Oh, Talladega. 2.66 miles long. It’s too big to be a racetrack, because, well, just look at it. It’s freaking huge!
The last time I was at Talladega was back in the mid 2000’s. Dale Jr. won the race, still in his red Budweiser livery, and all was great, but even though I watched the race, I didn’t really see it. When Junior did his burnout at the start/finish line, all I saw was a bunch of smoke a long way from where I was sitting.
I had seats in the turn 1 grandstand. I was only about 20 feet above the track. The Start/finish line was about a million miles away.
Don’t get me wrong. Talladega is a great track, nice, wide and smooth. Drivers keep their right foot on the floor all the way around this track. The track’s limits are like nothing I’ve ever seen as a race fan. Talladega is infinitely fast and infinitely unwatchable when you’re a fan.
Talladega in person is much like going to a big airport. It’s so big, you can’t really appreciate how big it really is. If I ever go back to Talladega, I want seats as high as possible, and I will bring some very high powered binoculars. If not, I will miss most of the action.
Yeah, I was there when Dale Earnhardt Jr. won at Talladega. I was there when he said the “S” word on live TV, and was fined for it. Only, I really wasn’t there. It wasn’t until the next night, when I got to watch the replay on my VCR that I realized what had happened.
I love Dale Earnhardt, Jr. I hope he wins on Sunday. It would be a fitting last season win for one of my favorite drivers. His dad won there often. The only time I ever saw Dale Earnhardt win in person was at Hampton, GA, better known as Atlanta Motor Speedway. This was in 1996. The racetrack was like an airport. It was like a very large airport. You couldn’t see all the way across. At my vantage point, it might have been 5 miles to see the action on the back stretch.
I love Talladega. Many drivers have won here. Earnhardt, Earnhardt Jr., Yarborough, Baker, Irvin, the list goes on. I would love to see a guy named Earnhardt win one more time here. Just before he retires.
Go Talladega. Go hard, prove to me what winning is all about again.