The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

October 8, 2012

Drivers grumbling after wreckfest at Talladega

(Continued)

The result? Four ridiculous races this season.

A jet-dryer explosion in the season-opening Daytona 500 overshadowed the fact that there were three multi-car accidents, including one that knocked out Jimmie Johnson on the second lap of the race and an eight-car wreck that sent the race into overtime. And, after an 11-car last-lap accident took out all the leaders in the Nationwide race, drivers warned of the danger going into the Daytona 500.

Drivers can either run out front all race and hope for the best or hang back and then go for it late — in packs.

"I feel like we walk a line in this sport between daredevils and chess players," Brad Keselowski said in February. "When we come to Daytona and a track like this, we're maybe more on the daredevil side of the line. And then we go other places where I'd say we're more on the chess-player side of the line. I think it's important to have tracks like this that maybe average it back out a little bit.

"Ideally, we'd like to just walk straight down the line all the time. But from a standpoint of the sport and the health of it, I think not a lot of people watch chess matches, and I've never seen one televised."

There was a nine-car accident with four laps to go at Talladega in May, and that was a day after Eric McClure was hospitalized following a late wreck in the Nationwide Series race. The race to the checkered flag at Daytona in July led to a 15-car accident on the final lap, and then came Sunday's demolition derby.

"There has been a last-lap wreck in like 90 percent of these things for the last four years with this car," said Earnhardt. "Somebody needs to change it."

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