Something you might not know about me - I love racing. I don't have 3 hours on a Sunday to watch it, but I have loved it ever since I was a kid. Open wheel, nascar, dirt track, you name it.
Part of what I love about racing happens at about 1:10 in the video above. Carl Edwards' lifts off the track, does a nose-down spin, hits the protective fence, rolls 360 degrees while spinning again, and settles on the track spewing some smoke and little fire. It also spews Carl, unharmed from the cockpit. Fans go nuts - and they should.
There is a lot of controversy today about restrictor plates (makes the cars go slower) and other tech that ostensibly keeps the cars stuck to the pavement and whether it needs work. Carl thinks so. I am not so sure.
This is 200 miles an hour, even with the "restrictor." At these speeds, nudges mean the difference between straight and spinning out of control. It means bone rattling down force. It means risk. And risk is what the fans pay to see by the hundreds of thousands. They want more than the risk of a baseball bat flying into the stands. They want more than the chance that puck might carom off the glass. And they understand, despite anything their lawyer might tell your lawyer a month from now, that the spectacular crash on the track has a tiny, but very real risk, of coming right at them. That's part of what gets their hearts pounding as the pack booms and roars past over and over and over.
I think it is great that NASCAR wants to make this safe for the fans and the drivers. I was watching when the Intimidator hit the wall on the last turns of the 500, so I know what we're protecting. But I think we can go, and perhaps we already have gone, too far. Let's leave some racing in the racing, shall we?
Oh, and Carl, I am glad you walked away. And, Hooo-weeee! Didjo seee thaaht?!