I fulfilled an ambition last month to watch, for the first time, some top-class motor racing in the US. With lucky timing — cheap flights available at the same time as half-term coincided with the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Talladega — off went family Rendell to the deep south.

Some say Talladega Superspeedway is the home of Nascar, and the 2.66-mile track is certainly famous for its 212mph fastest-ever lap and incident-packed racing.

For this race qualifying was 181mph, although speeds were literally bumped-up in practice to 198mph courtesy of drafting, the unusual practice of pairs of cars teaming-up to push each-other bumper-to-bumper.

Needless to say the racing was fast and furious, the lead changed constantly, and nine cautions ensured the 188 laps whizzed by in three hours or so.