Race Weekend Central

Superspeedway or Junkyard? Your Call

“The World’s Fastest Junkyard”


FOX’s Mike Joy may have coined the next great nickname for a track on the Sprint Cup track.  It’s a shame that Talladega won’t be able to use it in their promotional material.  Who wants to sell their multi-million dollar venue as a place where cars go to die?  Yes, over the years most fans realize that when we tune in twice a year to the superspeedway in Alabama, watching a high-stakes demolition derby is exactly what we’ve signed up for.


As long as ‘Dega and Daytona remain on the docket, we will be fighting with our consciences over whether we should find any enjoyment when cars are offered up to what is equal to unlimited amounts of TNT.  We’re watching an old Buster Keaton movie, waiting for the fuse to burn down and the mine to go BOOM.  Boy, did those bombs go off on Sunday.  56 cars were involved in wrecks over the afternoon–obviously some of them made repeat appearances with each agitation of the wrecking ball.


It’s funny, though, because there’s something else that is as sure as our quarterly visits to the restrictor plate tracks, NASCAR’s promise to revisit the current plate package and tweak aero, engine, brakes and tires for the next time to promote a safer race next time.


It’s true then.  Something we’ve known for a very long time.  Those who sign the big checks and make all the serious decisions in Daytona are insane.   Or else they would have stopped sending plate video and telemetry results to the R&D center in the hopes of finding a different result.  You know, something that more closely resembles a stock car race vs. an audition tape to gain entry into Dale Jr.’s auto mausoleum.


But no, Monday morning brought us the same old statements.  Statements that amounted to cars should not get airborne, the impacts to the wall were pretty serious, and parts failures like steering wheels shouldn’t be happening.  Something must be done! My goodness, we’ll have to study it and issue another slew of changes in time for the July Daytona production of the Blues Brothers’ cop car chase.


Will it get better?  Will we end up with the vehicles being able to pull away from one another and leave the massive pack racing behind? Would anybody tune in to watch a Talladega event where the only question is who is fastest, instead of who is just plain lucky.


Or maybe I’m insane. I seem to keep watching these demolition derbys and sit down on Monday afternoon hoping to pen a few meaningful sentences on Sunday’s entertainment.  Except nothing changes.


With the current aero packages, the insanity appears to be even more intense than before. Now it doesn’t matter if a rookie can’t keep his car pointed in the right direction, veteran track champions like Earnhardt have their cars spinning out from underneath them without any real driver error involved.   “It’s just plate racing,” has taken on a less-predictable facade.


At some point you would think that the checkbooks of the teams would simply lie down in protest and stop sending cash into the great plate race machine.  Stop wasting the money, the time, and stop lying to ourselves that it is somehow possible that this bastard child of auto racing could ever become something worthy of fixing.


Or maybe what we really want in life is exactly what we get, the World’s Fastest Junkyard.  In that case, just ignore me and carry on. It’s seems to be what happens anyway.



Well, it didn’t come to pass, but it could have.  Tony Stewart took the green flag in his No. 14 Bass Pro Shops car on Sunday.  But he hopped out after the caution flew on Lap 50 to save his still recovering back and Ty Dillon took over.  If the No. 14 went on to win, Dillon would have done the burn-out, but Stewart would have received the points for finishing the race.  And Stewart would have then been eligible for the Chase, if he managed to get to the top 30 in the standings.  However, Dillon only managed to take the checkers in sixth place.  A good points day for the team and a good showing for Dillon.






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