By admin | October 28, 2009
By Richard Allen
There are some, including the late David Poole, who have stated that lowering the banking at Daytona and Talladega would provide the solution to ‘The Big One’ that is almost certain to occur on these tracks every time they are used.
Granted, lowering the steep banking at both facilities would probably aid greatly in ending the field consuming crashes these tracks have become noted for. But at what cost?
To get a glimpse of what racing would be like on these two monster tracks without their current banking, one needs only to look at the similar sized Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Pocono Raceway.
The track in Indianapolis is steeped in tradition. It is the country’s, if not the world’s, most noted racing facility. But to be truthful, the racing there is boring. That is not to mention the tire debacle that took place there a couple of years ago.
Pocono Raceway has a very unique shape but also provides typically boring racing, although the last fifty laps of the most recent race there was particularly exciting.
Racing on each of these tracks makes for a long and eventless day. Taking the banking away from Daytona and Talladega would add another four races of the same type to the NASCAR schedule. That is the last thing the sport needs at this time.
There is no doubt that something should be done at these two facilities to reduce the risk of the massive crashes. And more, the risk of cars, like that of Carl Edwards in the last race at Talladega, going into the stands should be completely eliminated.
My suggestion has for some time been to open the restrictor plates up a bit instead of tightening the horsepower reducing plates. I believe doing so would make the cars go faster which in turn would separate the good handling cars from the rest. That would reduce the packs and in turn reduce the risk of ’The Big One’.
Something does need to be done at Daytona and Talladega to lessen the risks to both drivers and fans. But, whatever change is made cannot be made at the cost of creating boring racing. Lowering the banking would do just that.
David Poole was among those who advocated such a move. He was my favorite NASCAR writer and one who I looked up to. I respectfully disagree with the stance he took on this issue. I wish he were here to offer a rebuttal.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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