It's been a year of wild crashes, wrecked cars and a few injuries, but no deaths (Thank God)
It started at the very first race of the year, the Daytona 500. Dale Earnhardt Jr and Brian Vickers wanted the same real estate and the competition for that space resulted in "the Big One"
The superspeedways are almost a guarantee for those wrecks, and the first visit to Talladega gave us a horrendous crash, resulting in parts of the catch fence being destroyed and a number of the fans being injured.
Luckily, the drivers walked (or in Carl Edwards' case ran) away. The changes made to the car in recent years seemed to do the job and although the cars were completely anihialated, the most important cargo, the drivers, were unhurt. NASCAR discussed changes to the catch fence and moving the seats back to protect the fans, but it was called a once in a lifetime kind of accident. Unfortunately, that isn't the case, as Geoff Bodine was seriously hurt in an errily similar looking crash at Daytona years earlier.
Back to Daytona, and another accident, this time giving Kyle Busch the ride of a lifetime.
Again, the driver walked away, even though the car was completely destroyed. And so it seemed, the COT was doing it's job, as the Safer Barriers were doing theirs.
Then we go to Watkins Glen, a track where horrific accidents are not even considered. And what do we get? One of those crashes that takes your breath away and had you praying, even if you aren't a religious person. Two days after the wreck, Jeff Gordon is still sore, and Jeff Burton is still a little stiff. No wonder, that wreck was truly one of the worst I have ever seen. The tire barriers at the track clearly do not do their job.
Sam Hornish's Crew Chief says his driver is just fine, and feeling better than any of them had thought he would be after a wreck as serious as this.
The question is, though, are the changes NASCAR has made enough?
The COT was implemented in part to provide better safety to the drivers. The safer barrier was implemented to absorb the energy of the crash and, again, protect the driver from injury, and both of those actions have succeeded. It seems, however, that the crashes this year are much worse than what we've seen in years past.
Are the drivers taking more risks, because they know the safety features in place are better able to protect them? Or is there something about the COT that is helping create the violent crashes we've seen? Is it a combination of the two? or something completely different? I honestly don't know why, but I am sure NASCAR will address it, no matter what the cause.
What would you do, if you were charged with making racing safer? Would you change the car? the tracks? Or would you add restrictor plates to all tracks, or change the engines some other way to slow the cars down?
Here's your chance to be the expert. Tell Brian France what YOU would do.