Carl gets redemption from Saturday's defeat and wins his second Cup race in a row, while 4-time Cup Champ Jeff Gordon tries to tear down the inside wall on the backstretch with just over 4 laps left.
Carl's team deserved the win, but they almost lost any chance of contending for it late in the race when, during a pit stop, a tire got away from the crew and rolled out across pit road and into the infield grass - a rules offence that usually sends the car to the back of the pack at the end of the longest line. Once NASCAR reviewed the tapes they did not punish the 99 team. You see, a cameraman inadvertently got in a crewman's way which caused the tire to roll back out onto pit road.
As much as I have beat up on Carl in the past, I do believe NASCAR got it right in letting the 99 car stay where it was on the track and not penalize him for the incident.
Jeff Gordon, on the other hand, wasn't as lucky as Carl. During a late race re-start Jeff slid up the track once he past Dale Jr and hit Matt Kenseth sending him spinning. Gordon then tried to avoid the sideways Kenseth and turned left toward the inside wall. Unfortunately for Gordon he didn't just hit the inside wall he veered into the service opening and hit the curved portion of the wall which had devastating results for Gordon and his car.
I strongly believe that the reason Gordon wasn't seriously injured was due to the safety features of the new race car. I also believe that NASCAR needs to mandate that all tracks must have safer barriers on every square inch of every wall surface; the outside walls (including the straightaways), the inside walls, and even the pit road walls.
Although they have improved the safety of service entrances at tracks since Michael Waltrip's incident just over 15 years ago at Bristol, I feel it is about time for NASCAR to look at this again and come up with even better safety protocols for service entrances.
NASCAR needs to do this before someone is seriously injured, or even killed. Could you imagine the state of NASCAR right now if Jeff Gordon suffered injuries similar to those sustained by Dale Earnhardt 7 years ago? A four time Cup champ and new father gone, just like that. All the lessons learned, and technology developed as a result of the deaths of Kenny Irwin, Adam Petty, Dale Earnhardt, and others would have be for nothing.
So what if it costs millions of dollars to put these walls up and make other improvements to the tracks. Aren't these drivers worth it? With out them there are no races, no fans, and no money!