We have all grown too complacent about ‘The Big One’

Pack racing at Talladega can lead to big crashes

When NASCAR comes to the Talladega Super Speedway it isn’t a matter of if there will be a massive crash, or crashes, during the races held on that particular weekend, it’s just a matter of when said crashes will happen. That was in fact the case this time around as big wrecks were a part of the Xfinity Series race on Saturday and the Cup Series event on Sunday. It has just become a part of the experience of racing on the Alabama track.

Despite the fact that it took a while during Sunday’s running of the Geico 500, there were big crashes late in the going. The final laps saw several drivers eliminated from competition as the result of hard impacts. And that’s not to mention a terrifying incident on Saturday that sent one driver to a local hospital for evaluation.

Drivers are definitely not thrilled by the prospect but seem to have accepted the fact that the threat ‘The Big One’ is something they must at least tolerate. The media makes note of the massive wrecks. Fans expect them as part of the show.

Is it bad that everyone involved has grown accustomed to massive crashes? It’s just supposed to happen, right? It wouldn’t be a race at Talladega without carnage, would it?

Our answers to the questions above likely seem to indicate that we have all grown too complacent to the idea of ‘The Big One’. But anyone who saw the in-car footage of the impact between the cars of Ryan Preece and Kyle Larson on Sunday can easily see that the danger is all too real.

It was noted by some that attendance for the weekend at Talladega appeared to be improved over previous years. It’s easy to see why fans enjoy coming to the track. The atmosphere is highly charged both before and during the race, the competition is intense, and there is the edge-of-your-seat anticipation that comes with each event held there.

The unpredictability of it all is certainly a draw for many.

Racing is, by its very nature, a dangerous activity. Anyone with common sense who watches or participates knows that. But because the safety aspects of the cars as well as the conditioning of the drivers has improved so much since the early days of the sport, those of us who are enthusiasts may have become too accepting of ‘The Big One’ and too lax in regard its possible consequences.

Perhaps this weekend even exacerbated that sentiment after we all saw Xfinity Series driver Blaine Perkins seem to be unharmed by his terrifying crash as well as both Larson and Preece walk away and later talk to the media following their hard crash. Hopefully there will never come another day in which we experience the worst of consequences.

This piece was not written as an anti-Talladega rant. Rather, it was meant to serve as a reminder that ‘The Big One’ is not something we should be too complacent about.

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Richard Allen has been covering NASCAR and other forms of motorsports since 2008.

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