Local medicine man Robert Thrower used a a bowl containing tobacco, red cedar, everlasting (rabbit tobacco) and wild sage to perform an ancient ceremony in an effort to "restore balance" to the land surrounding the Talladega Superspeedway.
Here's your backstory:
Many, many years ago President Andrew Jackson forced the Creek Indians who lived around Talladega to give up their land and relocate to the west. The Indian removal policy was a shameful episode of American history that included the infamous Trail of Tears.
There is a legend that as the Creek were leaving the valley the tribe's medicine man looked back on their home one last time and placed a curse upon it.
Fast forward more than 100 years to the time when Talladega Superspeedway was built in 1969. Over the 40 years since then various calamaties[sic]have befallen various drivers at the track and an urban legend arose that the cause was the curse placed on the land.
Alright. According to Wikipediastic research by our friends at Style Points, the following is but one example of the bizarre events that have occurred to those who dared to tread, um, tread on the famed race track:
In 1973, Bobby Isaac left his car during the race on lap 90 because of voices he claimed to have heard which told him to park his car and get out. Earlier on lap 14 in the same race, young driver Larry Smith died in a seemingly minor wreck. To some, Bobby Allison's 1987 wreck described above was yet another reminder of the curse. In 1993, Bobby's son, Davey Allison, died in a helicopter crash in the infield of Talladega.
Yikes. It seems to me that the Talladega Speedway is a Bermuda Triangle of sorts, except it's not located in the middle of the ocean and no one has disappeared. But it's similar.
Thrower himself understands how many may find his ceremony somewhat amusing and silly, but he believes this is a great opportunity to teach people a little bit about the aboriginal culture of the area.
"We ask for your hand upon each driver," Thrower said in offering a prayer to God. "Let this talk of a curse be no more. Let the protection of your hand be a testament to your power."
Thrower said he wasn't suggesting that a curse has been in effect all these years or that it played a role in any calamaties at the track.
"This thing about a curse," he said. "A lot of times that's people's perceptions."
Indeed. And my perception is that the average fan of NASCAR doesn't give two craps about any gosh darn ritual. Unless it has to do with raising Dale Earnhardt from the dead.
I tell you one goddamned thing: "The Intimidator" wouldn't have put up with any shit from some no good Injun spirits. And that's a fact, Jack.
|Creek medicine man lifts the "curse" from Talladega Superspeedway|
Creek medicine man lifts "curse" from Talladega Superspeedway [The Birmingham News]
Talladega Now Free Of Pesky Turn 3 Spirits [Style Points]