LOUDON, N.H. -- The point of impact on the wall was already painted over the day after Kenny Irwin's car hit it nearly head-on going 150 mph.
Harder to cover up Saturday was the sadness and loss wrought by yet another driver's death at New Hampshire International Speedway.
''We're all stunned, shocked that this could happen again,'' Winston Cup champion Dale Jarrett said.
''Unfortunately, we all have to go on about our business.''
It was hardly business as usual.
The 30-year-old Irwin died of multiple injuries Friday after his car struck the wall entering the nearly flat third turn and flipped over during practice for the New England 300. On May 12, at almost the same spot, Adam Petty died while practicing in his Busch Series car on the 1.058-mile track.
''Hopefully, we'll use these unfortunate circumstances to make things better,'' Jarrett said. ''There should be something come out of these two accidents that will be beneficial to everyone in the future.''
Although there was still no official word on what caused the accident, a single car running straight into a wall often is the result of a throttle stuck in the open position.
Jarrett, Mark Martin and Ward Burton say flat tracks with long straightaways and very sharp turns like those in Loudon and Martinsville, Va., pose the biggest problems if the throttle sticks. With little or no banking, a driver can't run uphill to slow the car and minimize contact with the wall.
''I think it needs to be addressed,'' Burton said.
Kevin Triplett, NASCAR's director of operations, said that while an investigation was under way, ''we just haven't found anything yet.''
Speedway officials had no comment regarding the racing surface, spokesman Fred Neergaard said.
Rusty Wallace, who has the pole for Sunday's race, said placing a metal loop over the accelerator would allow a driver to slide his foot higher on the pedal to free the throttle. Jarrett says such things can be avoided with careful inspections.
''That's the responsibility of the driver to look at that,'' he said.
Jarrett learned that lesson several years ago in Richmond, Va., when he hit the wall hard but escaped without injury.
''It's the worst feeling a driver can have,'' he said. ''A hung throttle and fire are the worst things that can happen.''
Because of protective fuel cells, fire has been eliminated as a major problem in stock car racing. But now, with seven NASCAR deaths in the last 10 years, drivers are suggesting some changes.
Wallace wants tracks to consider installing soft barriers in the turns, similar to those used on road courses like Watkins Glen, N.Y. There, tires are tied together and secured to the walls.
''I'm a big fan of these barriers after what I saw in the Busch race at Watkins Glen, when that one fellow hit and flipped over and it softened the blow,'' Wallace said.
He was referring to a high-speed, head-on crash by Jimmie Johnson into a tire barrier last month. Johnson emerged from his car unhurt, both arms raised in triumph as the crowd roared.
''I would hope that after these two tragic deaths we can take a hard look at how to make the tracks safer,'' said Wallace, expressing confidence that NASCAR will listen to the drivers. ''They're not just going to blow it off.''
Jarrett agrees that tire barriers may be the answer, but going fast means risks, and safety sometimes becomes a secondary issue.
''We're here to race, and that's what we'll do tomorrow,'' he said.
Irwin was a third-year driver who never won a Winston Cup race. Brett Bodine will try not to think about him while he's racing on Sunday, but he'll never forget his friend.
''It was a terrible day for our sport,'' he said. ''We're going to miss Kenny very much.''
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