NASCAR Crashes: When Rubbin' Is More Than Just Racin'

Todd JacobsCorrespondent IMarch 22, 2011

Sadler was lucky to walk away from this horrendous crash in Pocono.
Sadler was lucky to walk away from this horrendous crash in Pocono.Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images

Crashes in NASCAR Sprint Cup racing are inevitable but when it comes down to retaliation, there is a right place and a wrong place to dish out retribution.  NASCAR heads to one of the fastest non-restrictor plate tracks on the schedule this week after leaving the circuit's roughest track, Bristol Motor Speedway.

If anyone has hard feelings over last weekend they will have to put them on hold until NASCAR heads to Martinsville in a couple of weeks.  Fontana has a history of few crashes but when there is a crash at Fontana it is usually spectacular.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. suffered his worst NASCAR crash in Fontana when he and Kevin Harvick hit the wall coming out of turn four.  Dale Jr. admitted later he suffered a concussion in the accident but did not report it because he was in the midst of the title chase.

Another track that has the potential for life-threatening crashes is Pocono Raceway.  Elliot Sadler suffered the worst crash of his career on the backstretch of Pocono.  The car separated into several pieces and Sadler emerged from the car shaken but with no serious injuries.

When thinking of the tracks associated with hard crashes, thoughts often turn toward Daytona and Talladega, but the tracks that are most dangerous on the circuit are the tracks that are wide open.  Fontana, Michigan and Pocono are the three tracks NASCAR drivers fear the most.

All three of these tracks are driven on the edge and the driver that has the ability to throw caution to the wind can drive it in the deepest.  Entering turn one at the California Speedway speeds can reach the 205-MPH mark when cars are racing at their optimum and drafting will play a part on the long straightaways.

Fontana is one track where you will not see large packs but there is passing and the opportunity to time a pass.  This is one reason that, although there are not many crashes on this high-speed track, when two cars misjudge their distance the result is never good.

Look for some small love taps this weekend as drivers send their enemies slight messages of what is to come at Martinsville next week.  Carl Edwards has already told Kyle Busch he owes him for Phoenix and he could not catch Kyle in Bristol. 

Edwards has already learned what happens when he retaliates at a high-speed track.  Edwards' launching of Brad Keselowski at Atlanta last season sent a message to the entire garage.  There is a right place and a wrong place to handle retribution.  The high-speed tracks are no place to handle rivalries.

With that being said, keep a close eye on the drivers that are annoyed with each other this weekend because they will be the two beating and banging on each other in Martinsville next weekend.