Sunday, February 24, 2013

More Victims of Stupid Driving

The Nationwide race ended, as has become almost routine now, with a terrible wreck on the last lap when one driver tried to prevent another from passing him by moving suddenly sideways to in front of the passing car, a move known as “blocking.” As is also almost routine, he made to move too late, hitting the passing car instead of blocking him, turning himself sideways and causing a massive pileup of the cars behind them. As stupid as it is, blocking is not against the rules established by NASCAR.

This one also sent a car airborne and into the catchfence. Everything in front of the windshield was torn off of the car, and the engine and both front wheels along with all of the surrounding sheet metal was thrown into the crowd of spectators. The driver was unhurt, but two dozen spectators were injured, some of them seriously.

Tony Stewart won the race, and as he climbed out of his car in victory circle he was not smiling and was not happy. “As much as we want to celebrate now and as much as this is a big deal for all of us, I'm more worried about the drivers and the fans in the stands right now,” he said. "We've always known since racing was started this was a dangerous sport, but as drivers we assume that risk, and it's hard when the fans get caught up in it." Thoughtful words from a sensible driver.

Regan Smith who caused the wreck by trying to block Brad Keselowski as Brad was passing him was completely unrepentant, saying that “I did what I had to do, and I would do it again, absolutely.” The man is an idiot.

NASCAR must outlaw blocking, especially on the restrictor plate tracks at Talledega and Daytona. It is dangerous, and someday it is going to kill someone. NASCAR has its head buried in the sand, claiming that it is too difficult to enforce, or that it would be a “judgement call,” or that there is some merit in blocking. All of that is nonsensical, and they should not be waiting until someone dies before that take action. We lost Dale Earnhardt because NASCAR was complacent, and we don’t need to lose anyone else because of their complacency and stupidity.

NASCAR claims to be "committed to safety," and yet they permit a practice which unquestioanly has caused many terrible wrecks, and which is without question the sole cause of yesterday's wreck which injured two dozen spectators. So long as they permit this dangerous, lethal practice any claim they make about being "committed to safety" is utter bullshit.

IndyCar outlaws blocking and that sport is better off, and is safer, for that rule. They know blocking when they see it, and drivers never raise any sort of major complaint when the rule is invoked. NASCAR claims to be a leader on motor sports, but they are not even a competent follower. NASCAR: outlaw blocking now.

1 comment:

  1. bruce2:39 PM

    I guess the 'catchfence' is an oxymoron since it wasn't and didn't.

    Regan Smith is an idiot and a poor driver if he doesn't know how to block properly, and knows it causes wrecks and is a danger to himself and other drivers and fans and has no qualms about doing it again. Tony Stewart is a much better driver in terms of attitude and ethics and of course, he won.

    Is there a way to make the catchfences better or a DMZ around the fan area or anything? or bad blocking in front of fan areas? if not to any of these, better that they ban blocking altogether. Or ban bad drivers.