Ken de la Bastide
I was really surprised last Sunday when I learned at about 7:30 p.m. that NASCAR was still racing at Talladega, as nightfall descended on Indiana.
Earlier in the day I took the opportunity to watch the IZOD IndyCar telecast from Brazil and for those that didn’t observe the race, they missed a dandy.
I then flipped over to check on the Sprint Cup race just as the race was being put under a red flag for rain after 130 laps of competition. Not expecting the race to resume, I instead watched one of my favorite movies “The Fellowship of the Ring.”
After watching the movie, I switched over to Speed to check on the Sprint Cup race and there was a message that the race had 10 laps remaining.
Switching over to the race, it was obvious that it was getting dark in Alabama. With six laps remaining there took place the second big wreck of the race with Kurt Busch’s car barrel-rolling and landing on the top of Ryan Newman’s car.
After leaving the infield care center, Newman was critical of NASCAR on several fronts. Having more than one flying race car hit his ride at restrictor plate races, Newman questioned why a rules package couldn’t be developed to keep the cars from flying.
I have to disagree with Newman on that point. No matter what rules are implemented, there is no way to guarantee a car traveling at 190-plus miles per hour will not go airborne.
His second point were well founded. Newman said the decision to continue racing in the dark and in the rain were both bad judgment calls.
I agree with Newman on both points. If there was rain falling, the race should have been halted. You couldn’t tell from the television pictures.
It was easy to determine that nightfall had arrived. Imagine driving down a crowded interstate in the dark, surrounded by cars traveling at 80 miles per hour with no lights on?
Sometime this week we will learn if Newman is fined for his comments. At this point there is no way of knowing because there is no rhyme or reason as to how NASCAR levies fines.
NASCAR’s attempt to complete the race is commendable, but not at the risk of the safety of the drivers.
In other racing news: The IZOD IndyCar race on the street course in Brazil was probably the best on that type of racing surface in a long time.
Takuma Sato, Josef Newgarden, James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti and Oriol Servia were all battling for the win with a handful of laps remaining.
Hinchcliffe passed Sato in the final corner on the last lap to record his second win of the season with Sato holding on to second followed by Andretti, Servia and Newgarden.
Although the television announcers several times speculated that Sato might receive a penalty for blocking, IndyCar officials made the right call in not assessing any penalties. It was hard, clean racing for the victory.
Kind of makes one anticipate the upcoming Indianapolis 500 this month. The last two Indy races have been memorable with the winner not determined until the final lap. Could be more excitement in store for fans.