Time to stop the insanity of Daytona and Talladega!

Courtesy Autostock “NASCAR just puts us in this box. Brad did a great job. Congrats to him on the win, but they put us in this box and we’ll race like this until we kill somebody and then they’ll change it, but I’m just glad nobody got hurt today. I’m glad the car didn’t go up in the grandstands and hurt somebody.’

Those are the words of Nascar Sprint Cup driver Carl Edwards after surviving his spectacular last lap crash at Talladega Sunday that sent him into the catch fence right in front of thousands of fans sitting a few feet away.  Thankfully, only 7 fans received what was termed “minor” injuries from flying debris. (Read story here)

While fans are buzzing about the “exciting” finish, hopefully those inside Nascar are having serious discussions about changing the crapshoot with both driver and fan safety that is Daytona and Talladega.

I’ve broadcast races where drivers were killed.  I unfortunately have also broadcast races where fans were killed because of parts coming off a crashing race car.  Neither is something I like remembering but they are a part of my history.

While there is no way to make racing 100 percent safe, any sane person knows that restrictor plate racing at Daytona and Talladega with 3500 pound cars inches from each other racing at almost 200 miles an hour is insane.  No matter how good the drivers are, it only takes one split second mental lapse or equipment failure to turn those cars into destructive and possibly deadly missiles.

Do they need to be slowed down?  Yes.  Do they really need to be racing at the speeds they are to put on a good show?  Can anyone really tell the difference between 190 and 170 miles an hour with the naked eye if all the cars are only capable of that speed?

I say it’s time for Nascar to get rid of the restrictor plate, but also cut down the engine size.  I realize there would be a huge cry from engine builders about the money that would take to accomplish while also obsolescing millions of dollars of current engine inventory.  Tough..how much value does one put on a human life?

Second, no seats within 30 feet of the track surface.  Considering reduced ticket sales, that shouldn’t be hard.  Also, raise the catch fence..and curve it even more overhanging the race track.  Sure looked as if Talladega was very short in that area of curving over the track.

There are a lot of engineer types out there a lot smarter than me who could probably come up with other solutions to slow down the cars.  Would different size tires help?  Would actually changing carburetor size instead of using restrictor plates help?  I don’t know.

I do know, Nascar escaped disaster on Sunday and there is no guarantee that their luck isn’t about to run out.  It is time for bold leadership from Nascar, which unfortunately, is usually very much in short supply.

A void in my racing life about to be filled!

I have been involved in auto racing as a broadcaster since the late 1970’s.  During that time, I’ve broadcast the Indianapolis 500, worked as a PA announcer at Daytona and travelled the world in my CART days going to tracks across America along with Canada, Mexico, Japan, Brazil, and Australia.  I even did the last F-1 race in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace! However, until this weekend, I had never been to Phoenix International Raceway.

That’s right.  Somehow in all my time involved in racing, especially open-wheel, I somehow had missed out on PIR, the site of many great Indy type car races.

How this happened, I don’t know.  I guess when I really got into doing all the CART events, PIR was off the schedule and there was a time that the IMS Radio Network only did Indy and none of the other races on the schedule.

This weekend, I’ll be there and have a chance to check off another historic venue from my list of auto racing iconic tracks.  Now if I can just get someone to underwrite a trip to the 24 Hours of LeMans and the Monaco Grand Prix, I’ll be a very happy racing guy!