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Frightening crashes at Talladega have drivers demanding NASCAR changes


Carl Edwards flying through the air after getting tagged by Brad Keselowski in the final yards of Sunday's Talladega 500 (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   Unsung rookie Brad Keselowki pulled off one of the year's biggest upsets, in a dramatic, scary finish to the Talladega Aaron's 499 that ended when then-leader Carl Edwards crashed hard while blocking Keselowki's bid to pass on the inside – a move quite similar to what happened here the last lap last fall.
   Last year Regan Smith was trying to pass Tony Stewart on the inside for the win, in the same section of the frontstretch trioval. But when Stewart moved down to block – just as Edwards did Sunday – Smith moved down to avoid hitting Stewart. Smith crossed the finish line then ahead of Stewart but NASCAR penalized Smith for going below the yellow line, a controversial call.
   The Edwards-Keselowski finish here Sunday was a replay of that Smith-Stewart battle – and it showed exactly what would have happened to Stewart last year here if Smith had held his ground.
     Edwards' car went flipping in the air, and fortunately the catch-fence caught his car and kept it from flying into the stands. The flip was too familiar to the Bobby Allison crash here in 1987 that led NASCAR to slow speeds by putting restrictor plates on cars.
   Edwards and other drivers were clearly shaken by the crash, and angry. Edwards' car smashed down on Ryan Newman's roof and then caught fire.
   "I'm fine," Edwards said after coming out of the infield hospital.
   "I'm glad it didn't push the rollcage down on my neck…because that would have been bad. I was just glad there wasn't anything stuck in my body," Edwards said.
   "We'll race like this until they kill somebody.
    "I'm just glad the car didn't go up into the stands."
   Edwards didn't blame Keselowski: "That's what Brad was supposed to do. He just made that move so quickly I didn't realize he was there.
   "Brad was pushing, and he was going high and high, and I didn't know he was that low when I went to block him."
   Newman: "We've seen that twice this weekend, with Carl and with Greg Biffle. Maybe we need to look at doing something about this. To keep these cars on the ground. Not just for the drivers  but for the fans too.
   "We call that particular rollbar the 'Earnhardt' bar for a reason – and it saved me today.
   "Talladega is short for 'we know we're going to crash, we just don't know when.'"
   Keselowski has only driven a handful of NASCAR Cup races; he's driving for outspoken and controversial owner James Finch, as part of a Rick Hendrick operation.
   "How about that team, how about those fans – this is the greatest show on earth," a jubilant Keselowski said.
   "This is NASCAR racing and this is cool.
   "I don't want to wreck a guy, but Carl knows the rules. I didn't want to go below the yellow line.
   "I felt bad watching Carl wrecking in my mirror. I hope he's okay."
    Jimmie Johnson was quite angry at a late crash which took him out of the race in the final miles and which cost him the Sprint Cup points lead: "It sucks racing here. Just looked like some guys didn’t have position and started beating on each other…"

Carl Edwards has to be thankful for the many safety features NASCAR has added to these race cars....but he and others are now demanding NASCAR take a new look at safety at Talladega (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


If NASCAR didn't own these

If NASCAR didn't own these tracks, would they still be racing at Talladega and Daytona?

With racing far superior to

With racing far superior to anything else, darned right they would.

Yep - that stupid enforcement

Yep - that stupid enforcement of the stupid 'double yellow line' crap last fall will eventually kill someone. All they had to do was enforce the rule correctly last fall - in which case the 01 would have been declared the winner (since he crossed the finish line first), but they wanted he 20 to win instead - so they changed their own rule right then.

It will happen on the backstretch too - like at Daytona when junior should have spun the 83 when he was inside his fender and the 83 ran him into the grass. However, when Junior didn't wreck him in front of the field, but instead tried to get back on the track (from the dusty apron) he just misjudged by an inch - and wrecked the 83 anyway - which was just the continuation of the wreck that the 83 started when he ran the 88 off the track. The 83 only did that because he knew the 88 couldn't go below the dreaded 'double yellow line'.

From now on, unless they fix the double yellow line stupidity, drivers should just drive right through any fool who tries to run them off the track - which is what the double yellow line is - the diveder between on the track and off. The 20 (fall 08 'dega), the 83 (spring '09 Daytona), and the 99 (spring '09 'dega) - all tried to run other drivers off the track. The 01 and the 88 took it and refused to wreck everyone behind them by driving through the car that ran them off track - but the 09 did not. I say everyone take note - do not let anyone drive you off the track - drive through them instead, and just hope they don't kill anyone behind you - it is not the victim's fault - it is the fault of NASCAR for making the double yellow line rule - and of the driver who tries to force someone below that line.

Michael Baker

It's not just the double

It's not just the double yellow line at these two tracks, it's the whole "blocking" thing that has become all the rage lately.

Instead of racing the guy coming up on the inside or outside, the leading driving throws his car into the line of the other car, forcing that driver to make a decision, "do I want to be the guy that wrecks a bunch of cars or will I back off and play it safe?"

This kid (I can't spell his name yet) said, "I'm holding my line...come down on me, expect to get wrecked", which is what people like Allison, Yarborough and Pearson used to say..."I was holding my line, I had the position, he came down on me".

You can still force a guy high or low by using track position, but I see more and more guys violently whipping their car into the path of a charging car. If more drivers would hold their line and damn the consequences, this type blocking would soon go out of style.

It's always about Joonyer

It's always about Joonyer isn't it ?

Build more short tracks....

Build more short tracks....

The answer to Daytona and

The answer to Daytona and Talladega is to pull the restrictor plates and let them run as fast as they can; with no front spoiler, no rear wing, no tape allowed on the nose, and use skinny tires. I imagine those changes would have them off the gas going into turns 1 and 3...

They'd wind up 20 rows up in

They'd wind up 20 rows up in the stands.

That's the 5&5 rule Anonymous advocates. It doesn't work. The drivers are not going to lift.

Lets see, Win a race or risk

Lets see, Win a race or risk killing a fellow driving or fans?

I think Regan Smith is the one who will sleep well at night. Do you think Brad would really enjoy his win if Carl had been killed? From his interview, Probably.

I know the wall street guys

I know the wall street guys don't have a risk management department but I gotta believe NASCAR does. What are the chances they pull the insurance policy on the big old Alabama race track? Or turn it into a flat road race?

Hello, A man called into

A man called into "Windtunnel" last night to tell Dave that Nascar should adopt the Indy Car and F1 "NO BLOCKING RULE". It would have eliminated Carl's wreck yesterday, Kyle's going off Jeff's bumper, Vicker's blocking Jr. at Daytona, etc..
Marybeth Wallick

It doesn't work that hot in

It doesn't work that hot in IRL and it's none of NASCAR's business to begin with. They had a "no bump" zone at Daytona in 2006 and it was broken almost as soon as the 500's green waved.

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