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Thumbs Up For GWC Restart Rule

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, October 24 2015
Austin Dillion's car slams into the catch fence at the end of the Coke 400 at Daytona International Speedway last July. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Andrew Coppley)

Austin Dillion’s car slams into the catch fence at the end of the Coke 400 at Daytona International Speedway last July. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Andrew Coppley)

When asked about revising the green-white-checkered rule that will be in effect this weekend at Talladega Supespeedway – the number allowed will be trimmed from three down to one –Jeff Gordon offered up an amendment to the amendment.

“Is there a way to get a rule where there’s none? I’d be in favor that, too,” the four-time Sprint bugopinionCup champion said.

The guess here is that were Gordon’s suggestion put to a vote in the garages at Talladega, the amendment would pass 43-0.

“I thought three was a lot,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said on Friday. “It still think three is a lot; anywhere at any race. One attempt was kind of the ‘norm’ if anybody ever did that in racing in the last 100 years. One attempt seemed to be plenty. And I thought that was a good move for NASCAR, not only considering what happened in Daytona, but just one attempt.”

Earnhardt and Gordon are talking about saving lives here. Lives of drivers and lives of spectators. View Austin Dillon’s wreck at Daytona in July and dispute that.

Racing at restrictor-plate tracks is always dangerous in the heavy, low-downforce Cup cars. Running at well over 200 mph and just fractions of inches away from the cars behind and along side, drivers wind up in catch fencing just by blinking at the wrong moment.

Heavy, jagged metal and hot, flammable fluids can/have shred/shredded and deep fried drivers and spectators alike.

The most dangerous times in plate racing come on restarts, when the urge to improve track position has a tendency to overrule fears of spending time in the burn unit.

Throw in things like a cut-down playoff format, long-simmering feuds and desires to keep jobs and improve circumstances increase danger in incalculable ways.

Fans love plate racing at Talladega and they love restarts on the high banks of the 2.66-mile oval. Many, no doubt, are calling BS about the rule revision. Some will scream about being cheated – after all, keeping the fans happy is what pro sport is all about.

But if they are spending their money to see God awful things happen to other people – highly paid other people or not – they are perverts and not fans.

“There is a balance between the excitement and entertainment to give the fans what they came here for and putting drivers at risk,” Gordon said. “When we look at these tracks and what is involved in those restarts – especially when you’re coming to the checkered flag… If anyone in this room rode inside one of these cars on a green-white-checkered, there’s no doubt in my mind that every single one of you would say they really shouldn’t do that. It’s insane.

“It’s a white-knuckle experience. If anyone in the garage says it’s not, then they’re not telling the truth. It just is. You’re holding your breath. It can make for some amazing moments and highlights. I don’t know if you need to put any added risk out there to do more than one.”

NASCAR officials have given fans a lot of what they have demanding in recent years. Watching people leave Talladega in body bags should not be one of them.

Well played with the GWC revision this weekend, NASCAR.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, October 24 2015
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