"As a competitor and as a fan, we all looked up to Dale Earnhardt. He paved the way - in not only how we should conduct ourselves, - but also how we should protect the sport. He was truly a mentor to all of us as competitors. I don't see any body...
"As a competitor and as a fan, we all looked up to Dale Earnhardt. He paved the way - in not only how we should conduct ourselves, - but also how we should protect the sport. He was truly a mentor to all of us as competitors. I don't see any body in the near or far future that can replace him. Somebody will eventually rise to the role, but it will be for the next generation of drivers. He was truly the guy that we aspired to be, on and off the track." -Ward Burton, No. 22 CaterpillarPontiac
BURTON ON DALE EARNHARDT:
Dale was the leader of our sport and has been for quite some time. So not only have we lost a big part of what NASCAR is about, but we've also lost our fiercest competitor and our biggest advocate of NASCAR. I think aside from all of that, he was very loyal to his family and his closest friends, like Richard Childress. He was obviously a great driver and he could have been easily lured away by more money from another team, but because of his friendship and loyalty to Richard Childress he never did that. I think that speaks volumes about what type of person he really was.
BURTON ON SAFETY ISSUES:
I have HAD conversations with Simpson and I am continuing to talk to them about things we want to try. I have a helmet going to the HANS folks and they are planning on coming to Atlanta next week when we're there testing. But, everything will be the same this weekend.
BURTON ON WAYS OF HONORING DALE EARNHARDT:
I'm sure that there are several people that have there own ideas about how to honor dale. One suggestion might be to paint up a car like Dale's No. 3 and pace off the field for us this weekend. There are so many things they can do, but one thing that has to happen is to console everyone for Dale and people that were close to them.
BALDWIN ON DALE EARNHARDT:
Dale Earnhardt was NASCAR. I don't think Richard Childress or NASCAR would be where they are now without Dale Earnhardt. It is a huge void to fill. Nobody in the history of NASCAR has had the presence that Dale Earnhardt had. Nobody would have been able to get away with the things he got away with. I think that Dale Earnhardt's presence will be felt for a long time to come.
I believe it is up to us to honor Dale in some way this weekend. I think they should leave the first garages tall reserved for the champion open all year long in remembrance of Dale. I also believe that NASCAR should retire the No. 3. I know it is not something that NASCAR typically does, but nobody will ever be able to fill the shoes that drove that car.
BALDWIN ON SAFETY ISSUES:
The reality is that is up to us and the driver for making the safety better. We will not have time to make changes to the cars prior to this race, but we will be working at getting a six-point harness installed and looking at the HANS device. I am not sure if the HANS device is th ecomplete answer. You can't control the force of the impact, you can only try to slow it do wn. When you hit the wall that hard, I don'tthink the HANS device could save anybody. The drivers and the crew know each week what dangers we are faced with. We need to do the best we can to avoid those situations and make the cars as safe as we can.