Motor Sport is a dangerous sport.
Last Saturday, NASCAR had one of the most horrendous crashes in their history amazingly no one died there or was seriously injured.
NASCAR is a dangerous sport but when we talk about safety they learnt in the bad way.
In tracks like Daytona the Engine of the NASCAR’s Car has to race with a Restrictor Plate located in the Engine. After Bobby Allison flew into the catch fence in Talladega 88’ after one of the rear tires blew up 24 years ago.
NASCAR has the Safety Barriers because one of the most legendary Drivers died in the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.
As I wrote in the beginning of this post that crash that happened last Saturday was horrendous but let’s be honest the chances of being hit by a Car or the debris in that kind of crash is one divided with the numbers of laps of a NASCAR Race because that could happen at any moment.
The NASCAR Car himself it is one the safest Cars in the Racing World that crash was a clearly example of that.
I couldn’t see the race as I was out of the city so I had to follow the race on Twitter. A lot of F1 Fans were watching too, mainly because Travis Pastrana was there driving the #60 Car, some were making jokes about Nelson Piquet Jr and others complaining about NASCAR and bla bla bla bla.
Sometimes I think the F1 Fan have this kind of hate to NASCAR because they can’t get over the fact that something “simple” as driving a Car while turning left during 3 hours can be so successful in one most biggest countries in the world and not Formula 1.
In that case the ignorance predominates or they don’t want to hear or read an explanation about the technical topics of a NASCAR Car, simply they don’t give a crap about it.
At the last lap, Regan Smith was leading, in second place was Brad Keselowski, heading to turn 3, Keselowski was looking for a space to make the winning move as the Cars were heading to turn 4, final meters, Keselowski makes the move and the carnage began…..
In a first view a lot of F1 Fans were concerned fans and then, the criticism started….
One of the topic I saw in the aftermath of that crash was the criticism against Brad Keselowski, the commentators and his apparently exciting about crashes and about safety.
Aggressive drive by Keselowski
My response: If you see the replay of that Keselowski was bumping Smith through the finish. (NASCAR allows the bump drafting) Brad tried to do a “Sling-shot” pass which consist that the car behind the leader in this case him, uses his draft to overtake the next car and win the position. In this case didn’t work out.
The commentators and the apparently excitement about crashes
My response: When NASCAR races in tracks like Daytona or Talladega (Super Speedways) they have a restrictor plate in the Engines. That reduce the HorsePower in the Engine from 950 to 450 so that’s why they run together and that’s why those Car are prone to the big ones and there’s the reason of why the commentators look forward to that because that can decide races and sometimes be they moment for a championship.
Safety in NASCAR
My response: Since Dale Earnhardt Sr death at the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500 everything change. The COT (Car of Tomorrow) was made, the HANS Device became obligatory along with the “full face helmets” and the instauration of the SAFER Barriors.
When It comes to the Grandstands, NASCAR and the Daytona International Speedway have planned to build a tunnel down under the track to be used as a public access.
¿Why the idea of the tunnel? When Larson’s Car hits the catch fence, the Car hits exactly in the entry/exit door of the grandstands (In Daytona you have the option to go to the track in the pre-race and walk around the pits, etc) and that part of the catch fence is one of the most weakest parts for a hit of that magnitude.
Meanwhile NASCAR is looking for a solution. The F1 Fans and Formula 1 in general still arguing if the F1 Cars should have a closed cockpit. Having as an antecedent the near fatal crash of Felipe Massa at Hungary 2009, Henry Surtees fatal crash at Brand Hatch during a F2 Race on 2008 and finally the first lap crash at the Belgian Grand Prix between Alonso, Hamilton, Grosjean and Kobayashi which nearly beheads Fernando Alonso.