Last November at Atlanta International Raceway, Ricky Rudd's car spun out of control on pit road and killed a mechanic who was changing a tire on Bill Elliott's car. As a result, racing officials have adopted the following rule changes. They will be used for the first time during Sunday's Daytona 500.
* RULE: A pace car will lead cars down pit road during each caution lap.
REACTION: "The goal was for safety," said crew chief Gary Nelson, who helped draft the new rules. "I think this will make it a whole lot safer. I feel good about telling my guys to go over the wall. Drivers have always come in on the edge of their ability, and now, at least under caution, that should change."
* RULE: No tire changes under caution.
REACTION: "Certainly it is going to change the complexion of the race -- with the tire changing," Nelson said. "It can help you, and it can hurt you. If your car runs better on used tires near the end of the race, that could be to your advantage. Hopefully, we'll figure out the system and make it work for us."