The Frontstretch: Five Points to Ponder: Daytona Edition by Mike Lovecchio -- Monday July 6, 2009

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Five Points to Ponder: Daytona Edition

Mike Lovecchio · Monday July 6, 2009


A change is needed

After his devastating crash at Talladega in April, Carl Edwards prophetically addressed the current state of Sprint Cup superspeedway racing by saying, “We’ll do this until someone gets killed.” Perhaps it is a warning that the NASCAR brass should not take lightly. Saturday night’s thriller under the lights in Daytona proved that the devastation in Talladega was no isolated incident, and that the apparent combination of the CoT, restrictor plates, and the yellow line rule is a recipe for late-race disaster. I don’t know what NASCAR should do, nor am I in the position to offer any type of advice — but if safety is the sport’s number one concern, something must change before an even higher stakes Chase race at Talladega in November.

Is it just the nature of the beast … or a problem screaming for change? Whatever the answer, the “Big One” at the plate tracks is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

Fan safety is bigger concern

As a NASCAR fan who has seen every race in Daytona from the stands for a decade before moving to the media center, I have a growing concern for fan safety at the track. At Daytona, fans can walk right up to the safety fence as there is no brigade separating them from being just inches from the outside wall. Sure, there are security guards who police it and make sure fans don’t linger, but come the closing laps fans line the fence in hopes of beating post-race traffic to the parking lot. It’s my concern that if a car were to get into the fence a la Edwards at Talladega, the outcome would potentially be far more devastating. So with the way cars are flying through the air at superspeedways these days, it may be time to think about making a change. Is it so hard to set up a brigade five feet or so from the fence? Isn’t it worth it if can ultimately save fans’ lives? Let’s get it done.

DO NOT repave Daytona

Back in February, a number of drivers complained about the abrasive racing surface at Daytona, saying it was triggering unnecessary crashes. I stated that I prefer the aged surface because it gives the track a type of character that you don’t see at a Talladega. After February, I felt I was in the minority with my opinion, but a live poll during the Frontstretch live blog proved me a wrong. A surprising 71 percent of our viewers said that they do not feel the track should be repaved, and I couldn’t agree more. Save the parade for Talladega and keep Daytona what it is — a demanding track where handling is at a premium.

You can blame NASCAR or Mayfield, but not the drivers

The overturned suspension of Jeremy Mayfield dominated the headlines this weekend at Daytona. You all know the story by now so I’ll spare the details, but I have a problem with those people who disagree with those drivers afraid to share the track with Mayfield. Even if you’re pro-Mayfield and think there’s no possible way he used any drugs, remember we do not have any definitive word either way. In the drivers’ eyes, Mayfield failed a drug test (which he did, whether it was a false positive or not). Remember, the judge who lifted the suspension NEVER said Mayfield was innocent.

Ryan Newman said it best when he claimed, “As a federal judge, when you release somebody to go back and race without necessarily, in my eyes, clarifying everything, that’s not cool.” LIVE BLOG comment of the race

Each week, I will further expand on some of the more interesting fan comments from our weekly LIVE Cup race blog. This week, however, I want to further expand on a comment made by our very own Phil Allaway:

Maybe it’s not the drivers that are the problem. Maybe it’s the cars.

— On the struggles of the second Red Bull team

Painted nails, chic glasses, and an eccentric personality aren’t necessary turn-ons for NASCAR purists — and Scott Speed has never been high on the popularity meter because of it. Still, it’s too soon to decide whether he’s got what it takes to succeed in stock car racing’s highest level. Remember, Allmendinger couldn’t do anything in the second Red Bull car either, but turned it on as soon as he moved over to RPM. Speed may or may not be able to do the same thing, but give the guy some time to develop before you think he has — or lacks — talent.

P.S.: Our live blog pops up again next week as we break down the racing action from Chicagoland! Come join the fun!

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Today on the Frontstretch:
NASCAR Easter Eggs: A Few Off-Week Nuggets to Chew On
Five Points To Ponder: NASCAR’s Take-A-Breath Moment
Truckin’ Thursdays: Top Five All-Time Truck Series Drivers
Going By the Numbers: A Week Without Racing Can Bring Relief But Kill Momentum


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07/06/2009 10:00 AM

I’d say some of these drivers are a little full of themselves . Afraid to race with Mayfield because hes on drugs ??? Where exactly is the proof tha Mayfield was ever under the influence of drugs ? A Judge found reasons to believe that not only was Mayfield not a drug user , but that the test was so poorly carried out that the only thing it did prove was that Nascar shouldn’t be trusted to carry out drug tests . The combination of legal drugs he had in his system were easily capable of producing the false positives they produced . And according to the test results , Mayfield had many times more meth in his system than any one person would ever have . Reasons to doubt the test results are everywhere .
So that leaves us with drivers afraid of shadows . Newman and others are afraid of racing with a driver who is on drugs ? There has been no such proof given . If i were a Cup driver , i’d be more worried about when a botched Nascar drug test is going to ruin my career just like its ruined Mayfields .
Drivers have been killed at NH just like they have at virtually all sizes and types of tracks . And cars parts have been flying into the grandstands since racing began . Racing is a dangerous business . Thankfully Tony George and some forward thinking engineers implemented Safer Barriers . But the search has to go on for driver and fan safety .

07/06/2009 02:15 PM

How about let’s give Brian France a drug test.

Put yer money where your piehole is….

I’ll bet what he is on will make Mayfield’s look like cotton candy….and would explain the decisions that come out of Daytona Beach….

Test for alcohol too while you are at it.

What a putz….

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