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Carter said World of Outlaws is constantly reviewing its safety procedures, adding that changes could be made in the offseason.

But the tug of war between safety and speed will likely continue. Sprint car drivers have long internalized the constant presence of danger, knowing that the element of risk is part of the sport’s charm.

“Nobody wants to give up an advantage in performance and these guys, like I said, I compare them to space cowboys. That’s what makes them awesome and that’s what makes the cars incredible. That’s what makes their fan base as loyal as it is,” Gordon said.

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AP Sports Writer John Kekis contributed to this report from Watkins Glen, N.Y.