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Flat Spot On: Why No Fights At Talladega?

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, October 20 2014

Brad Keselowski had a nice quiet day at Talladega on Sunday. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Rusty Jarrett)

TALLADEGA, Ala. – I went to Talladega to see a fight and a race broke out.

Following the car bashing by Brad Keselowski and the headlocking by Matt Kenseth in Charlotte, it was reasonable to think more tempers would flare in the elimination race of the second round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship.

But upon further review, after arriving at the Alabama track on Sunday morning I couldn’t recall ever seeing any post-race fights among the drivers. I asked around – veterans from Goodyear tires, PR guys who’d seen it all, fellow journalists with gray-haired tenure and even Felix Sabates, whose actual age remains under intense speculation.

Nobody could remember having seen a fight at Talladega despite many, many multi-car “Big Ones,” which is racing-speak for FUBAR and WTF.

So here follows my top-10 list of why drivers do not immediately seek fisticuffs after races at Talladega:

1.) Cale Yarborough, Bobby and Donnie Allison are retired.

2.) After the Big One, the wrecked drivers go looking for the guy who built Talladega, but never can seem to find Big Bill France.

3.) The Hendrick Motorsports drivers prefer a meeting over milk and cookies to fistfights.

4.) All the drivers are on their best behavior because they remember that guy who stole the pace car and what happened once the Alabama State Troopers caught up with him.

5.) Why use your fists if you can sling your HANS Device?

6.) A NASCAR focus group has determined that fights are more likely to happen between 11 p.m. and midnight

Fans got to see fast cars and big stars at Talladega on Sunday, but not the kind of extracurricular activities that took place at Charlotte the week before. (RacinToday/HHP photo by David Tulis)

on Saturdays. (Stay tuned for more night races on the 2016 schedule.)

7.) Ernie Irvan is retired.

8.) Fists thrown in the ambulance or the NASCAR hauler out of sight from the fans don’t count.

9.) Drivers are just happy to be in one piece once the race is over and prefer to leave as soon as possible.

10.) Brad Keselowski gets his car through the garage quickly and then gets out too fast for anybody to catch him.

As it turned out, nobody could catch Keselowski on the final lap in the Geico 500. And Kenseth, who needed points to advance, helped push last week’s fight adversary into the lead. So Talladega remains very unpredictable, right down to the strange phenomena of no post-race fights (among drivers – not the fans in the infield!).

It looks like the new Chase format is working. The pressure’s on to win, run up front or go home from the championship. For drivers who might look for NASCAR CEO Brian France to thank him for this revitalization of Talladega and the Sprint Cup in general, well, finding him in the garage proved difficult.

France was probably setting up a focus group to look at adding a third race at Talladega – two during the Chase – moving at least six more races to Saturday night and maybe making that third Talladega race a double points event.

Other than that, it’s racing as usual!

– Jonathan Ingram can be reached at jingram@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, October 20 2014
One Comment

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  • docg says:

    Very funny!! No real racing occurs at Talladega. Three+ hours of watching freeway traffic go by followed by a hellacious crash or two and ANYBODY driving home the “winner.” It would be just as meaningful to draw numbers out of a hat to determine the finishing order. Want to know why no fights at ‘Dega? No meaningful racing occurs to get people upset and the drivers know results are a total crapshoot. There is no racer’s pride on the line at this clusterf**k.