Earnhardt: Speeds need reviewing

Dale Earnhardt Jr has suggested that NASCAR should consider reviewing the speeds that cars are reaching in the draft at Talladega, to prevent a repeat of Sunday's last-lap crash at the track

Earnhardt: Speeds need reviewing

Seven fans were injured from flying debris when Carl Edwards' car crashed against the catch fencing following contact with Brad Keseloswski and Ryan Newman in the final yards of the Aaron's 499.

Keselowski and Edwards were running at nearly 200mph when the incident happened, using the momentum they had built from the previous lap when Keselowski pushed Edwards in a drafting tandem.

According to Earnhardt, the speeds reached by the cars on their own are fine, but they increase too much while drafting due to the aerodynamic characteristics of the current specification Sprint Cup car.

"NASCAR is really wanting to see cars run around 190mph," Earnhardt said. "We are doing 10 more miles an hour bumper to bumper like we are. That's where the threshold is for cars getting airborne, about 195mph.

"We have to think what we can do to get back under that threshold and not create this situation in the future. It's always been there, we have just been lucky."

Some pundits have suggested that Talladega needs to be reconfigured to reduce the risk of a fatal accident. There have been safety concerns at the track since its first race in 1969 when drivers went on strike because they considered it too dangerous.

Later, in 1987, Bobby Allison's car got airborne after blowing the right rear tyre, crashed into the fence and tore it apart. NASCAR then introduced restrictor plates to bring speeds down and improve safety.

But Earnhardt believes that changing the 2.66-mile oval's configuration is not a viable solution.

"People have talked about changing the track, but that's impossible to do. There's no way you can justify it under the current economic state of the sport.

"So the track is not going to change, they just need to look in some other areas. It's probably nothing really major that they need to do to keep us from having an accident again. But I really enjoyed the race other than that. I enjoy racing at Talladega."

The Hendrick Motorsport driver believes there is no need for NASCAR to be stricter in applying the rules for blocking and passing under the double-yellow line in restrictor plate races.

"I would advise against doing anything extra or being stricter," Earnhardt said. "You run the risk of taking the race out of the drivers' hands. I think we do a good job of policing it pretty much on our own now.

"I mean, it is a race. First and foremost, we're out there racing. Blocking, weaving, carrying on is part of the game."

Following Sunday's accident, NASCAR officials said they will take whatever measures are necessary to ensure races are safe, but no specific changes to either the racing rules or the cars were announced.

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