|Tony Stewart gets airborne during a massive crash that ended Sunday's race. (AP)|
None. Since the 2.66-mile track opened its gates in 1969, speed and controversy have always been the story. It's no different today, and Sunday's race was just the latest chapter in the Talladega legacy.
Detractors call for the high banks to be torn down or for some other major renovation be made to the track. Others think the restrictor plates should be abolished to allow drivers to break away from one another and not be stuck in a pack all afternoon. Of course that would mean speeds in excess of 220 mph and a danger level that could be more disastrous than Bobby Allison's scary near flip into the grandstands in 1987, which caused NASCAR to create the plate in the name of safety.
The fact is Sunday's race was the most exciting of the season. In a year marked by strung-out mile-and-a-half races and not much in the way of memorable moments, Talladega provided the jolt so many fans have been asking for since midsummer. Until the fateful final lap, no other race this year matched the intensity level on display.
Nobody wants a 25-car crash, and thankfully there were no injuries in the melee that ended Sunday's race. But it's a risk that will always be there whenever Talladega rolls around on the schedule.
The bottom line is drivers control steering wheels and pedals. While restrictor plate racing is certainly one of the biggest challenges they face every season, the responsibility lies behind the wheel.