COMMENTARY | Jason Leffler’s death has not been the first this year on the dirt tracks across America. There have been multiple fatalities this year and there have been many deaths in the past. Is it time to look into making dirt racing safer?
When Dale Earnhardt was killed in 2001, it finally made NASCAR realize that they had to do something to keep drivers safe. NASCAR decided to implement the HANS device, closed face helmets and SAFER barriers. If NASCAR had not made these requirements than most likely Eric McClure, Michael McDowell, Elliott Sadler, Michael Annett and Kyle Busch would not be racing anymore. All of them had serious crashes that would have ended their careers. Dale Earnhardt’s death in the 2001 Daytona 500 was the last one in NASCAR’s top three series.
Dirt Tracks across America are not requiring drivers to wear HANS devices and almost none of the tracks have SAFER barriers. With these two being required alone, it would save many lives. Another big problem is that drivers that race on dirt usually do not have any radio communication to their team. That means they have no spotter to tell them if they are clear or not. With cars getting faster as time goes on it is really dangerous for drivers not have spotters. The problem with dirt racing though is that it is super dangerous. When a Sprint Car gets turned the possibility of it flipping is very high. Also, Sprint Cars are basically open wheel,which means that if the wheels of two cars touch then there is going to be a crash.
Racing at any level is going to be dangerous regardless. All of the drivers are well aware of the risk and they accept it because racing is what they love to do.