Daytona Beach, Fla. — Bill Simpson, who found himself at the center of controversy following Dale Earnhardt's death, has resigned as head of the company that manufactured Earnhardt's safety belts.
Simpson said the stress of the controversy "got to be too much." He has maintained for months that NASCAR made him a scapegoat in the wake of Earnhardt's death.
"It's just been one thing after another," Simpson said. "Like I come with new (safety equipment, such as a head-restraint device) and NASCAR takes it away, and they don't give it back. I deserve more respect than that.
"The amount of disrespect shown me in my position over the last five months has been too hard for me to swallow."
Simpson said he submitted his resignation to Charlotte, N.C.-based Carousel Capital, majority owner of Simpson Performance Products, on July 17. He found out last week that his resignation had been accepted.
Nelson Schwab, head of Carousel Capital, was not immediately available for comment.
Simpson received death threats and saw his employees harassed after NASCAR announced on Feb. 23 that it had found a broken Simpson lap belt in Earnhardt's crashed No. 3 Chevrolet.