That quote in the title is from NASCAR driver Ryan Newman reflecting yesterday's crash-marred restrictor plate race at Talladega. The most dramatic wreck of the day was the one involving rookie driver Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards
Here's video of Carl Edwards' wreck just short of the finish line, including a view from inside his car as he went airborne.
Thank god the fence held. Otherwise we'd be talking about spectator deaths. I watched some video that Carl Edwards uploaded to his official Facebook site yesterday, video taken not long after the crash. Edwards was visibly shaken by what had just transpired.
I don't follow NASCAR cloesly enough to be able to say much about the rules and the racers' strategies. But it seems that the restrictor plates may add some moral hazard into racing.
According to the concept of moral hazard, a person is more likely to engage in risky behavior when he is insured against the risk. He does this because as in any aspect of rational, self-interested human behavior, getting insurance lowers the expected cost of taking a given risk. Given the expected benefits, the insurance makes the person more likely to take the risk.
In NASCAR, a restrictor plate is installed on the air intake of the engine in order to limit the power generated by the engine and thus the speed of the car. In response to the safety rules, drivers, in their quest to finish as high as possible, may take chances they otherwise would not take. This is the so-called Peltzman effect.
Is this what happend yesterday at Talledaga? I really don't know. But what I saw is at least consistent with the Peltzman effect.