Monday, April 26, 2010

Talladega Highlights - As Ranked by Grandstand Reaction

For fans assembled at Talladega Superspeedway to witness one of the most exciting races in recent memory, there was only one thing wrong with how the race went down.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. didn't win.

But with a record-breaking number of lead changes, three green and white checkers and a simmering feud between Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon that's come to a rolling boil - even the most stalwart Junior fan couldn't complain too much.  And if you looked across the mostly No. 88 clad multitude at the race's end, they weren't.

Compared to last November's Dega race, in which there were long patches of single file racing and an atmosphere of boredom through much of the green flag runs, Sunday's contest was a bona fide barn-burner.

I've judged the highlights by the amount of hooting and hollering going on in the stands at any given point. Here are the top five Dega moments as ranked by the folks in the grandstands -

5. Jeff Gordon wrecks. When the No. 24 Dupont Chevy rolled by the grandstand in a less exalted state than it had begun the race, the Dega fans (who typically don't think of Gordon too highly) cheered their pants off. Literally. One guy in front of me nearly lost his shorts, he was jumping around so much over Gordon's demise.

4. Jimmie Johnson wrecks. Johnson's spin into the wall caused quite a bit of exultation among the NASCAR congregation. I think I even heard a "Hallelujah" and an "Amen Brother". That's what you get for beating the competition handily nearly every week. Sometimes folks love to see a practically perfect person get their comeuppance.

3. Kevin Harvick dumps Jamie McMurray for the win. Normally, a last-minute bolt to the front and a few heart-stopping seconds to the checkers would outrank anything else on the cheer-o-meter. But this is Dega. Even Harvick's fantastic finish couldn't outdo Dale Jr's decent day for what was probably the largest assemblage of Junior Nation in history.

2. Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt Jr. - together again. Maybe it was a brief glimpse of the good ol' days when Mikey and Junior were DEI teammates, or maybe it was simply the fact that Junior was going to the front at Talladega. Whatever the reason, when these two re-united for a little push in the draft, the place went electric.

1. Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. hook up. When Smoke and Junior went nose to tail, fans went nutso. Not only was it sheer pandemonium in the stands, but my buddies at home watching the broadcast said you could hear the roar on TV. Talk about Talladega thunder. If Junior had actually managed to win it at the end, things could have gotten as loud as an F5 tornado.

1 comment:

  1. Yep, it was very clear through the TV, every time Junior got near the front, the noise was unbelievable through the TV - you could even hear it here in Australia! :-p