Bladwin addresses safety device, Burton's condition

HIGH POINT, NC (MAY 1, 2001) - As Ward Burton, driver of the No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge, returns to his home in Virginia, his condition and safety are at the forefront of every conversation at Bill Davis Racing. Burton was transported to Loma...

HIGH POINT, NC (MAY 1, 2001) - As Ward Burton, driver of the No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge, returns to his home in Virginia, his condition and safety are at the forefront of every conversation at Bill Davis Racing.

Burton was transported to Loma Linda University Medical Center following a late-race incident with Mark Martin. Burton suffered a concussion in the incident and was held overnight for observation. He was released Monday night at approximately 10:00 pm, EST.

"Ward is currently on his way home," said Tommy Baldwin. "He felt that he really needed a good nights sleep before making the trip back to South Boston (VA). He is still pretty sore, but he has all of his memory back. We were very relieved to hear that and we're glad that he has been released.

"We had mounted a decelerator device made by Simpson in the race car. The restraint system did its job. We looked it over and saw that device tore. It did everything it was supposed to do. Now, whether it moved fast enough or slow enough, that is what someday we need to determine.

"We don't know what would have happened had he not had that device on. The impact was substantial enough to stretch the belts on the restraint system. It stretched about an inch and a quarter more on the left side. So, his head and neck definitely were thrown forward and toward the right side of the car.

"NASCAR did keep the helmet and the restraint system, but they came to the shop today and let us inspect both the helmet and the restraint system. There were no marks on the helmet, except on the backside where he came back and hit the shoulder brace. NASCAR also looked over the car while they were here and determined that the interior looked good.

"Right now, there is no conclusive evidence as to what is working and what isn't. I will give NASCAR credit; they are trying to put everything together to find out what is happening in these accidents. What needs to happen is we need to put black boxes in these racecars. Again, this takes time. You can't snap your fingers and have black boxes put in these racecars. It takes time. If there had been a black box in that No. 22 car last Sunday, they could take all that information and go to the crash test site and be able to measure everything and see exactly what happened in the cockpit of that racecar and be able to make things better. There is no conclusive evidence that any device is better or worse without looking at the evidence from a crash dummy test."

"As for the status of Ward driving the race car this weekend, things are still up in the air," said Baldwin. "We are planning on talking with Ward tomorrow around noon and together we will decide what is best for him and what is best for the team. We don't want to comment further on those plans without talking with Ward again tomorrow. "We are also supposed to test at Charlotte next Monday and Tuesday, but as of right now we plan to let Dave Blaney participate in that test instead of Ward. Again, all of these decisions will be more definite after we speak with Ward."

-CR

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ward Burton , Dave Blaney , Tommy Baldwin , Mark Martin
Teams Bill Davis Racing