Racing Still a Dangerous Sport

Every now and then it takes an incident to remind everyone of how dangerous it really is to race. And for NASCAR, its Nationwide Series event on May 5th at Talladega had that incident, which involved Eric McClure. 

Late in the event, a big wreck developed in front of McClure and contact from another competitor sent him careening into the inside wall, head on and at full speed. McClure had to be cut from his machine and was airlifted to a local hospital. He was, however, responsive to medical personnel and reports Saturday night indicate McClure is talking with family members and will be held overnight at the hospital for observation. 

Restrictor Plate racing always has its share of multi-car and spectacular accidents, but its been awhile since one injured a driver.
While everyone knows racing is dangerous, there’s certainly a safer feel these days since the advent of the “Car of tomorrow”, which was built with safety in mind. The car is physically larger than older cars making the cockpit larger, thus creating more room and protection for the driver. That and drivers have head and neck restraints as well as protective seats that make it very difficult for a driver to move about during the course of a crash. The addition of safer barriers at racetracks, designed to take a lot of energy during an impact, have also greatly improved safety in the past several years.
All of these safety enhancements have undoubtedly prevented several deaths over the last few years. NASCAR’s last fatal accident occurred when Dale Earnhardt passed away from injuries sustained on the last lap of the Daytona 500 in 2001; well before many of these safety enhancements took effect. 

The Indycar Series hasn’t been as lucky, even though they also have several safetly initiatives in place. Dan Wheldon was killed during the season finale at Las Vegas in October of 2011 proving that one can never get complacent when it comes to safety.
So it’ll be important for NASCAR to continue doing a great job with safety improvements. While they may have escaped having to endure another death, this most recent accident shows that there is still more room for improvement. If anything, it shows that complacency has no business in racing and that racing is still a dangerous sport.

One thought on “Racing Still a Dangerous Sport

  1. Thanks Andrew for sharing this important reminder for all of us! There is still work to accomplish in keeping our drivers safe in this sport of high speeds and danger. Because we still have tandems, I really feel there should be a reconsideration of banning radio communications between teams. Also hope NASCAR can find a happy medium between fans looking for more excitement and drivers appreciation of the cost in money and safety. Prayers continuing for Eric McClure and his family

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s