Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Big Un

This topic is one reason among many that I really wish David Poole were still with us. The champagne on Bucky Keselowski's uni hadn't had time to dry and the Claritin car hadn't been removed from the track before Poole was blistering NASCAR, Talladega, etc. about what we believed to be unacceptable racing conditions.

I disagree with him and wish I still had the chance to respectfully tell him so.

Carl Edwards' wreck was wild - among the most spectacular I've seen, and I feel extremely bad for the fans who were injured. But I feel more things went right than went wrong.
  • The yellow line rule is fine and should stay. If I were to modify anything about it, it would be to allow passing below it only on the last lap and probably at only a certain point on the track - coming out of 4 maybe? I realize that's a soft solution because the last thing the drivers likely need is another phantom pass point that they have to spot at 200 MPH.
  • Bucky didn't wreck Carl. He had a fender beside him, Carl didn't know it, he blocked the 09, and took himself out. Nothing intentional from either - just racing.
  • As much as I hate the COT, it was in the process of doing its job. The 99 did lift - a lot! - however, it was settling back down likely without flipping when Ryan Newman ran out of room to go. He drilled the underside of Cuzzin's car, and that's when things got really interesting. Had Ryan been able to make an evasive move elsewhere, the 99 would have been just as disappointed but would have ended the race without all the carnage.
  • I've read commentaries suggesting this wreck was one of the worst of all time. I'll debate in favor of suggesting it was one of the most spectacular of all time - but not one of the worst. I was in the stands in 1987 at Dega, and I saw the fence just barely do its job. The fencing was GONE. By the grace of God, some of the cross strands held enough to flip Bobby Allison's Buick back onto the track.
  • Furthermore, Carl had the ability to easily get out the car and jog with resignation but humor to the finish line. Can't recall if he did a sponsor plug, but he should have done a shout-out to HANS device, his full face helmet, Butler seats, his 5 point harness, his roll bar padding, etc. - things Bobby Allison did NOT have when he could easily have perished himself in addition to possibly taking out dozens of fans.
  • I'm not ready to drop the banks, and I don't think NASCAR is willing to kill someone before making a change. I understand Cuzzin's post-race rant; however, his comment after the race was hardly reason for writers and bloggers everywhere to carry his torch echoing the same thing - especially when given the benefit of many hours after the race to think through it all.
I think modifications are likely in order. And NASCAR and ISC better work as partners vs. as incestuous lovers. Admittedly, it doesn't help when John Darby - a NASCAR official - says "we" don't believe the track needs to be fixed. John, the track is owned by ISC - not NASCAR. I realize we all know the 2 companies are almost one and the same. But you at least publicly need to keep some semblance of separation - especially on days like you had Sunday. Avoiding first person references for the track owner as a representive of the sanctioning body would be wise.

Here are a couple of my suggestions.
  • Front row seats at Dega are a joke. They are overpriced, and the view is terrible - the backstretch view is obstructed and the cars are too fast up front to see much of anything. ISC could remove several rows and install them elsewhere.
  • I think moving the S/F line from its current unique position to a mirrored location coming out of turn 4 might minimize the craziness that may happen in the tri-oval. Photo-finishes would still be the norm - just at a different and likely safer portion of the frontstretch.
  • Run smaller blocks without car plates. I'm not a motor guy, but it seems this would have merit. Slower speeds but with ability for separation. I've heard the biggest barrier to this being a solution is the cost of maintaining the separate engine type. But aren't the teams already spending a king's ransom for plate engines? If so, what's the difference?
Any more thoughts?


No comments:

Post a Comment