Truex says drivers can do better at Superspeedways

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By Tim Packman, Contributing Writer

LAS VEGAS, NV. – NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex, Jr. thinks his fellow drivers have room for improvement when it comes to racing at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.

At those tracks, drivers know something is going to happen during the race resulting in equipment getting torn up in massive wrecks. While safety has improved greatly in today’s cars, Truex thinks some of his fellow drivers are taking the wrong approach to Superspeedway racing.

“As drivers, I think there’s a lot of guys that kind of drive beyond the limits,” he said. “I feel like sometimes we go out on the superspeedways and guys think it’s a video game. And, if you crash you hit reset and that’s really not the case, as we saw Monday night.

“We could literally go all day without crashing if everyone said ‘I’m not going to wreck.’ If somebody makes a bad move, ‘I’m going to lift. I’m not going to push harder than I think I can.’

That was very evident after what the world witnessed in the Daytona 500 last week. The aftermath of Ryan Newman’s horrific crash on the last lap was a vivid reminder injury, or worse, can happen to drivers.

Truex and Newman are close friends who spend a lot of time together away from the track. When news broke Newman was alert, talking to doctors and cracking jokes, Truex went down to see him in the Halifax Medical Center in Daytona.

“It was cool to just go down there and see him and make sure he was okay,” Truex said of Newman. “Really, Sherry (Pollex) and I just wanted him to know we were there for him if he needed anything.

“It was good to see the good shape he was in. It was a little surprising, as well. We’re planning fishing trips already, so it was a fun visit to hang out.

“I’ve been talking to him throughout the week, obviously. He’s a tough son of a gun. He’s in good spirits and hanging out with his family, so he’s doing well.”

It was great for everyone to see Newman walk out of the hospital with his two daughters just 42 hours after his wreck. However, the fact the industry could have endured a repeat of Dale Earnhardt’s last-lap outcome in the 2001 Daytona 500 was prevalent following the 2020 race.

Through the years, NASCAR, teams and drivers have continually gone above and beyond to enhance safety and reduce injuries. Newman himself was heavily involved in the process utilizing his engineering degree to offer input.

As a result, the sanctioning body adopted one of his ideas and even named it after him. Thus, the Newman Bar was implemented and another bar was put in the car’s roll cage.

“I think everyone who steps in a race car understands there’s a potential risk of injury,” Truex said. “That’s just part of the deal. I feel like a lot of people have gotten numb to it over the years because the cars have gotten so safe.

“I feel like in the case of Ryan’s (Newman) crash, it was not something that normally happens. It was the worst possible scenario you could possibly get hit in when you are upside down.

“I definitely think we can do a better job as drivers not crashing the whole field. It’s really not that difficult to not cause a crash.”

One Comment

  1. Bob Fetzer

    February 23, 2020 at 4:23 pm

    Excellent story

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