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Talla"draga"

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Amp Energy 500

Talla"draga"

Jeremy T. Sellers
Jerm's Joint
November 2, 2009

Today on NASCAR.com, Joe Menzer has a great article on his take of Sunday's race. Now, I don't usually agree with much of what he writes, he really hit some of the ol' rusty nails on the head, and issues some challenges to NASCAR to "fix it". I would go for about the first two-thirds of the prose, but there are items that I do take issue.

Jimmie wants to bring out the bulldozers and flatten the turns at Talladega. What?! The unfortunate circumstance nowadays is this is something NASCAR will seriously consider. However, if "Dega" falls and becomes "Draga", we know indeed, which track will be next! That's right, Daytona. Though I can't think of a good nickname for what it would become after knocking the turns out here, the same rules apply. There is a reason we go to these tracks. (I've been to Daytona more times than I can count and have been to Talladega twice) It's the speed, the inherent element of danger, knowing that one false move could have a devestating domino effect and a long thought philosophy that not always do the best cars win at these tracks. Big Bill knew this as well. However, this isn't the first time safety concerns have been front page news here. Even before the inaugural event in 1969, there was a driver boycott. Though France, himself, demonstrated you could travel the track safely at high speeds, the initial field was filled with "scab" drivers.

Call me what you want. Personally I'll take the "sick bastard" approach when I go out on a limb and state that we as fans are absolutely juiced by the styles of racing that occur at these two tracks. We are infatuated with cars hovering around the 195 mph mark, running bumper to bumper, and using simple aerodynamics to sling-shot around a rival driver. Our hearts stop and we audibly gasp in disbelief when the "big one" happens, but again, this is just part of the allure and superspeedway racing. We love wrecks, but we obviously hope that no one is hurt.

Take the turns out and you rob what makes Talladega and Daytona the monster fan-favorites they have become. Flatten these venues out, and you have created nothing more than half-mile longer sleepathons than what California and Michigan are today. Racing is dangerous. It's part of the American adrenaline rush that attracts us to edge-living events as long as no one gets hurt or dies. However, with inherent danger, eventually comes those two items. It can't be stopped no matter how hard NASCAR tries to water down what was once great. Guys and gals will still be injured or die at local tracks. Fans will still get nailed with debris. Do I wish this on anyone? Obviously not, especially in my line of work. However, follow the current path, and maybe we should just outlaw auto racing.

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