Many Problems With Racing at Talladega, But No Solutions

It has been a few days since the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway and listening to all the criticisms about the race reminds me of, well, me. I’ve never liked plate racing and still don’t. All that rage and anger over the result of the carnage has either fallen on deaf ears or the cheers from the assembled crowd have drowned out all of that. The most recent race at Talladega was a demolition derby. Of the cars that finished the race, the number of cars not involved in a wreck was in the single digits. Many drivers wanted to be on the couch at home and others didn’t think they needed to be there because of their position of being winners and qualified for the almighty Chase or ahead enough in the points to not have to be there.

The racing can get really exciting for the fans, but it might have created the renewal of a familiar feud. In a race where everyone is aggressive, mainly to the threat of weather, Joey Logano made a move that pushed Matt Kenseth low, or “off the track” as Kenseth said. It didn’t result in damage to either car, but it opened up a wound that goes back to last year. Kenseth seems very touchy when it comes to any racing with Logano. I saw the same move many times in the race, but no one seemed to get upset. That is, except Kenseth. He made his point clear in finger-pointing at Logano on national television in what many would consider bullying, which everyone will be on the lookout for payback at Kansas, the scene of the great spin at the same track that started the whole thing in the beginning, but that’s not my point.

We’ve had this argument forever. The day Bobby Allison sailed into the catch fence at Talladega, it’s been plates and will be in my lifetime. There doesn’t seem to be a solution and how could there be with 40 cars running at those speeds inches apart? The fans love it and come out in numbers to see the close racing and, unfortunately, the wrecks. I once wrote a piece here to say these races are not racing, but it wasn’t popular. And like Brad Keselowski said in the winner’s interview, in a day when folks just don’t like the product except at Daytona and Talladega, capitalism wins. I give up.

NASCAR is apparently looking at how to keep the cars on the ground during these races, but no scientist seems to have a solution, as it has been forever, it seems. No one got hurt (badly) or killed on Sunday at the race, but it becomes obvious that a solution is not forthcoming. That being said, we go to Daytona in July. Expect more of the same.

The drivers, once upon a time, felt racing at Talladega was not safe and a group of drivers banded together and left the track and didn’t race, including the stars of the sport. Big Bill France pointed his finger and everyone was back at the next race. With the driver’s council taking a stand over Tony Stewart’s fine last week, will they try to make a move on this issue, and boycott Daytona? What would Brian France do if that happens? I don’t think we will find out. For now, it will be status quo.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Ron Fleshman
Ron Fleshman
Ron Fleshman has followed NASCAR racing since attending his first race at Martinsville Speedway in 1964. He joined the Motor Sports Forum on the CompuServe network in the 1980s and became a reporter for Racing Information Systems in 1994. In 2002, he was named NASCAR Editor for RIS when it appeared on the World Wide Web as He can now be found at Ron is a member of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association. You can find Ron following and reporting on the top three NASCAR divisions each week. As a lifer in his support of racing, he attends and reports on nearly 30 events a year and as a member of the motor sports media, his passion has been racing for 47 years. He lives with his family in rural West Virginia and works in the insurance industry when not on the road to another track.


  1. Simple solution. Turn off the NASCAR and watch Indycar or Motogp. Both are WAY better racing a far more exciting than modern day NASCAR. NASCAR circa 2002-2006 was amazing, 2008+ will go down as the “Brian France disaster era”

  2. I sure wonder if one of the best things to do for these plate tracks – go back to single file restarts, lap cars inside. 10 or less laps, single file lap cars at tail. Like I recall it used to be. Double file restarts are not a good idea. And if the sanctioning body really wants to institute ‘safety’, then this change should be top of the list. For both consideration and implementation. Wasn’t there some earlier discussion about, we implemented the double file restarts to make it more fun for the fans? Well let’s make it safer for the drivers, and I believe the racing would be better.

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