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Childress Upset About Improper Seat Belt Installation Claims

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BRISTOL, TENN. — Dale Earnhardt's longtime car owner reacted angrily Thursday to seat belt maker Bill Simpson's claim that he repeatedly warned the late driver the belts in his car were not installed properly.

``In the 16 years that Dale and I were together, Dale never said anything to me about any conversation with Bill Simpson or any of Bill's representatives regarding the installation of the seat belts,'' car owner Richard Childress said. ``Bill did speak to Dale and me on several occasions concerning safety issues, including gloves, shoes and full-face helmets.''

The issue came up after NASCAR presented its report Tuesday into Earnhardt's Feb. 18 death.

Its investigation found that a combination of a broken seat belt, a collision with another car and the angle in which his Chevrolet hit the wall on the final turn of the Daytona 500 all contributed to Earnhardt' death.

The report also said the separation of the belt was ``not caused by driver adjustment.''

Nevertheless, immediately after the presentation, a representative of Simpson's said the belt maker had told Earnhardt on more than one occasion that he was not using his belts correctly.

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