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Frightening crash mars Nationwide finish, but safety fences do the job

  Dennis Setzer flies at Talladega in last lap Nationwide crash (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)



   By Mike Mulhern


   Safety is always an issue here at NASCAR's fastest track, and that was certainly the case in Sunday evening's Nationwide finish.
   Stronger catch fences here, a result of last spring's frightening crash, may have made a big difference in the race-ending crash, when Dennis Setzer got caught up in a wild crash on the final lap.
    Setzer's car went up over the Safer barrier wall and into the catch fence, and then caught fire. Setzer escaped without serious injury.
    View the incident here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQBTwvTaeTc
   But that incident raised the safety issue again, in several aspects.
   The accident occurred when Jamie McMurray and Kevin Harvick – the same two who had battled earlier for the win in the Sprint Cup 500 – were battling for the win in the second feature of the day's double-header, with Harvick's teammate Clint Bowyer.
     Brad Keselowski wound up winning the race, and he was surprised.
   "About 30 minutes ago I did another green-white-checkered, in the Cup race, and I hit pretty hard...and I didn't think I'd get approved to run this race, because my carbon monoxide levels were too high, in the infield care center," Keselowski said. "My level was a 13, and the NASCAR limit was five. So I couldn't be released from the care center until my levels were down to five. Kudoes to the care center; I was a real jerk. But they put me on oxygen as long as they could, until I took five. I think that was 45 minutes on pure oxygen. If the race had started five minutes earlier I wouldn't have been able to start."
    If he hadn't been given a final okay, he wouldn't be the Nationwide tour points leader, and he might have lost a shot at the championship – he's hoping to give team owner Roger Penske his first NASCAR championship.
    A big plus for Penske and Keselowski is that Dodge boss Ralph Gilles was on hand for the win.

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   Seconds later Setzer's car explodes in flames. But he was uninjured (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

For a moment there, Seltzer's

For a moment there, Seltzer's crash reminded me of Russell Phillips' fatal crash at Charlotte years ago, sideways on retaining wall. Glad to see he wasn't seriously hurt or injured and walked away from the wreck. Also, I've noticed how his car became airborne after being "pinched" between the wall and Paul Menard's #98, maybe it was his right front tire's momentum and foot in the gas, against the retaining wall that propelled him upwards into the catch fence more so than the spoiler.

Also, think back to Carl Long's wreck at Rockingham, not nearly as fast as Talladega but he flipped too with that right front hitting the wall first.


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