TALLADEGA FLIGHTS: DAYTONA’S RESTRICTOR-PLATE SEQUEL

The title is different, but man, I swear I have seen this movie before. It’s a case of another restrictor-plate race and another wild finish. The plot is slightly different and so are the players, but the catalyst remains the same. "Lose the plates," they say. "Wreckin’ ain’t racin’." Few would argue the second statement. The conflict of the story is what to do as an alternative.

Remember Bobby Allison in the "Flight of Fancy"- the 1987 Talladega action chiller? That movie ushered in the era of restrictor plates. Even though these are action movies, the producers decided to get out of the business of making horror flicks.

Reduce the power? No way. Fans already complain there are too many productions lacking action and drama.

Change the car? I suppose that could work, but remember that action legend in black? He drove the old car and put the blame squarely on the plates.

What else can you do? New engines would send production costs through the roof. Take out the banking and reconfigure the tracks? You might as well finish off the sport. I suppose you could conjure up the ghost of Smokey Yunick for a good sci-fi show. One problem, though. Yunick left enraged at what he perceived as prejudice against his wizardry.

What would Smokey Yunick do?

There is some good news in this story. None of the actors were seriously injured in the last two plate races.

Are we tempting fate with this kind of racing? Will the drivers eventually follow the example of their predecessors who boycotted the opening of Talladega? What will NASCAR do? Better yet, what CAN NASCAR do? (One change that absolutely has to be made is tearing the speakers off the fences at Talladega.)

The plot thickens. One suspects we’ll continue to see similar tales of suspense.

(Editor’s note: All Left Turns guest columnist Jim McCoy edits bump-drafts.com.)