Q. I've been seeing coverage of this. Diane Sawyer on the Nightly News, Nightline, and attention that NASCAR hasn't always been getting. Is any publicity good or the talk about settling scores and this crash and drivers taking it out on each other, is that good for NASCAR or is it not?
MIKE HELTON: Well, you'd have to ask 25 different people and you'd probably get 25 different opinions of what's good and what's not.
Again, I go back to the most serious issue from Sunday was the 12 car getting off the ground, and I think that also contributed to the spectacle of the episode. So we're very concerned and very aggressive at trying to figure out how to make that not happen again. Any car getting airborne at a racetrack is something that is high on our priority list to correct.
Q. Looking back even to last year toward the end of the season, you had the incidents at Homestead, and I know you talked about how you penalized those, and you had had the incident in Atlanta. Now you're seeing these payback incidents more often at higher-speed tracks than say the short tracks. At what point does that become a concern when you're talking about potential paybacks at tracks where they're going 180mph or more? And also because you've talked about the seriousness of the 12 getting airborne, can you also address what you guys are doing at this point to look into that issue?
MIKE HELTON: I go back to separating the two. The 12 car getting airborne is an issue, and I'll talk about how we're addressing it in just a second. I think to the first part of your question about our reaction, it comes from an epidemic level maybe of how often and how routine. Historically, if you look back at NASCAR's reaction to things, we may react to the first incident differently than we react to the third or fourth or fifth incident.
So, it's how much interaction or reaction does NASCAR have to have to turn the tide back in the direction where it should be. That is typical on any penalty whether it's a payback in Bristol or payback in Daytona, and we've had them all over the map everywhere we go.
But it's also typical of NASCAR's reaction to a direction that crew chiefs may be going in the garage area with different things. We'll escalate our reaction to prevent the direction that maybe we think is going in the wrong direction and turn it back around.
What we're doing right now with the 12 car is studying it. We've got a lot of technology with data recorders, just like we do with the 39 car in Talladega. Now we've got the second element of the 12 car from Atlanta that we can look at the dimensions of the car. We can look at the impact that the car took and the reaction of the roll cage and the hoop and different elements that we saw that did their job, but how much better can we make those components work so that doesn't happen again?
We also can look from the technology, the data recorder, the speeds, all the things that we have access to today to determine the high speed in Atlanta may be on par with Daytona and Talladega now. If that's the case, where else does that transfer to? Then we'll come up with a reaction from all of that study.
Q. You said you were going to talk with both drivers' car owners. Can you elaborate on the message you want to convey to Brad as well? I think we've got the idea on Carl, but what is the message you want to convey to Brad?
MIKE HELTON: I think it separates a little bit in this conversation. It's more of an open dialogue among the two drivers to discuss the issues they might have with each other and reach a resolve that way.
It's not as much us lecturing or mentoring at this point as it is for the two drivers to talk it out and the owners listening to the conversation and their input's important. I think Roger's and Jack's input will be very important in this conversation, as we've learned from the past. And, then ultimately, the drivers understand the seriousness of this topic and the fact that, you know, we expect them to race on the racetrack that NASCAR fans expect them to, and we expect them to and you expect them to.
But if there's a rivalry that goes on while racing, then they need to figure out how to manage that before we get more involved in it.
Q. Recently some executives from NASCAR at a media tour said, have at it and have a good time, when referring to aggressive driving. Another executive said, we want to see what you want to see. More contact. This is a contact sport. We want to see drivers mixing it up. Do you think the executives are promoting aggressive driving and what message are they sending to drivers?
MIKE HELTON: We're promoting typical NASCAR driving, side-by-side racing with our type of racecars. And that's what we talked about back in January. A lot of that came from the conversation of NASCAR taking stock of its rules and regulations to back away from the grip we may have on drivers that caused the driver to pull up to a car and say, well, I think I can get around him, but maybe I can't. And, if I hit him, I don't want to pay the price for what that costs.
So, we were telling the drivers and telling the public that we told the drivers that we were going to back off on that grip we had. But there is a line you can cross. When you cross that line in our opinion, we're going to get involved with you.