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Mark Edwards: If you don't like wrecks, Talladega probably isn't for you

Ryan Blaney

Ryan Blaney scored his first victory of the year by taking the 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

TALLADEGA — Doesn't it seem appropriate that Dent Wizard sponsors the car Ryan Blaney drove to Victory Lane at Talladega Superspeedway on Monday?

We saw three major wrecks, which sent 14 cars to the garages for the rest of the day. Most of the other cars got touched by at least one of the wrecks, including all 12 playoff participants. Some worse than others.

Of the 40 cars that started the race, only 19 were left on the lead lap. That would've been 20, but Chris Beuscher's No. 37 car spun out neatly on the next-to-last lap.

Even Blaney had a few dents on his car. Maybe his sponsor can work on that.

They say at Talladega it isn't a question of whether the Big One will happen but when. On Monday, it was the Big Three.

It's amazing drivers don't get seriously hurt, but NASCAR appears to take safety seriously. Maybe Dale Earnhardt's death in 2001 at Daytona was the last straw.

On the last major wreck, Brendan Gaughan's No. 62 car got pushed sideways and next thing you knew, he was going up and over and landing on his wheels. Afterward, he joked with reporters as if he had done nothing more than hitting the mailbox while backing out of his driveway.

This is the 14th Talladega race I've covered, and all 14 came after arriving at The Anniston Star in February 2013. It seems like everyone of these races is wreck-filled, and even after 14 races, I'm unsure how I feel about that.

Instead, my love/hate with this track is how it doesn't have the same product as other places. That's good and bad. We got great entertainment Monday, but until the last lap, it wasn't great racing.

The best strategy seems to be, "don't get caught up in a big wreck." Speedways like Talladega and Daytona force drivers to run so close together that wrecks are inevitable, and that takes something away from the race.

Even Monday's winner, Ryan Blaney, lamented how luck plays such a big role at the superspeedway tracks. He didn't come close to winning at the two Daytona races this year and was 15th at the Talladega spring race.

"At all the speedway races this year, we got collected in somebody's mess," he said.

Alex Bowman finished 37th after causing the first big wreck, and as it stands now, he needs some good luck next week in Kansas to advance in the playoffs. William Byron, who finished 33rd, likely won't advance, either, because he got bumped, which caused him to spin into another car. That started another big wreck.

Having four speedway races in the NASCAR schedule is almost as if baseball took an occasional break and decided a weekend of games with home run derby.

Then again, this is Talladega, right? It's the personality of the place, and who wants all the tracks to be the same? A little variety is a good thing.

Besides, home run derby at baseball's All-Star break is fun, right?

We don't expect Adam Sandler to win Oscars, and we don't expect Talladega to give us wreck-free races.

After all, where else would we get the sight of Joey Logano on Monday, driving a broken car that seemed to have as much tape on the body as metal?

He was minding his own business, running his race when he got hit by a car that spun into him. (Frustrating.) But his crew taped up the car as best they could and sent him back on the track. He kept plugging away and finished 11th. (Fun.)

It's like Byron said after the wreck he caused: "Talladega happens."

They don't say, "Martinsville happens." Or, "Bristol happens." And, that's not a plus for those tracks.

Sports Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.