As soon as the restart came with 10 laps remaining in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Talladega Superspeedway, it was clear that conditions were ripe for a metal-mangling “Big One” that would change the face of the Aaron’s 499.
Four laps later, the seemingly inevitable came to pass.
Contact on the outside between rookie Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and J.J. Yeley triggered the multi-car melee, which featured Kurt Busch getting flipped into the air by a skidding Yeley and landing on the hood of Ryan Newman before it was all over.
Newman has been involved in memorable wrecks at Talladega before. In the final lap of the 2009 Aaron’s 499, leaders Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski made contact in the tri-oval that spun the former around and then airborne. Right behind them was Newman, who smashed into Edwards’ flying car and sent it hard into the debris fence in one of the most vicious accidents in NASCAR history.
Perhaps it was both of those experiences that caused Newman to express his frustration after Sunday’s crash in a manner that may wind up getting him in hot water.
“They can build safer race cars, they can build safer walls, but they can’t get their heads out of their asses far enough to keep them on the race track, and that’s pretty disappointing,” the Stewart-Haas Racing driver told Fox Sports according to Jenna Fryer of the Associated Press. “I wanted to make sure I get that point across. Y’all can figure out who ‘they’ is.
“That’s no way to end a race. Our car was much better than that. That’s just poor judgment in restarting the race, poor judgment…I mean, you got what you wanted but poor judgment and running in the dark and running in the rain. That’s it, thank you.”
Equally disgusted with the outcome was Busch himself, who was decidedly terse in his post-race comments.
“My Mom doesn’t come to four races a year — Daytona and Talladega. Wonder why…” the former Cup champion said to Fox. “Good runs don’t pay well when you finish on the hook.”
The aftermath of the Chinese Grand Prix has centered around Red Bull Racing and its two drivers, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.
While Ricciardo has garnered praise at every turn for a masterful drive from sixth to first in the second half of the race, Verstappen has again come under criticism for overzealous driving in the wake of contact with Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
A recap of the past news week for the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, and the attention both Ricciardo and Verstappen have garnered, is below.
Ricciardo Surfaces as Outside Title Contender After Chinese Grand Prix Win
Prior to the Chinese Grand Prix, few would have labelled Ricciardo as a possible title contender, especially in the wake of a mechanical failure in the opening laps of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
However, Sunday’s victory in China not only provided a number of thrills for onlookers, it also gave Ricciardo a major boost of confidence, and he asserted afterwards that he thinks a championship push is possible.
“I really feel like, I’ve said a few times, just give me the chance to be in a title hunt and I really believe I will take it,” Ricciardo said in a piece posted on Crash.net. “I feel like I can capitalize on opportunities and I guess [China] was a good example even with a fat lip I am still pretty fast and pretty good on a Sunday.”
The victory also comes at an interesting time in Ricciardo’s career, as the 2018 season is the final one in his current contract with the Red Bull team. On the market for a new contract, Ricciardo mentioned that he’s seeking a two-year deal with whichever team he signs with.
“I don’t want to sign anything too long because I don’t know where the sport’s going,” Ricciardo said in an interview with The Times newspaper.
He added, “Ideally, I’d sign a two-year contract. I think two years I can definitely be comfortable with and then see it from there. That third year will be the rule change so I will probably wait and see what happens then.”
Ricciardo also added that whether or not he returns to Red Bull is entirely down to the team’s performance this year.
“I kind of feel like if they want me to race for them they should contact me, but they haven’t,” he said. “If we win this year then I’m staying with Red Bull. It’s pretty simple. It’s really just about performance at the moment.”
Jos Verstappen Offers Constructive Criticism to Max
Max Verstappen has again come under fire for overzealous driving, and not just from rivals this time.
Perhaps most notably, Max’s father Jos Verstappen, a former Formula 1 driver in his own right, offered his thoughts this past weekend, asserting that Max needs to show more patience and a little better judgment in his overtaking moves.
“The overtake on Vettel really wasn’t on. It wasn’t possible. It was an error of judgement. In some circumstances Max just has to think more,” Jos told Ziggo Sport’s Peptalk, referenced in a Crash.net story.
However, Jos also praised his son’s driving style, noting that he hopes that part doesn’t change.
“I don’t want him to change his driving style. He passed two people at the start. He did that perfectly,” he added. “That’s what we all want to see. But we don’t want to see these kinds of actions. He needs to have it under control. He needs to think.”
In addition to receiving a 10-second penalty for the incident, Verstappen also received two penalty points, bringing his total to five. A driver who gets 12 penalty points within a span of 12 months is automatically given a one-race ban.
Rubens Barrichello Recovering from Brain Tumor
Rubens Barrichello has revealed that he was diagnosed with a brain tumor earlier this year after collapsing in the shower.
“Suddenly I felt a sharp pain in my head. It seemed to be exploding, I had to fall on the ground and only after a few minutes I managed to reach my wife Silvana to ask for help. I immediately realized that it was a serious problem,” Barrichello said of the ordeal in an emotional interview.
Barrichello, whose health has appeared to improve in recent weeks, revealed that the recovery process has been nothing short of miraculous.
“I feel like a miracle,” he said. “(The doctors) told me that only 14 percent of the people who suffered this type of problem then managed to recover completely.
“I am still going through exams and so on, but I am honestly great and the difficulties in life are the ones who show us how to grow and how to be better.”