Carl Edwards' Wreck Back Home
Lots of buzz about the Talladega NASCAR race yesterday, and the final lap wreck. Here's the text of an email I sent to a buddy of mine about it, Just my two cent's worth. Forward the link to this page to NASCAR. See what they do. Really, I sure don't have any solutions. Just talk. It's a tough situation.
Yeah, Carl's not alone. A lot of the
drivers have said the same thing - take the plates off and let us race, and this
crap won't happen anymore. But they're not just a bit faster (or, weren't way
back then). Bill Elliott qualified (alone on the track) at 214 mph about the
same year (1989??) that Bobby Allison took an identical ride into the
fence at the same
track. That's when NASCAR mandated the restrictor plates, to slow things down
and keep the cars on the ground when they got sideways and backward.
They implemented the roof flaps, too, to try to keep the thing from flying when it gets backward and that rear downforce wing becomes a FRONT UPFORCE wing. It works great at the mile and a half tracks, where they're going about 189, get backward, the back wheels come off the ground just about when the roof flaps deploy, and it sits right back down. That's neat to watch (if you're not driving the car). As with all exponential things, another 5 or 8 mph gets you into that area of critical mass when things go wrong.
Over time the teams have gotten so much better that they are now going so fast AGAIN, even with the plates, that the cars will fly. Hell, an office chair will fly at 200 mph.
The guys that want to go faster....if Carl had been going 230 (not beyond reason if they took the plates off of them now), he more likely would have knocked the fence down on his way to the 45th row of seats. Even if not, there's more debris going even faster as it showers the fans in the lower rows. Carl's car was missing the carburetor when he finally landed back on the track. Where is it? In the stands somewhere. I love it when I get hit in the side of the head by a 200-mph part of my favorite driver's race car engine when I traveled all the way to the track to enjoy myself and watch the race on a beautiful day.
Somewhere in between...what do you do? The scariest thing about Carl's ride yesterday was that he got hit on his way up, launching him even higher into the fence.
Talladega and Daytona were invented when the 2-ton boxy metal STOCK cars could do maybe 140 wide open.