It’s Time for NASCAR to Wake Up and Look at the Debris

Everyone has to still be stunned to see Austin Dillon walk away from the horrifying last-lap crash that sent his No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet flipping into the catch fence at the end of the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona.  The multi-car incident occurred as the field raced to the checkered flag, Dillon was clipped by another car, sending him airborne into the tri-oval catch fence and then back onto the track sliding on his roof.  The No. 3 came to a rest upside down and was lastly clipped by the spinning, out of control No.2 car of Brad Keselowski.

“The No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) car got turned by the No. 4 (Kevin Harvick) car across the start/finish line and I thought the race was going to be over right there. We were almost there and I was just pushing the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) car and the next thing I knew, I was looking at my roof for a long time. I thought it was all over when I was sliding there and the No. 2 car came in and really got me. It was a wicked ride, but thank the good Lord above for taking care of me. I am just going to be really sore.  It got my tailbone pretty good and my arm.  I should be fine,” Dillon said.

Luckily safety equipment, enthusiasm and extremely good luck prevailed and no one was killed.

“I am just going to be really sore. It got my tailbone pretty good and my arm. Should be fine, just go ice it up and get ready for Kentucky,” Dillon added.

Race winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. had to take a moment in victory lane to collect himself after seeing the carnage in the rear view mirror.

“Yeah that scared the hell out of me, I will be honest with you. I saw the whole thing happen. You are looking in the mirror the whole last lap. I saw Denny (Hamlin) get turned. I guess that is kind of how it started. That was terrifying to watch. You know a wreck like that has such a high potential for someone to get injured and you saw the car get high and get into the fence. You just worry about everybody else in the grandstands and all that stuff. You just don’t want to see that happen.”

Jeff Gordon described the restrictor-plate style of racing as more like a video game, but in real life.  Dillon agreed, saying, “It definitely is a video game. With three to go you are just going to push somebody until the end of the race. It’s wreckers or checkers. It’s like Talladega Nights out there.”

Gordon said after the race, “It is literally like a video game out there these days, except for it’s real life. It’s crazy. It’s really crazy. I love Daytona. This place has been amazing for me. I can’t believe this is my final race here, but after going through that experience I’m glad I only have one more restrictor plate race left.”

Clint Bowyer summed it up as, “This is entertainment. It’s certainly dangerous as hell, but its part of the sport.”

I expect seeing the No.3 crashed up at Daytona had to be a horrible experience for team owner Richard Childress. But there’s no need to get into that part of it. The racing is what it is, as they say.

With that said, why exactly are we racing like this?

NASCAR will do all of the political head nodding and hand shaking this week while it all goes in one ear and out the other. We will hear them take the usual stance that they are checking for any safety issues and improvements that can be made for future races. Hey NASCAR, how about not doing it at all?

Do we really need four of these restrictor plate races? Do we really need video game roulette during the chase races? I believe those are the questions that need to be answered and no more changes that end up creating the same ole, same ole, four times a year.

I keep holding my breath during these races and hoping that no one will get hurt. But it seems like the inevitable “big one” always rears its ugly old head. I just keep thinking there has got to be a better solution.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


  1. Yes we do. Are sports BIGGEST race is one of those. You know the race that’s gets us world attention.. It’s simple if the drivers don’t like it they don’t have to do it. No one is forcing them to step into the race car and get paid millions of dollars to race at these tracks.

  2. After battling the restrictor plate monster it’s time to fix it right. Brian France, do the right thing and redesign Daytona and Taladaga. Lower the banking to ten degrees, get rid of some down force on the cars and make them drive and brake in the turns. The drivers and the fans will not be disappointed by this change. Do this before you kill another driver or fan.


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