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Greatest Post-Race NASCAR Interviews at Talladega

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Earnhardt calls out “that boy in the 72”

Dale Earnhardt had quite a reputation for doing whatever it took to win a race. And although he didn’t make it to Victory Lane in the 1993 Fram Filters 500K Busch Series race at Talladega, he called a spade a spade. “Intensive” research (read: a trip to racing-reference.info) shows that Tracy Leslie was “that boy in the 72.” I’d hate to have been Tracy Leslie that day.

by Matt Taliaferro

Ol’ Sterling tells it like it is

2:10 mark
“I guess we’ll do what we dun again at Daytona 'n wreck ‘em all again.” Sterling Marlin was never one to mince words, so I won’t either: Sterling was mad about restrictor plate racing and opened up a can on NASCAR in this post-race interview from 2001. For all the things Sterling brought to NASCAR—Tennessee drawl, chest hair, rugs—he is missed.

by Matt Taliaferro

Ryan Newman draws NASCAR’s ire

6:00 mark
For Ryan Newman, racing with restrictor plates is about as enjoyable as taking out the garbage. Maybe that’s because, more often than not, his racecar becomes garbage. But perhaps the scariest of all his incidents occurred in 2009, when the Car of Tomorrow came oh-too-close to losing its perfect safety record. That caused this classic tirade—one of the stronger criticisms from a package that draws constant negativity from drivers inside the garage. A lack of control over his own outcome? That’s the perfect inspiration for a driver to spout off about lack of respect. And, for NASCAR, the perfect opportunity to hit him in the wallet for 50 large.

by Tom Bowles

Waltrip (of course) injects some humor

:50 mark
With Talladega’s big, windy packs that keep all 43 cars superglued together, a “Big One” involving multiple drivers is almost inevitable. And the other scary sidelight that seems to come with those crashes? One car, if not more, flipping faster than flapjacks at a Sunday morning diner. In this race in 2005, it was Michael Waltrip that was the innocent victim, getting dizzy in a wreck that didn’t sap the fun out of his day–but it certainly injected some fear into competitors wary of high speeds and high impact that could cause a serious injury at any time.

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by Tom Bowles

Mark Martin … Soprano?

8:20 mark
For Mark Martin, his Charlie Brown-esque championship history (five runner-up finishes) also applies to many of his results at Talladega. It hasn’t always been pretty, with the driver flipping as recently as 2009, but perhaps the worst hit of all came in 1994. Back then, the focus on brake failure wasn’t quite so severe, so Martin was more relieved—even jovial—to come out of this incident feeling OK … except for one specific body part we fellas feel pretty sensitive about.

by Tom Bowles

What the “25 Points” was he thinking?

With his win in the 2004 EA Sports 500, Dale Earnhardt Jr. drafted into the points lead and looked like a title favorite as the calendar turned from September to October. However, a 25-point penalty levied against him for using a certain four-letter word on national television in Victory Lane dropped him 12 points behind Kurt Busch in NASCAR’s inaugural Chase. Although Junior won again five weeks later, he never fully recovered in the championship standings. Sidenote: A fun game has spawned from this. Instead of using your preferred four-letter word, substitute the words “25 points” in its place. You’ll be amazed at how funny it remains and how many people will instantly know what you’re referring to.

by Matt Taliaferro

"Sarcastic" Tony makes an appearance

In this clip from May, Tony Stewart looked to be a mental disaster just moments after his No. 14 car wound up in the garage area. After years of drivers complaining about the plate package, Stewart decided to make his point by switching gears and doing the opposite: embracing its pitfalls. One of the more fascinating moments throughout this clip is the way in which the media seems baffled by Stewart’s responses, continuing to ask serious questions when the driver was anything but. Give him this: Dude can stay in character.

by Tom Bowles

Greatest collection of post-race quotes ever?

Perhaps the most frightening incident seen at any NASCAR track in the recent past (naturally) spawned some of the most epic reactions. The Carl Edwards/Brad Keselowski battle royale of 2009 launched the former into the fence and the latter onto everyone’s radar. From the first-time winners' exuberance to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s James Finch-chuckle to Edwards’ genius sponsor plug—and bone-chilling description of his in-wreck concerns—this post-race summary has it all.

by Tom Bowles