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.

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1 Comment

  1. I disagree with the solution to slow them down. I think the restrictor plates should be removed to improve throttle response but I also believe at fast speeds (200-215, and at the time of the crash in the tri oval the cars were doing under 200) the field will spread out more. Think back to the 90’s and how the underfunded teams would slide to the back because they couldn’t keep up. One of the best NASCAR race ever was the Jimmy Spencer & Ernie Irvan race where they broke away from the field time and time again because they had the HP and the set up. Fast forward 15 years, enough money is in this sport now that just about every team can keep up and that’s why we have these packs of cars 30-35 strong.

    To summerize:

    Increase throttle response
    speed up the cars a little to spread the field out

    NASCAR could accomplish this with engine restrictions, aero packages that don’t create such a hole in the wind to not allow 2-3 cars to break away but also pull away.

    There is a lot of engineering that needs to be put into the racing but I do agree that the fences should be stronger, fans at the super speed ways where they do 190+ (Texas, Atlanta, Cal.) should be further from the track then they are.


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