Loved by fans. Hated by drivers. The pride of Alabama, and the bane of an entire class of sportsmen. Oh yes: This is Talladega.
Since 1969, Talladega's 2.66-mile, four lane track has produced fast, often contentious races (read: "wreckfests"). The competitive spirit runs high, the margin for error, low. This past weekend, Tony Stewart triggered a 25-car crash on the final lap. The pile-up enraged drivers, or as Dale Ernhardt Jr. succinctly put it: "It's not safe."
That said, it is Talladega. The fans revel in the danger of the tight, 33-degree banks. Crashes are part and parcel of the entertainment, having ended races with frightening regularity.
Race days at the Superspeedway are a juxtaposition between calm and chaos. Before the engines start, crews busily ready cars and pits, drivers attend mandatory meetings, and NASCAR does what does bestâ€”engage fans. Complex.com got a driver's seat-look behind the scenes at America's most notorious speedway on raceday, as it prepared and cheered on both the fred's 250 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race and the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500.