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Nick Bromberg

Lost Marbles: Mikey Waltrip's encounter with the Bristol wall

Nick Bromberg
From The Marbles

Did you know that The Marbles has been around since NASCAR's beginnings? It's true!* And we've just recently come across a treasure trove of old Marbles posts from days gone by! Check out what was being said right here during the greatest moments in NASCAR history, only on Lost Marbles! Today, we're looking back at a particular Bristol race in 1990 ...

If you didn't catch yesterday's Budweiser 250 Busch Grand National race on Sportscenter or your late local news, you missed a crash that could be the catalyst for change in NASCAR:

We all know that Bristol is a dangerous track and that a crash could happen anywhere, but this one was very unexpected. Michael Waltrip was on the high side exiting turn two and smashed into the wall.

Innocent enough, right? But the spot that Waltrip hit was where the gate to allow cars in the infield attaches to the wall, the gate bowed, and Waltrip essentially hit the blunt end of the wall head on.

Those of us in the media center were certain that something had happened to Waltrip, whether it was a serious injury or -- dare I say it -- death. The car looked like it had been spun in a blender after it had been dropped from a 10 story building. I think the rear decklid might have even ended up in front of the cockpit.

The roll cage was certainly bent, but miraculously it did its job, as Waltrip was basically unhurt.

But given the way that Waltrip's car looked after that crash, it's only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt. We need to figure out how to make these cars safer and able to withstand impacts like this. It's great that the car was able to dissipate a lot of the energy before it got to Waltrip, but Michael's 6'5". He doesn't have much leeway inside that roll cage.

More importantly, something needs to be done about the gates at Bristol. How could this have happened? This needs to be addressed immediately because it's right on the exit of the corner. Imagine if this happens again in NASCAR in 10 years? We'll probably have the cars going 150 MPH at Bristol by that time, and if this was to happen then, I may be having to cover a driver's funeral.

*-Nope, still not true.

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