Archive for Monday, October 22, 2001

Plate racing upsetting to drivers

October 22, 2001

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— One by one the drivers poured out of NASCAR's hauler on Sunday after giving the officials an earful over their dislike for restrictor-plate racing.

A 16-car wreck on the final lap of the EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway infuriated almost all the involved drivers, who were racing side-by-side in a pack and had no chance of avoiding the accident that started when Bobby Labonte and Bobby Hamilton made contact exiting turn two.

Dale Jarrett, who finished 25th after being involved in the wreck, spent the longest time inside and refused to speak to reporters when he came out.

Sterling Marlin made up for it, though, accusing NASCAR of causing the wreck that relegated him to a 17th-place finish by requiring the horsepower-sapping carburetor plates which slow the cars and prevent them from pulling away from each other.

"We've told them and told them to take the damn plates off the cars," Marlin shouted after leaving his own meeting with NASCAR officials. "They caused this and they'll continue to cause things like this until they get them off the cars.

"It's not safe and they better do something before Daytona next year."

Daytona International Speedway and Talladega, the two biggest and fastest tracks on the circuit, are the only places where the plates are used. They are intended to keep top speeds under 200 mph in the interest of safety.

Seven-time Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt was killed in an accident at Daytona in February. He was racing in a pack, something unavoidable with plates that make all the cars go practically the same speed.

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