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Talladega race issues November 3, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season.
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Hey! Today I’m busy answering emails and believe me my mail box at ClaireBMail [at] ClaireBLang.com is full of emails on all sides of the Talladega race issues. I thought you might like to see some of my emails and so I’ve posted a bunch of them along with my answers.

Let me tell you something the wrecks at Talladega sure get attention. I was at the grocery store today and at Starbucks and folks who never even watch racing knew of the wrecks. It’s kind of sad that cars flipping end over end get so much attention from folks who don’t know about our sport. But it does get the headline, the photo, the Sportscenter video replay and the conversation jazzed up.

Here’s a list of emails from my box today.

Claire B

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CBL: The the morons in the media (d cross for one) try to tell us to love Johnson…. we’ll hate him –all there is to it…We hate the points system and Johnson is a part of it…He’s only a 2 time champ in my mind.. so they don’t need push this whole making history of 4 time champ …In my world he’s going for number 3 right now and is about 80 points out of the lead..France and Johnson can kiss my…I hate what they’ve done to this sport…

Hey – I have an issue with the Minn. Vikings too cause I’m a Packer Fan – but even if you hate Johnson isn’t he just doing his job? If your favorite driver was doing same would you feel better/happy? Just asking.

CBL

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Claire,

NASCAR has put cowl flaps on the cars to keep the front end on the ground. They have put flaps on the roof so when they get sideways they will stay on the ground. So when are they going to engineer flaps on the trunk so when they get backwards they stay on the ground??

Can you ask NASCAR this question for me and let me know what they say?

I’m tired of being worried when a driver flips like Newman did thinking that a trunk flap may help a driver when they get turned backwards.

Rush Cregger
Virginia

Hey Rush: I’ll have Series Director John Darby on with me on “Dialed In” on Competition Wed on Wed. on my Sirius NASCAR Radio Show in the 7:00 EST time hour. I will ask him.Thanks Rush.
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Dear Claire;
Well I thought the race was really good, ok until 5 laps to go, there was a fair amount of side by side racing and yes strategy in the middle of the race. All and all pretty good racing until the 2 terrible accidents at the very end of the day. Thank goodness no one was hurt, Ryan Newman’s wreck was just frightening, and he had several valid points about this car going airborne too often at the superspeedways. After the race I heard a few comments that maybe the wing may be part of the problem with these flipping accidents and I have to wonder if it isn’t the reason too. In Ryan’s accident it almost seemed like an invisible hand pulled the car up by the wing, also the fact that the car has higher center of gravity forces more air under the car and that higher green house makes the car less stable at the wheels. And I don’t know what can be done to change this short of a complete change to either the car or the track, and neither will happen.
For all the complaints of drivers that they didn’t like NASCAR telling them how to drive, my question is what was NASCAR supposed to do. They were facing the fall out from the final lap accident in the spring they needed to react, certainly the car kept the drivers safe but what about the fans and track workers the bottom line is that they have to keep those cars earthbound. I think we confuse drafting and bump drafting with what goes on at the superspeedways and that is slam drafting. Too many drivers are slamming into the cars ahead of them and because of the center of gravity of these cars being so much higher the cars aren’t as stable and they can be turned into traffic in a split second. NASCAR is between a rock and a hard place here; they can’t and frankly won’t make infrastructure changes to try to prevent these accidents so they have to control how the drivers run the race to attempt to circumvent the big one.
As for the drivers what a fine day for Jamie McMurray, he was good all day and won the day on fumes, and nice finish for Dale Jr.. And if anyone needed that finish it was Dale, hopefully some much needed stability on the 88 team will translate to good finished. And we now know that Jimmie Johnson will be the champion, because frankly unless he is kidnapped by Bedouin’s the 48 team will not make the mistakes necessary for another team to win the title this year. And if a team had luck it was the 48 team yesterday, the car seemed off and at times he looked like he might loose the draft but Chad made maybe the best call maybe in the chase ever. Come in for gas before they red flagged the race, it kept Jimmie out of harms way for the final restart and gave him a great finish. Conversely for my driver Jeff Gordon the decision to stay out will be the one that cost them a chance at the title. To be fair Stevie was right every time on fuel mileage races and it did make sense not to give up the track position especially since they had a serious chance to win the race. With all that I have to think Stevie may second guess himself on that decision, certainly it was clear that they would need to red flag the race to aid Ryan and you take a chance with fuel pressure after the car is shut off. Still there is a lot to race for the 24 team, get as many wins as possible and finish in 2nd place, both are very reachable goals. And for Hendrick as an organization it would be to try to get Ryan Newman up to the top 5 and have all HMS cars and Stewart-Haas Cars in the top 5.
And a couple of final notes; what an excellent finish for Chrissie Wallace 13th in her first race at Talladega, after the race her dad just beamed. After watching Chrissie’s great day I still have to wonder why we don’t see more companies using racing to attract female fans. Why aren’t Revlon or L’Oreal or Victoria’s Secret sponsoring drivers aren’t like Chrissie Wallace or Sarah Fisher in IRL or Ashley Force-Hood, heck Ashley is racing for the Funny Car Championship. What these and many other companies forget is that half of racing fans are women the person in most homes who makes the purchases for the most part. They have the chance to attract customers and do a good thing by helping more young talented women race. Because without the dollars these young drivers will never get the chance to race, just look at Chrissie’s career. I have seen her in a few races and she is very good but it will be difficult to improve when she can’t race more than a couple times of year. And I know that you don’t cover F1 much but I did watch the end of the race and the new Abu Dhabi track is spectacular especially under the lights and there was some close racing at the end. I was shocked by the new driving champion Jensen Button doing everything but spinning out cars to try to finish in second.

Thank You, Sue from Shorewood, IL
Sue: Not much was said in the media about NASCAR doing this to try to ensure the safety of some of the very fans that it upset. I don’t think anyone wanted to see anyone hurt, drivers and especially fans. If it’s not the right solution or was made to last minute, well then something else will be thought of. Elliott Saddler suggested they lock the drivers in the room and have another meeting. Seems Talladega will always be insane. It seems there is no perfect solution to cars going that fast – Thanks for the email. I’ll continue to ask NASCAR their thoughts on aftermath. CBL

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Claire, firstly I want thank you for being the hardest working person in NASCAR radio. I truly feel you put the listeners first and appreciate your hard work. About the race…Jimmie Johnson commented this morning that Talladega is designed for speed and alluded to the potential risk as being more related to track design. I want to throw out the idea that what if the danger IS the track and, if so, all that NASCAR is doing such as the bump drafting enforcement and restrictor plates are just band-aids. Perhaps they need to drop the angles of the turns to force drivers to reduce their speeds. I know it is expensive, but what is a life worth?
On a second note, I have a big issue with NASCAR’s failed attempt at being big brother on the corner bump drafting, as evidenced by their not black flagging any driver. In football for example, a penalty is called as many times as the infraction occurs. In the race that might have been a few times per lap. If they had black flagged anyone bump drafting in a corner the whole race would have been blown. In my opinion it is an all or nothing thing. They call every single infraction or have no ethical leg to stand on if they attempt to penalize a driver.

Won’t take up too much of your time. Thank you for being so special.
John Robinson
East Hampton, CT

John you make a point – everyone has said that this is a very difficult rule to enforce and other series have not been very successful at trying to enforce it. It’s not an easy solution.CBL
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Hi Claire, I sat on the couch for what felt like an hour waiting for them to get Ryan out, holding my breath I want to know why the roll bar collapsed .Rantin-Ray

Me too Ray, Me too. CBL

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Hi Claire,

If Newmans car had been on fire we would all be having different
discussions today. To me there was not enough urgency in getting to
him and getting him out.

Rob C
St.Petersburg, Fl

Rob: It always seems like that….I mean minutes seem like hours during these situations when they are trying to get a driver out safely, but when you are on the couch it’s easy to be an arm-chair safety worker. I’m just glad that he’s ok.

Claire B

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Hi Claire,
Just wanted to say that I thought the race today was a total bore. I really think that the time for tracks like Talladega and Daytona have passed. NASCAR doesn’t seem to want the drivers to race at these tracks anymore so they might as well just scrap them. Also I think that Brad Keselowski is a menace on the track. He has raced in 2 plate races this year and caused big wrecks in both of them. In the spring he sends Edwards into the fence to win and today causes Kurt Busch to wreck taking out many others. Someone needs to take that boy out to the woodshed. It really sickens me and shows what a sad state NASCAR is in when someone like Brad had a solid cup ride for next year and someone like Mears might not and Stremme doesn’t.

David Romanowski
Endicott, NY

Hey David: Well Brad is a young Buck with a lot of “want to” and up on the wheel. When he mixes up with Cup drivers the end of this year and next…I am sure that he’ll learn a lot. As I’ve always said the Cup guys are a little “self policing” on aggressive young guys who come in.. He’ll learn his perfect balance and place. It will be fun to watch. Having him in the Cup Series early now this year will be fun to watch through Homestead. See – there is something to watch besides the Chase. 🙂 LOL

Claire B

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Hi Claire B.
That was Freekin Awesome Go McMURRY AWESOME!!!!AWESOME!!!!AWESOME

Yea! I was really happy for Jamie too! And his whole team. CBL
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GO VIKINGS LoL You need a purple Farve jersey.

Shut up!!!!! (LOL). Darn I picked that one wrong. I went with my heart on Sirius Pigskin Pickems….I went with Green Bay. All my family at home – in mourning. 🙂 Go Green Bay. CBL

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I usually like any wrangling. In this case Jimmy Johnson I do believe feels trouble in his central nervous system as well as sees the air with his central nervous system like MR. Dale Earnhardt. Folks get ready for MR. Jimmy Johnson and you soon love him like Big E. Hes not a errogant man at all. Hes smooth in public. Most of us racing degenerates are not. LoL.
Respectfully
Jeff from MN

Thanks Jeff….you can go to the K-Mart parking lot like they used to and scrap it out with the fans of other drivers in the field. Kidding. Actually – Jimmie up close is a really nice guy..but everyone has their own take based on who their driver is. I can tell you one thing..there isn’t anyone in the field who isn’t already working on beating him each race in 09 and fixing it so they can charge at him in 10. CBL
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You’re mad that the Vikings come and brought Brett Farve by to Green Bay and they ran over your Packers. Ole’ well, remember that basically the Packers didn’t want Farve anymore. He’s still got the talent and ability and the drive to play, so get mad at your Packers for getting rid of him.
Chris in TX

Chris: Yea good point. But you didn’t convince me to drain the Green and Gold from my veins. I still was hoping GB would put him back in the box when he came into our house. I like the guy – but I still have a hard time trying to beat the Pack (and doing it LOL). 🙂 Oh that was so hard. I’m mad at everyone about that game. Claire B
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What is all the complaining about(bitchn) !!!!!!!!! If it is no wrecks at Bristol because of the new configuration, its the cot. Can’t race with it, It’s boring !! Can you give us all a break PLEASE. I cannot believe we cannot go though 1 race without complaining. Three wide, four wide racin and you got the big one with Ryan on his head!! Excuse me !! Its Nascar IT’S racing 200 mph if you don’t like it, watch the Boston Marathon !!! Mike from St. Louis

Louis:

Louis: You make a good point. I was looking back over history to what other drivers said at the care center over the past races after crashing out at Dega to see what they said. I can recall divers slamming things after their cars got tore up in the All Star Race..but now with the economy bad and everyone so sensitive about things it really does stick out like a sore thumb. It’s tough times for everyone…making the fans happy is a priority but is there any way to make everyone happy – and keep them safe? Not sure. I am glad I am not in charge. CBL
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Claire B – Ok, that was officially scary. I was really concerned that we’d lost another driver for a while there.
And sure it was a great race – if you think WWE is a great sporting event. What a fiasco.
The late David Poole argued very strongly that they ought to bulldoze those banks down and I think I may agree with him.
My .02
Brad T
MA

Hey Brad, I too was worried about Ryan. Well there have been folks on several sides of the “bulldozing” concept. It’s been talked about on SNR for hour some disagree – some agree. It was scary…you are right. CBL
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If it weren’t for Newman’s wreck, and the one on the last lap, this would’ve been a super boring race. This race was almost as boring as most of the California races. Not that wrecks make racing exciting. However, side by side racing is exciting and Talladega and Daytona are about the only tracks you can see side by side racing at anymore. I thought that, in addition to safety, that’s what the COT was supposed to bring to the sport. The car is safe but the racing, I don’t think, is as good. If there is a lot of side by side racing they’re not showing it on TV. In which case, means the coverage is lacking.
Michael

Michael – Thanks for the email. Does that mean that you watch for the crashes? Not that that is bad just wondering. Claire B
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Another week ESPN failed to interview the top finishers. Instead they rush to give the Hendrick boy’s interviews. Maybe next week they won’t even interview the winner, if they’re not a Hendrick team.

Well – I hate that….I think there are so many stories to tell the next few races — including stories that lead into next season….and preparation and watching drivers like Joey Logano, and Brad Kezelowski, and what Dale Junior’s team does, and a whole list of other drivers. I think there are many stories beyond the chase.
Claire B
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Just saw Newman’s wreck at Talladega. It looks like the wing on the cup cars creates lift when the car points backwards. Safety issue Nascar needs to look at????
Michael

Rockingham
Hey Michael – Jack Roush made some great roof flap comments — after the race. I will definitely ask John Darby about roof flaps on Wed during “Dialed In” and “Competition Wed” tomorrow. Roof flaps can’t possibly stop everything especially when another car is involved and helps launch the flip. Check into “Dialed In” if you can with Series Director John Darby on Wed on Sirius NASCAR Radio.CBL

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All: Thanks for all the emails and while I’ve answered them quickly – I’ll talk about them in more detail on air on Wed. on “Dialed In” and further discuss. I have found the fans of this sport to be so smart and to be very critical and hold the sport up to a lot – because they have found the sport to be so special and many grew up with it. That’s ok. The more loyal that you are to a sport the more you expect from it and so it makes sense that fans would be critical and hold the sport to a lot of what they expect.

I appreciate your emails and have a whole bunch more…so back to answering them and I’ll catch you on “Dialed In”. I’m headed to Texas on Thursday morning.

Can’t wait. Love Texas, Dallas Fort Worth and Texas Motor Speedway. It’s great fun and there will be a bunch to talk about.

As always, thanks for listening and for emailing.

Claire B

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Comments»

1. Randy Feldman - November 3, 2009

The roll bar didn’t collapse. The sheet metal from the roof bent in around the roll cage causing the metal to rest on Newman’s helmet. Perhaps another bar east/west will keep the sheet metal from sinking far enough down to touch the driver’s helemt.

2. Mike Schmidt - November 3, 2009

Claire,
Simple solution for Talledega. 30 lap shootout!! Seriously, like Newman said, let the racers race. They will police themselves.

3. Kirk - November 4, 2009

GO PACKERS !!!
Keep the faith !

BTW, my son is 5 months old and BIG enough to work with your husband; does he need a “work release” ???
Hahahaha

Kirk, Planet Earth & visitor of Packers Hall of Fame & Family Night 09


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