Although Ryan Newman is already out of the hospital following his dangerous crash at the Daytona 500 on Monday, NASCAR insides and fans are still debating what could be done to improve dive safety. That includes Dale Earnhardt Jr., who theorized that the giant spoilers on the back of NASCAR vehicles might have played a role in the crash. Newman lost control of his vehicle towards the end of the ace, and his car flipped over.
In his podcast The Dale Jr. Download, Earnhardt explained why he believed the spoilers, which were introduced last year, actually makes drivers more aggressive.
"[All the blocking we see in the races] is because of the giant spoiler on the car," Earnhardt said, reports Business Insider. "I'm sorry. The spoiler creates such big runs from the guys behind them... The runs are so plentiful. The runs are so aggressive. The ability to push and shove because of the wake of the spoiler. You're just running over the leader, really, and he's doing everything he can to keep you behind him."
Newman was in the lead at the time of the crash. He was trying to protect his lead by blocking Ryan Blaney. Blaney's car made contact with Newman's, whose vehicle then turned into a wall. Corey LaJoie slammed the driver's side, sending Newman's car into the air. It flipped over multiple times before landing on the roof. NASCAR crew had to flip the car over before taking Newman out of the vehicle.
The large spoilers were introduced for the 2019 season to increase downforce on the cars so they would ride lower. This should lead to more grip from the ties and more speed in cones, while less speed in the straightaways because of the dag. But the cars behind the leaders can travel much fate.
"Years ago, even before I drove, the runs were less often, more predictable, and a block wasn't a block because the move could be made so soon or so early that it wasn't late," Earnhardt explained. "It wasn't too late. It wasn't at the last second. It wasn't a big surprise to everybody around you. You could tell a run was coming and gradually get where you wanted to be to defend it without really creating any kind of situation or scenario for other people."
Earnhardt made it very clear he is not a fan of the spoilers, and it would dissuade him from every diving in NASCAR again.
"I'm not a big fan of the spoiler, the aesthetics of it," the retired driver said. "It's just not fun to look at, and I can't imagine being in a car and having to stare at that thing the entire race. It would just make me grind my teeth out of my head."
Newman was hospitalized at the Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Florida after the crash. On Wednesday, he was released. There is no timetable set for his return to racing.
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