CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NASCAR driver Ernie Irvan has chased speed since he can remember, but 20 mph may determine whether he ever races again.
If he'd been racing just that much slower when he crashed at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 20, Irvan says, he'd be able to race at Charlotte this weekend.
Yesterday, he issued an emphatic call for slower speeds, a single tire company and well-trained safety crews during his first visit to a racetrack since the crash that nearly killed him.
"I would probably be here at Charlotte Motor Speedway getting ready to qualify if we were going 20 miles an hour slower [than 170 mph], so obviously I think the speeds are too fast," he said.
Irvan's skull fractures are still healing and give him tremendous headaches at night, he said. His left eye remains covered by an patch.