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.