Frustrations run high at Talladega - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

NASCAR NOTES: Frustrations run high at Talladega as Kenseth wins

Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images
Glenn Campbell - "The Lugnut Cowboy" Glenn Campbell - "The Lugnut Cowboy"

Everyone knows that "The Big One" is coming but, no one knows when. That's part of the excitement in the grandstands each time we go to Talladega. This year was no disappointment but, the lack of control frustrated many drivers.

Matt Kenseth spent most of his time Sunday afternoon running at the front of the field and that strategy played out in his favor as most of the cars behind him crashed in the last turn for his 23rd career Cup Series win.

"As you saw today, and you've seen a lot of times, there is no safe place," commented the race winner after the dust settled. "You've got to race sooner or later. The last lap is the last lap. Everybody's trying to get to the front. I'd rather already be there if we can be."

Jeff Gordon finished second, but wasn't a big fan of this type of racing.

"It's just part of racing here at Talladega. You have to accept it," said Gordon after the race. "You put a lot of faith in your safety equipment and you kind of white-knuckle, hold on tight."

Tony Stewart claimed credit for causing the accident that damaged so many cars on the final lap, and offered an apology to his fellow drivers.

"I was trying to win the race and trying to stay ahead of Matt," explained Stewart on his ill planned move. "It was just a mistake on my part, but it cost a lot of people a bad day because of it."

Gordon was one of those drivers that used to enjoy strapping into the cockpit on the high banks of Talladega, but those days seem long past for the four-time champion.

"I remember when coming to Talladega was fun. I really do," continued the multi-Talladega winner. "I haven't experienced that in a long, long time. I don't like coming here, and I don't like the type of racing that I have to do."

Gordon wasn't alone in his frustration as his sentiments were echoed by his teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

"Somebody was going to wreck," Earnhardt said. "There's been a last-lap wreck in like 90 percent of these things for the last four years with this car."

Earnhardt and his father made their reputation of being the best in these restrictor plate races. However, his desire to continue in the current format is quickly fading away.

"I can't believe anybody is sensible enough to realize how ridiculous that was," continued NASCAR's most popular driver. "It is ridiculous that all those cars got tore up, but everybody's just, ho-hum. No big deal. I don't even want to go to Daytona and Talladega next year, but I ain't got much choice."

The drivers might be frustrated with this type of action, but they understand the fans' point of view as well.

"If I'm a fan, I would love that," said Gordon when asked. "I think it is incredibly intense. It's wild, and it's crazy."

NASCAR is hoping the new Cup Series car for 2013 will find a balance between satisfying the driver's position on safety and the fans' desire for excitement. We won't know if that will happen until next February in Daytona.

Until then, all we can do is shake our heads and admit that it's just Talladega.

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