Tag Archives: NASCAR

NASCAR’s Busch Brothers Sidelined Indefinitely

Joey Logano went to victory lane for his first time at Daytona, but the 2015 Daytona 500 marked another first. It was the first time in over 13 years that neither of the Busch brothers were in the Sprint Cup field. Both Karl and Kyle are sidelined indefinitely, but for entirely different reasons.

On Friday evening, NASCAR announced that former champion Kurt Busch is suspended indefinitely after a court determined he had committed domestic violence against his former girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll. Nobody likes to hear about these cases, but unfortunately it happens every day across the world. NASCAR’s swift actions publicises these stories. The support for Driscoll has been pouring in, and hopefully it can encourage more victims of domestic violence to come forward.

Just 24 hours after his older brother was sidelined, Kyle Busch was involved in a big crash which has ruled him out of competition indefinitely. Kyle struck an inside concrete barrier head-on at nearly 100mph, breaking his right leg and fracturing his left foot.

The crash occurred during the season-opening Xfinity Series race on Saturday. Kyle’s car speared into the concrete barrier after losing control. The crash can be seen below, just look at how hard his car hits the inside barrier and the resulting damage to the car.

Over the past year, Daytona have increased safety at the speedway by installing more SAFER (Steel And Foam Energy Reduction) barriers. These barriers have been proven to reduce the severity of impacts and have without doubt saved lives. The stretch of wall which Kyle struck was not protected by these barriers because officials didn’t believe there was a risk of cars hitting it.

In the wake of Busch’s crash, the track officials immediately held their hands up and admitted that they made a mistake. They vow to install SAFER barriers everywhere on the circuit, and even made sure to install tyre walls ahead of Sunday’s Daytona 500 in the mean time. It’s a good thing they did as the #42 car of Kyle Larson hit the very same stretch of barrier on the last lap of the 500.

NASCAR is never short of discussion and controversy, but the way the sport dealt with the situations showed how serious and committed it is to keeping drivers safe. It’s a shame it takes a big accident to make changes, but hopefully it encourages more tracks to install SAFER barriers on all walls.

-SC

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Let’s Remember Kevin Ward Jr.

Motor racing is dangerous -it says it on every ticket sold and on signs at race tracks, but it doesn’t make it any easier when a fatality occurs.

My thoughts go out to all of Kevin Ward Jr.’s friends and family members at this difficult time. The 20-year-old died after being struck by Tony Stewart’s car during a sprint car race on Saturday. No matter what the circumstances, we should be mourning the death of a young racer.

There has been a lot of media coverage of this incident due to three-time NASCAR Champion Tony Stewart’s involvement. My thoughts are also with Tony Stewart after the tragic accident. I am shocked with some of the media coverage and comments made. Even trusted publications such as Forbes and the Irish Independent lead with headlines which say “Tony Stewart kills driver”.

Tony Stewart is not a murderer. He is not a criminal. Investigators have found no criminal intent and the investigation is ongoing. So why have these harsh headlines? Headlines should at least give the name of the deceased, Kevin Ward Jr. should be the focus of the stories.

I remember the 2011 MotoGP race in Malaysia. Marco Simoncelli died when he was struck by the bikes of Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards. All of the headlines paid respect to Simoncelli and didn’t point blame at the other riders. Why can’t we have the same respect for Ward Jr.?

Many people had never heard of Kevin Ward Jr. before Saturday, myself included. But he was a racer who was competing his way up the ladder.

Sprint car racing is not a high profile racing series. It doesn’t take place at large tracks in front of thousands of people. In the United States it is used as a stepping stone towards IndyCar Series or NASCAR.

Stewart continued to use the series to race before NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. (It might be confusing, but sprint cars are not related to the NASCAR Sprint Cup -which is named after its sponsor, Sprint, the American telecommunications network)

Stewart had raced a sprint car last month for the first time since breaking his leg in a race in Iowa last August. He returned to the series because it was a hobby of his. Whether it is a hobby he will continue to do remains to be seen.

I wish everyone could park their accusations and hurtful words for just one day. The world lost a racer on Saturday. Let’s stop pointing fingers and simply remember Kevin Ward Jr.

-SC