Crash not changing NASCAR’s stance

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – NASCAR officials are not considering changing the racing surface at Talladega Superspeedway following a spectacular last-lap accident that sent debris flying into the grandstands. Vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said NASCAR will study several different safety standards, including the height of the fences surrounding the track. Carl Edwards’ car sailed into the frontstrech fence, which bowed but held, before the battered vehicle returned to the track. Debris from the crash injured seven fans. An eighth fan was treated for a medical condition. NASCAR officials also said they might need to be stricter about aggressive driving and blocking, when one car deliberately moves into the path of a competing car trying to pass it, during races at Daytona and Talladega. Horsepower-sapping restrictor plates are used at those two tracks – NASCAR’s two fastest – to combat the high speeds. A square aluminum plate is installed in each car to limit an engine’s power, slowing the car by reducing the amount of air that flows into the carburetor. As a result, the cars all run the same speed, and the field is typically bunched tightly together. One wrong move by a driver can cause a massive accident. There were three spectacular crashes Sunday: A 13-car wreck seven laps into the race; a 10-car accident with nine laps to go; and Edwards’ airborne flight into the fence on the final lap. That crash came about after Edwards’ attempt to block Brad Keselowski’s winning pass. Keselowski pushed Edwards past Ryan Newman and Dale Earnhardt Jr. into the lead on the final lap. Then the 25-year-old Earnhardt protege peeked around Edwards as they closed on the finish line. Edwards ducked low to block the pass, but Keselowski was too close and couldn’t avoid contact that sent Edwards into a spin up the track and into Newman’s path. Edwards’ car flew over the top of Newman’s hood, then shot into the frontstretch fence.