"This is usually not one of the most favorite stops on my list and it's not because I don't like Talladega, but that the racing is just too close at too high a speed. You can't expect 43 cars to run side-by-side for 500 miles and expect that they...
"This is usually not one of the most favorite stops on my list and
it's not because I don't like Talladega, but that the racing is
just too close at too high a speed. You can't expect 43 cars to run
side-by-side for 500 miles and expect that they won't wreck. NASCAR
is faced with a very challenging situation. The blades on the roof have
given the fans a very exciting race, but at the price of increased stress
for the drivers and their teams."
-Tommy Baldwin, crew chief of No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge
EA SPORTS 500
BALDWIN ON NASCAR'S DECISION TO MANDATE HEAD AND NECK RESTRAINTS
"I believe this is a very positive change. All the drivers should have been using head and neck restraint systems already and about 85% were, but now the other 15% will be forced to wear them. There are two very good devices out there, the HANS and the Hutchens device. They have both been tested and obviously will make racing safer.
"We never know what is wrong with the way things are done currently until something bad happens and people want to look at every detail under a microscope. We have seen a lot of tragedy over the past year and a half and I applaud NASCAR for taking their time in analyzing all aspects of safety. They didn't over react; they carefully listened to drivers, manufacturers and safety experts and gathered critical data before they made any harsh changes.
"I think this is all they can possibly do right now with regards to new safety regulations. All the drivers mount their seats differently and without compromising their safety any further, this is a step in the right direction. They have looked at the seats and the driver compartment and found them to be safe, but they will keep looking into making them better too. I think they are working very hard to improve the seats and the crushability of the cars. That is probably where they are going from here. Once we have data recorders, they will also help experts evaluate how the cars react under impact. Let's face it, we are involved in a very dangerous sport and all we can do is try and make it as safe as possible."
NOTES OF INTEREST
Ward Burton spent the entire week in New Mexico hunting with a group of people that he hunted with last year. His trip was delayed by a day due to the postponement of the event at Martinsville. He left immediately following his second consecutive third-place finish.
The No. 22 Caterpillar Racing team will test at Homestead next Tuesday and Wednesday in preparation for the Penzoil 400 on Sunday, November 11.