The racing in last weekend’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Fred’s 250 at Talladega Superspeedway was, quite simply, exactly what you would expect from a NASCAR race at the 2.66-mile behemoth of a track.
It was entertaining, fast-paced and it featured a big wreck on the last lap: all the ingredients that you need to make an heck of a show at a track that can have the potential to be a parade for 150 miles, while people save their equipment and wait to push their luck at the very end.
Parker Kligerman ultimately took the checkered flag, scoring his second Camping World Truck Series race win at the track
and earning the first-ever Truck win for low-budget team Henderson Motorsports in an exciting green-white-checkered finish that topped off the carnage.
But it was almost hard to hear the cheering crowd and Kligerman’s victory burn-out over the crying of those that finished behind him.
Christopher Bell, Ben Rhodes, and Grant Enfinger were among several drivers that complained Kligerman was making them nervous with his “bump drafting” and “hitting trucks from behind.”
Kligerman was putting the bumper on trucks during the race for sure, but let me be frank: that’s racin’ at Talladega.
Come on folks, this is supposed to be NASCAR racing isn’t it? Thankfully these guys weren’t racing in the days when “bump drafting” was “slam drafting,” which regularly brought the bumpee’s rear wheels off the ground at 190 miles per hour or more.
To hear Rhodes on the radio telling his spotter, “Try not to let the 75 get behind me”, and then Bell screaming in the closing laps, “Get him off me!” was comical.
Boys, there is no crying if you aspire to race in the big leagues. The major league NASCAR drivers bump at Talladega. That’s just the way it is.
Kligerman’s crew chief Chris Carrier replied to the accusations of rough driving bluntly stating, “Grow up. If you want to cut the grass, you’re going to get grass in your shoes. Grow up.”
But perhaps Kligerman said it best:
“I know there were a couple (drivers) that got upset and I was like, ‘Whatever. I thought we were here to race.’”
You tell ’em, Parker!
Oh, by the way, I can even equate this to the end of Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race, where Bell took his first-ever win in the series with a good ol’ fashioned slide job (like the ones on dirt, yes) of his teammate Erik Jones in the final laps.
For those of you who might not have seen the pass, Bell powered it deep into turn three, cleared Erik and washed up the track in front of him, slowing as he did so in order to make the corner.
Erik kept his foot in the gas to try and re-pass Bell and ran square into the back of him when Bell came up in front of him (completely clear, by the way). The contact put both cars in the wall, but Bell was able to continue and win the race.
Erik was upset after the race because “this isn’t dirt racing” and Bell cost him (a teammate) what he felt should have been his race win because of it.
My advice to you, Erik, is the same as Parker’s.
I thought we were here to race, not whine?
The opinions expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Race Chaser Online, the Performance Motorsports Network, Scorpion Radio Group, their sponsors or other contributors.
About the Writer
Andy DeLay is a career law enforcement officer for Clearwater, Florida who carries a passion for motorsports at both the local and national levels. He is an avid iRacer who also spends time away from the virtual circuit at local tracks.
In addition, DeLay is a host of the long-time Burning Rubber Radio Show on the Performance Motorsports Network, the wireless mobile radio affiliate of Race Chaser Online, as well as an onsite reporter for PMN in various capacities.
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