SEATBELT maker resigns in wake of Earnhardt controversy

Wednesday, August 1st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Daytona Beach, Florida-AP) -- Bill Simpson, who found himself at the center of controversy following Dale Earnhardt's death, has resigned as head of the company that manufactured Earnhardt's safety belts.

Simpson says the stress of the controversy, in his words, ``got to be too much.'' He's maintained for months that NASCAR made him a scapegoat in the wake of Earnhardt's death.

Simpson says he submitted his resignation to Charlotte-based Carousel Capital on July 17th. Carousel Capital is the majority owner of Simpson Performance Products. Simpson says he found out on July 17th that his resignation had been accepted.

Simpson received death threats and saw his employees harassed after NASCAR announced on February 23rd that it had found a broken Simpson lap belt in Earnhardt's crashed Chevrolet at the Daytona 500. NASCAR's report on Earnhardt's death is due out this month.