Fewer crashes in NASCAR season so far

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DOVER, Del. — Wrecks, pileups and torn-up cars have become a rarity in NASCAR this season.

Gordon  NIGEL KINRADE/AP
NIGEL KINRADE/AP
Gordon

There have been fewer yellow flags leading to lengthy, green-flag runs that can make for cleaner races.

Theories are as varied as the types of tracks on the Sprint Cup schedule. Some feel drivers are more cautious and simply racing for valuable points to secure a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Others say the drivers are smarter and have a better feel for their cars.

“I just think guys are racing smarter,” four-time champion Jeff Gordon said. “When I look back through the years of my experiences in this sport there have just been certain drivers that you always seem to see in cautions. I think the quality of the drivers and the way they are using their heads (has helped).”

Gordon said there is plenty of evidence of side-by-side racing that could spark wrecks and bring out the caution. It just hasn’t happened much.

Of course, it could just be an early-season aberration. The 1-mile concrete track at Dover International Speedway earned the nickname “Monster” for a reason. When racing on the concrete, it’s tough to dodge the smoke, the skids and the wrecks that make the 400-mile race one of the best to watch.

There were only five cautions last weekend in the Coca Cola 600. Before that, eight at Darlington, three of which were for debris. Known for “The Big One,” Talladega Superspeedway went small and totaled only five cautions for 24 laps. Richmond had one competition caution, three for debris and one for a spin. Kansas Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway combined for only five cautions in consecutive races.

BERGGREN RETIRES: Pit reporter Dick Berggren will retire at the end of tnday’s race. He’s worked as the lead reporter for Fox for the past 12 years.

The 70-year-old Berggren worked his first NASCAR race in 1981 and has spent most of the last four decades involved in the sport.

“He’s put a lot of his heart and soul into the sport,” driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. “He’s well respected and will be missed not just personally, but because of his skill and ability.”


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