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Monday, November 2, 2009

Ryan Newman wreck in Sprint Cup race at Talladega

Something must be done about Spring Cup races at Talladega Super Speedway. For the second time this year, Ryan Newman has looked death in the eye. Thankfully, it blinked.

Newman caught twice at Talladega through no fault of his own
In the spring race, Newman's race car plowed into an already airborne wreck piloted by Carl Edwards. The result was injury to fans as the car flew into the catchfence. Yesterday, close racing resulted in Newman's car spinning around backwards and lifting off the ground, standing vertical and doing numerous pirouettes as it landed on its hood in the infield. Newman was uninjured.

After the first incident, Newman, an engineer was critical of the car, saying that not enough has been done to keep the car on the ground. His point was proven Sunday after this wreck and a last lap wreck that turned Mark Martin's car onto its roof only to be righted again. Several other race car drivers were also caught up in the melee.

Carnage excluded, racing at Talladega was boring

These horrific wrecks occurred in the last laps of the race. The rest of the race, prior to these incidents, resembled the stereotypical non-NASCAR fan description of a NASCAR race--a bunch of guys driving in a circle making left turns. Watching the race was like sitting on an interstate watching traffic funnel through a construction zone. That isn't fun!

Both the fly-through-the air wrecks and single-file, half-throttle, traffic-resembling display are poor examples of good racing.

NASCAR's answers are 'make new rules'

Perhaps NASCAR's answer to all things, "make more rules" is the wrong answer. Ryan Newman was angry after he had to be cut out of his race car. He reminded the viewing audience of his remarks following the spring race at Talladega, about doing something to keep the cars on the ground. He said they never go through the wind tunnel backwards in their tests, stating that perhaps they should. Newman is right. This wasn't Talladega racing as it has typically been. If as commentators claim, the technology has gotten away from us, then let's do what Newman suggests--use technology to our advantage to make the racing better. This is a problem to be solved by engineers, not the decision-making body.