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Drivers talking changes for NASCAR

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LOUDON, N.H. — After a day to let it sink in, the shock of Kenny Irwin's death here Friday produced some somber analysis on Saturday from several Winston Cup drivers.

A freak fatality? That's what Adam Petty's death here May 12 was thought to be. But seven weeks later, a crash eerily similar to Petty's killed Irwin. Both thought to be caused when throttle linkages stuck wide open, both drivers careening into the unyielding concrete wall in turn three.

This has drivers talking about small changes, such as attaching a hook on top of the accelerator pedal to allow a driver to pull back a stuck throttle with his foot, to large changes, such as installing some sort of shock-absorbing barrier in turns one and three here.

"I would hope after these two tragic deaths we've had that we can take a hard look at how to make the tracks safer," driver Rusty Wallace said. "Before we came here I always thought that everything was safer, but what (the fatalities) do is make you dig deeper.

"I'd be lying to you if I told you there's not some concern here. I'm just not going to take the high road and say, 'Oh no, everything's fine and it's just a one-time deal.' Personally, I'll go ahead and say what I think and I don't think it'll hurt the track's feelings."

Wallace went on to say that he's a proponent of the large Styrofoam blocks that some tracks put against walls to dissipate the energy of a crash.

"Our cars are safe and safety is not an issue," Dale Jarrett said in a short interview session.