Feb 23, 2013; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; An official stands next to the damaged crash fence as the engine of NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Kyle Larson catches fire during the DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Daytona races on? Really NASCAR?

So if you’re a NASCAR fan and you’re uncomfortable with the 28 fans and a driver who was injured in a massive, yet entirely predictable, accident you shouldn’t be, because it was the inevitable outcome of NASCAR giving you what you want.

NASCAR changed to rulebook to do away with the safer two-car tandem drafting in favor of the pack racing, and the inevitable massive flaming wrecks that follow, because “you” the fans wanted it. They say the fans just wanted the pack racing, and not predictable flaming crashes where cars ramp off each other and push themselves into the catch fencing. I’m sure they didn’t change Bristol Motor Speedway in order to generate more crashes either.

Feb 23, 2013; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; A fan is treated for injuries sustained from debris that went into the stands following a crash on the last lap of the DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway. Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

So 28 fans and a driver are injured and what does NASCAR do? They repair the fence. I’d like to say they repair the fence “And,” something but all they’re doing is repairing the fence, nothing else. I guess maybe they prayed that no fans get hurt, but it’s kinda clear to anyone with eyes that Daytona andTalladegaaren’t safe for fans, and NASCAR kinda likes it that way.

Were there any significant changes after Brad Keselowski sent Carl Edwards into the catch fencing at Talladega and injured nine fans? The catch fencing was expanded, but other fact subsequent changes insured the cars will be even bigger packs together, which almost guarantees more wrecks like what happened Saturday.

Judging from the pictures showing stretches of empty seats if a similar accident happens during a Sprint Cup race it will be much worse. So what’s the plan to stop that from happening again? As far as I can tell it’s a welding torch and some prayer requests. I’m not being sarcastic, like that’s the plan, rebuild and pray.

Say what you want about Indycar, but open wheel racing takes their safety concerns fair more seriously. When it became apparent that their cars were too fast for Texas Motor Speedway in 2001 CART officials called off the race there, even though the lawsuit is one of the reasons credited for destroying the league and leading to the short lived Champ Car. When three fans at Charlotte Motor Speedway were killed at the Indy Racing League race there officials stopped the race and open wheel has never been back. When Dan Wheldon died in a horrific accident where cars flew 200 feet in the air Indycar stopped the race and has yet to return to Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

When 28 fans and a driver are injured at a Nationwide race what does NASCAR do? They repair the catch fencing and hold an even bigger, faster race the next day. Why? Because it’s what you as a fan want. Fans don’t want NASCAR to postpone the Daytona 500 until they can take steps to make the track safer. They want the show to go on.

Indycar went through a compete redesign to break up pack racing at superspeedways and reduce the “Ramping” forces that send their faster, lighter, more nimble cars into the air. It was a redesign that fans almost universally panned because the resulting car is “Ugly,” but it seems to be safer while doing away with pack racing.

NASCAR on the other had had a much safer, two-car drafting style race that they tore up to get back to pack racing, and the inevitable cartoon crashes that follow. During the short press conference where NASCAR and Daytona officials were like, “Don’t worry, it’s totally safe,” Sirius Radio’s Claire B. Lang suggested there were changes considered to the speedway that could have stopped the accident, but officials chose not to elaborate

NASCAR’s not doing anything – except maybe praying – and going ahead with the show? Why? Because it’s what you as the fans want.

It’s a selling point for the series. What gets more time on sporting news sites? Giant crashes that remind me of how my seven-year-old nephew plays with his Matchbox cars, or cars running around a track by themselves? Announcers proudly proclaim things like “43 cars nose to tail,” or “You couldn’t slide a piece of paper between the first six cars in line.” They’re selling the pack racing because it’s what you, as fans, seem to want, and unless you’re in the first twenty rows you probably won’t pay the price.

Danica Patrick was on the pole. There had been big wrecks in every race so far this speedway, and the big packs are back. If anything the additional blood sport aspect of fans potentially dying adds even more hype to the show. This is their Superbowl, and they’re not going to cancel it, even if it means a few spectators get hurt in the process. It’s what you, “The fans” want.

Tags: Daytona 500 Daytona International Speedway DRIVE4COPD 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series Sprint Cup Series

comments powered by Disqus