Drivers' thoughts on Talladega
By Mike Fish, CNNSI.com
ATLANTA -- Winston Cup drivers aren't secretive about their trepidation heading back to Talladega with similar aerodynamic requirements that contributed to a nasty, 19-car pileup at the Daytona 500. Fact is, drivers have had a problem with Talladega for years, but the required restrictor plates and aero package -- which make for a better show because cars can't pull away and tend to bunch up -- contribute to even riskier racing.
Rumblings have been heard of a driver-boycott of the April 22 race. But you might see a reintroduction of the Edsel before that happens. And, for now, NASCAR brass is standing fast by its rules, regardless of any safety concerns voiced by drivers.
Here's a sampling of what some of the sport's top drivers have been saying:
"The biggest thing I took out of Daytona as far as the kind of racing that we do is that Tony Stewart was running fifth and Bobby Labonte was running 26th on the lap of the big wreck. Tony Stewart landed on top of the 26th-place car. That's not the kind of racing we should be doing."
"Oh, I always have concerns going back to Talladega. When we left there last year I said, 'That was not great driver's skill, that was pure luck'. ... When you run three and four wide every single lap, that's pretty intense. And when you're out there, you're in disbelief of what's going on. It's a tremendous show for the fans and when it's all over and nobody's wrecked, it's the greatest thing you've ever been a part of. But you know it's too good to be true."
"I haven't been a fan [of this rules package]. ... It made no difference at Daytona how many Daytona 500s I might have won or what experience I had there. Anybody and everybody could stay up in that pack. It's a matter of how crazy you wanted to get and I'm not a fan of that."
"The thing so different at that race track than any other is the cars are just bunched up so much closer, and this rules package has made field that much closer together. I know they were trying to get back to drafting days and things like that. I watch some old videos every now and then, and it doesn't look like that was quite how it was."
"I'm extremely disappointed with the Talladega rules. I think most of the drivers expected a change for that race. I would certainly like to see a little bit more boring race: a little bit less TV rating and ticket sales and a little bit more boring race."
"I think we're all a little critical [of] the current Daytona and Talladega rules. They need to be altered. The cars are too tight. We don't need 'em that tight. We don't need to put that big of a show on. I think what happened at Daytona in particular, with the crashes and what happened to Dale [Earnhardt], I hope we can have some concessions for Talladega to give us some more breathing room."