Dear Soccer — I initially apologized for allowing Hockey to sneak onto our blog before an article was written about you. Golf soon followed, and it became clear that our relationship was far from monogamous. Unfortunately, my newest sin might be unforgivable… Writing about NASCAR before you… I may come back to you for an occasional hit-and-run (no NASCAR pun intended) but just know that our relationship might be on the verge of breaking — Love, Scotty
Ricky Bobby was sighted at the Aaron’s 499 on Sunday night at the Talladega Super Speedway.
I am far from a NASCAR aficionado, but a lazy day at work somehow lead to a couple of guys in my bar turning on the final three laps of the Aaron’s 499 (formerly known as the Talladega 500, the Winston 500, the Maxi Tampon 500, and any other business NASCAR will sell its services to).
I wasn’t too enthused, as I don’t follow NASCAR and auto racing generally bores me. Regardless of the fact that I don’t follow NASCAR, however, the finish to this race was simply phenomenal.
Prior to tonight’s race, every NASCAR expert predicted #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. to either win the race or finish in the top five. Earnhardt has had incredible success at Talladega, and with the hot streak Hendrick Racing is on it would only make sense for Junior to win.
With three laps to go (when I started watching the race), Earnhardt was in second place behind #39 Ryan Newman. Despite trailing, Earnhardt was in the strongest position on the track. He was drafting Newman and preparing to make a pass on the final lap of the race.
It appeared as if Newman and Earnhardt were going to pull away from the pack until #99 Carl Edwards charged into contention from the outside lanes. Edwards was being pushed/drafted by #09 Brad Keselowski. Edwards and Keselowski pulled ahead of Newman and Earnhardt at the beginning of the final lap, and as they distanced themselves from the pack it became clear that one of these two men would take the checkered flag.
As Keselowski and Edwards rounded the track at nearly 200 miles an hour, every viewer asked themselves “When is Keselowski going to make the pass?”
Coming out of the final turn, Keselowski tried to make the pass outside and was blocked by Edwards. This block opened up the inside track and Keselowski quickly jumped on it. Edwards tried to block the inside as well, but got there too late as Keselowski’s had already jumped on the opening. Edwards’ rear left panel caught the front of Keselowski’s car as he tried to make the block and the #99 car went airborne. Keselowski avoided wrecking and crossed the finish line to win one of the wildest races in recent memory.
Here is video footage of the final three laps (It’s three minutes long but worth watching):
The most amazing part of this race was not the crash at the end, however, it was how Carl Edwards reacted.
Everyone I was watching with yelled out “Edwards is so pissed!” and “Look at how fast Edwards is climbing out! He is going to find Keselowski.” Edwards’ true intentions, however, were downright hilarious.
If you don’t want to watch the entire video, for the sake of humor you need to load it and watch from 2:00 to the end.
At approximately 2:00 of the above video, Edwards finally makes it out of his car and decides to finish the race the only way he knew how: on foot.
The comparison to Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is obvious, and Edwards’ body language while jogging to the finish line is both entertaining and humorous.
The commentators even pitched in to make this comparable to the final scene of Talladega Nights. One announcer says, “Not sure where Carl’s going… Maybe he thinks if he runs across the finish line it will count,” and the other soon follows with “Shades of Ricky Bobby.”
Between the suspense-packed final lap and Carl Edwards’ entertaining finish, I found the end of this race outstanding.
Seriously though, Soccer, when the World Cup starts you’ll get your turn.