Motorsports safety is a topic that has been ongoing ever since the first car drove fast. In my opinion, the topic has different chapters defined by when the topic is brought back into the media spotlight.
In 2020, it came up right away in the NASCAR season when Ryan Newman had his horrible accident at the end of the Daytona 500.
To provide a little refresher, his car hit the outside wall head-on causing it to go airborne. While flipping in the air, another car slammed into Newman’s car right at the top of the driver side window (basically where Newman’s head would be located).
He was cut from the car, driven to the local hospital, and two days later walked out, hand-in-hand with his two daughters, with just a concussion and some bruising.
This situation was called a miracle because it was. No driver 20, 15, 10, even 5 years ago would have been able to walk away from it.
This accident, of course, reopened the discussion of speedway safety and the dangers of racing. Should we slow the cars down? Make a no blocking rule? Bubble wrap the drivers and cars? (that last one is a running joke within my family).
Thankfully, that was the only major accident in 2020, but fast forward to Talladega 2021.
Last week, Joey Logano in the number 22 car was spun out and flipped over onto his roof, slid down the race track to then flip back onto his wheels.
The flip was spectacular. It was rear end first resulting in his car flipping length-wise, as opposed to the normal side roll. However, when the car landed on the roof, it hit the driver’s side top window first, crushing that piece of roll bar.
Now, Joey Logano is one of the taller NASCAR drivers, so his head is already near the roof. In an interview after the accident, he said that he slammed his head. Thankfully, he was okay.
Logano did make a statement however during that same interview, saying “I’m just happy I’m alive. On the other hand I think, when are we going to stop? Because this is dangerous. I am one hit away from the same situation Ryan Newman just went through.” He continued to say “Someone already got hurt and we’re still doing it, so that’s not real smart.”
Strong words from Logano, not really directed toward one person, but more or less toward NASCAR as a whole.
NASCAR is constantly doing research and development on safety, to find that balance between speed, excitement and safety.
A lot of social media comments basically called Logano a crybaby due to past situations where he was…well a crybaby (kind of).
But no matter what you think of Logano, he is still one of the top drivers in the series and his words do have a major point. Is NASCAR beyond a point where they need to now reel the field back in to keep drivers safe?
My opinion is leave it alone. I understand where the concerns and NASCAR should definitely look into the issue around the driver-side top window crushing down.
But when you sit back and look at the sport and consider that since the early 2000’s, we haven’t had a fatality and no major injuries, that’s huge for a sport with so much danger revolving around it.
And since NASCAR hasn’t come up with a major change to the current racing since Newman’s accident and now Logano’s, I would say trust the professionals here. They know what they are doing.
Of course there is always something to be worked on and tweaked, so trust me when I say that NASCAR didn’t just sit back and relax after Logano’s accident. NASCAR most likely tore it apart and looked at every part to learn from it.
Safety is an ever evolving thing, and the motorsports world as a whole has done an amazing job to keep up with it and try to combat it. The best part in my opinion, is that all series around the world will share notes with each other.
Motorsports has never been safer then it is now.