Wednesday, May 09, 2012

TALLEDEGA: HOT, HOT HOT, AND NOT JUST THE WEATHER


With a classic slingshot move, and five laps into overtime, Joey Logano sped past Kyle Busch to win the Aaron's 312 of the Nationwide Racing Series. The race saw Eric McClure injured in what could have been a very bad situation if not for the safety changes implemented by NASCAR. Logano won by just 0.034 seconds to win his 2nd Nationwide race this season, and the 11th of his career. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. came in third taking the points lead away from Elliot Sadler. Cole Whitt was fourth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top five. Danica Patrick finished a respectable 13th but used her car to push Sam Hornish Jr. into the wall after a perceived infraction after the checkered flag was waved. The race was red flagged after a nine car pileup at the start of the green-white-checkered finish at lap 117. McClure got the worst of the collision by running into the SAFER barrier on the inside of the backstretch going into turn 3. The driver was awake and talking to workers and then airlifted to UAB Hospital for further evaluation. At this writing he has been released from hospital and is being treated for concussion. Overheating appeared to be less of a problem than expected but was keeping the drivers and crews aware of the any problems that could arise.

The Sprint Cup's Aaron's 499 at Talladega gave Brad Keselowski a big win and gave Kyle Busch another second place win in as many days. Keselowski was leading with Busch pushing going into the last lap. Then Kes went high going into the third turn and gained separation from Kyle, that let him drive untouched to the checkered flag, a move he later stated wasn't easy to convince himself of doing, but turned out to be the right move. Matt Kenseth was third, and Kasey Kahne, who is starting to show a lot better, took fourth, Greg Biffle, who is still Sprint Cup points leader rounded out the top five.
The tandem racing that NASCAR so wants to remove from the superspeedways has diminished somewhat from the rule changes that were brought in after last season. But, there appears to be a new Pandora's box with those changes. The cars appear to be overheating quite easily even when they are in the middle of "pack" racing which is not the way NASCAR inttended this to go, but it appears changes are not on the horizon going into the warm summer and the next restrictor plate meeting in Daytona.

The ARCA Racing Hall of Fame 250 was won by Brandon McReynolds, son of long time crew chief and now Speed Channel commentator Larry McReynolds. The race was held up for a spectacular crash involving Mike Affarano. His car did a 6.5 rollover crash that saw a tire and the engine dislodged from the car. These crashes show how the changes since the 2001 loss of Dale Earnhardt Sr. have made this sport more and more safety oriented, and this writer's feeling is the safety changes along with pertinent rule changes give an action packed sport the same bang for the buck fan fun as can be expected.

3 comments:

Zebster said...

No doubt the racing is much safer these days. Kasey also missed 3 wrecks, which is unusual for him. The Petty cars were respectable as well.

dasnake said...

you rascal, you were watching.

R.J. said...

I actually watched all three races last weekend and I'm happy no one was seriously hurt this time. I always worry during the ARCA races something will happen.