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No Cup driver has died in several years, so NASCAR drivers seem to think they're invincible

  Greg Biffle: NASCAR Supermen in these COTs? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern


   JOLIET, Ill.

   The Tony Stewart-Kyle Busch last lap crash at Daytona Saturday, and April's last-lap crash involving Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski, have created a sense that NASCAR drivers are starting to feel invincible in these race cars, now stuff with a lot of safety equipment, and with soft wall at every track.
   And Jeff Gordon says he's getting a little worried about the situation.
   But Stewart himself says it's just business as usual at Daytona and Talladega, pointing to the 1976 crash involving Richard Petty and David Pearson, and the 1979 crash involving Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison, and other similar incidents.
   Busch says NASCAR should take a look at the situation and use the blackflag if necessary to back drivers down.
   Greg Biffle says NASCAR officials might be right if they try to crack down.
  "You certainly always need to protect us from ourselves," Biffle concedes. "We can get ourselves in trouble, no matter what. You've got to always watch for that.
    "But restrictor plate racing is its own animal.
    "The thing is we're crashing on the straightaway, and the crashes are two cars -- not multiple cars.
    "It's two cars involved in these wrecks at the ends of these races -- and it's the first and second place guys trying to get the trophy. 
     "There's no way to fix that, for sure.
    "It's just unfortunately what's going to happen at the end. 
     "The thing that concerns me is the safety aspect of the cars getting slowed down enough after there's a crash like that. Kyle got hit multiple times. Are people slowing down, or are they trying to still race to the line?
    "I've got a concern with that, because Kyle got hit by Kasey Kahne and then got hit by other cars too.  He got hit by a car that was behind me on the race track pretty hard…which tells me that maybe that guy wasn't slowing down as quick as he could have been. 
    "That's one concern  -- when we have these wrecks at the end of the race, how quickly does the caution come out, and are we racing back to the line?
    "That's probably my biggest concern – safety: a guy getting hit two or three or four or five times. 
    "And of course staying out of the fence was the key this time."
    At Talladega Edwards' car got airborne and ripped part of the frontstretch retaining fence, showering debris on the crowd and injuring several fans.
    Are these drivers feeling too much like supermen now?
    "I can tell you one thing -- you can get hurt in these cars," Biffle says. "It hurts when you crash at 175 mph.
    "But I think there are some guys pushing that envelope, thinking somebody is going to give. 
    "They're playing chicken.
     "When one guy is moving over to block, you've got three choices.  One, let up on the gas.  Two, move over and let him run you up the race track. Or three, spin him out. 
    "Guys are testing that to see what that guy is going to do. 
     "When you can see the checkered flag it's tough to just rollover and play dead.
     "But at the same time you don't want to get turned around on the frontstretch in front of the whole field. 
      "You can get hurt in these cars. It does hurt when you crash in these things."
     Teammate Edwards, whose Talladega crash was one of the season's scariest, points to another aspect:
    "From what I could see of the replays (of Stewart-Busch at Daytona) I think it was almost an identical situation.
     "In my wreck I barely started to block. Brad really held his ground.
    "I think the Daytona wreck Kyle blocked a little more, but it happened so quickly that you can’t really tell.
    "The scary part, when I saw the replays, is all the people standing against the fence at Daytona. If they had been standing against the fence like that at Talladega, it would have been really bad.
    "I guess we are gonna keep racing like that. I guess that's how it's going to be. So the only thing I hope happens is they get those fans away from the fence, because nobody in this garage wants any part of something bad like that happening."


Why Are Drivers Always Assigning Blame?

"When we have these wrecks, how quickly does the caution come out? Are we still racing to the line?" It sounds like Greg Biffle is trying to blame NASCAR for drivers not looking past the nose of their cars. Are drivers so myopic that they have to blame someone or something instead of themselves?

There was no avoiding Busch getting hit by other cars in that particular wreck.

As for black flagging, we've already seen the controversy it's caused as it is now - I'm not sure adding more black flags is going to benefit anything, even though some drivers deserve to get benched for several races such as Gordon, who's had a pretty long history of this.

And what is it about some of these drivers that they can't say "Tony Stewart turned Kyle Busch"? They keep saying, "Busch blocked." That's not what happened.

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