I am a huge fan of both Talledega and Daytona races, and at one time, these were the best races to watch by far.
Since the untimely death of one of NASCAR's legends, Dale Earnhardt, in 2001 at Daytona, safety concerns have been an important topic of conversation. And with the recent crash on the final lap at Talledega involving Carl Edwards, not only are restrictor plates a concern, but fan safety has become an issue as well.
We must do something to bring back the competitive nature of these races. I for one think that NASCAR needs to stop trying to put all cars on an equal playing field; I say let the crew chiefs do what they do best, and that's outsmarting opponents. Car setup should be up to the crew chiefs and not mandated by the larger association.
Besides, if spreading the field is the objective, what is being done is evidently not working. I'd suggest taking some banking out so that the cars must slow or gear down when entering the turns; this would put skill back into the sport and make for a safer sport.
As it is now, we are all waiting for "the big one" And hoping that our favorite driver isn`t involved. Regulations imposed by NASCAR are only making matters much worse than they need to be.
Taking banking out and allowing the crew chiefs to set up the cars as they see fit (including gear ratio, chasis, air pressure, etc.) would put competition back in play, and that would allow the field to spread out more, saving teams money and keeping the fans safer.
Steve Raper, 5-2-09: Blytheville, Arkansas