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5 Points to Ponder: 2009 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona Edition

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.

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% 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.”

Frontstretch LIVE BLOG comment of the race

Each week, I will further expand on some of the more interesting fan comments from our weekly Frontstretch 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, AJ 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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