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The Art of Racing 5-6
Talladega takes toll
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After a couple of weeks tackling the short tracks, the NASCAR Cup Series went to Talladega and what they got was a good old-fashioned demolition derby.
When NASCAR races at Talladega, you can always expect THE BIG ONE, and it’s not if, but when. Last Sunday’s GEICO 500 produced four big wrecks. At the end of the day, only 5 of the 40 cars that started the race were unscathed. David Ragan was one of the five, but he left the race with a blown engine.
Brad Keselowski won his second race of the year and 19th of his career. Much of the attention was given to the Joe Gibbs and Hendrick Motorsports racing teams since they have been dominant most of the year, but Keselowski had the strongest car on the track and he easily handled whatever racing took place.          
It is time to make some changes to restrictor plate racing. Crew chiefs are very limited in what adjustments they can make to the cars which results in most all the cars packed tightly together, racing at speeds close to 200 mph. Only one driver has to make a mistake and it results in accidents that involve many cars.  It happened four times Sunday and destroyed $3.5 million worth of cars.
While it may seem exciting to see cars spinning out of control and smashing into each other, a couple of the crashes had cars flipping upside down and tumbling down the track. The first of these airborne accidents occurred just past the halfway point when Chris Buescher was clipped in the right rear, forcing his car into a barrel roll down the backstretch. Buescher walked away unharmed.
Matt Kenseth led the second most laps in the race. Unfortunately, he got into another confrontation with Joey Logano as the laps were winding down and ended up back in the pack. With six laps to go, he made contact with Danica Patrick on the back straightaway, and ended up on his lid.
Kenseth had some harsh words for Logano after the race. The finger pointing by Kenseth indicated it was not a pleasant exchange. All the other drivers just brushed the incidents off as Talladega racing incidents, except Danica Patrick. She always has to blame someone for her mishaps and this time it was Michael McDowell. Danica, if you want to play with the big dogs, quit your whining.
Following doctors’ orders, Tony Stewart started the race but surrendered his seat to Ty Dillon following the first caution. Stewart was visibly upset following the lap-50 change, saying it sucked to get out of a perfectly good race car. “I know why we have to do it but it still sucks you have to do it,” Stewart said. 
With Stewart taking the green flag, he was destined to get the points the No. 14 earned. If by chance Dillon had been the first car to the checkered flag, Stewart would have been given the win.
One of the biggest surprises of the race was the problems Earnhardt Jr. had. 
Driving “Amelia,” a car nicknamed by Earnhardt during a run that included wins at Talladega and Daytona, NASCAR’s most popular driver entered the weekend as a favorite to win. However, in a similar tale to February’s Daytona 500, Earnhardt got loose off of a turn and was left driving to the garage with damage, finishing last.