha in a heapa trouble. Some guys got it right. JR spent so much time pushin’ the 48 that you’d think it was a shoppin’ cart. Little E was a favorite in this one and it’s been 100 since his last champagne shower, but he chose to shove Jimmie across the stripe first. Bein’ a good teammate I guess, but Jeff Gordon might disagree since he got freight-trained in the last 100 yards and ended up 3rd when nobody would push him.
So Jimmie took the checkers in one of the closest finishes in history at just .002 seconds ahead of first loser Clint Bower, and you can thank that schmuck with the paint brush I mentioned earlier. Usually the stripe would be in the middle of the front stretch, but some knucklehead decided the finish at ‘Dega should be all the way into Turn 1. That extra asphalt gave JJ the time he needed to steal a W. As if he needed any more freebies.
If Johnson had the good luck charm, who had a visit from The Curse? On this Sunday, the curse went by the name of Kurt Busch. His front bumper sent Vickers, Keselowski, and Blaney into tornado spins causin’ 3 different smackups. Those wrecks collected Kahne, Ambrose, and rookie wonder Trevor Bayne. Last week’s winner Kenseth and KyBusch also got tangled up in a wreck that took out Hamlin and The Dinger after the smoke cleared. Guess the only silver linin’ on this cloud would be that The Big One never showed it’s ugly face.
The teams are outta ‘Bama now and most of ‘em aren’t lookin’ back. They’re busy thankin’ the calendar that Easter is this weekend and they get some extra time to get their nerves back before Richmond. Until then, I’m gonna continue the ongoing feud with my liver and see if I can drown it in Jack Daniels. Yer welcome to join me, if ya like.