Safety vs. Speed: 2017 Changes to the Chassis
The Evolution of the Stock Car ADDITION: If you are more comfortable with Portuguese, check out this translation by Artur Weber and Adelina Domingos – and thanks to them for being interested enough in my work to do the tough job of translation. While many fans decried the look of […]
Does Grass Pose a Danger to Racecar Drivers?
Now that most tracks have put SAFER barriers on any possible surface, it might seem like racetrack safety is a done deal. That’s not what we’ve heard this week at Daytona, though. Some of the drivers have some strong opinions about grass. “Grass belongs on golf courses. We need asphalt around here […]
NASCAR Drivers’ Risky Behavior and the Peltzman Effect
The introduction of automotive safety innovations is usually accompanied by concern about the side-effects of those innovations. For example, when seat belts were introduced, people worried that the belts would keep them from getting out of a car quickly enough if they needed to. When HANS devices first became available, […]
Sounds like an energy drink, right? Listening to Kyle Busch’s press conference Wednesday was alternately fascinating and cringe-worthy. The fact that he remembers so much about the crash is amazing – it will be a great boon to the safety people who probably will use this as a case study […]
Sprint Car Safety
NASCAR fans are used to having our drivers walk away from spectacular crashes. Unfortunately, we are reminded all too often — like last night — that racing, regardless of all the technical improvements we’ve made, remains a dangerous sport. As you move from the top-level Indy and NASCAR series, the […]
Brief Thoughts on the Nationwide Accident at Daytona
We’ve been painting the house. I was straining to hear EPSN’s commentary over the swoosh-swish of the paint roller as the race came to a close – but it was all too easy to hear the change the tone of Allen Bestwick’s voice. We heard it recently from Marty Reid in Vegas. I remember the first-hand feeling sitting about 50 yards from Michael McDowell’s wreck during qualifying at Texas. A track full of race fans – all quiet – is one of the worst sounds in all of sports.
The Trouble with Pit Road Walls
We saw a very scary incident during the Cup race Sunday when Mark Martin was T-boned by the edge of the pit road wall. Luckily, the car hit the wall behind the driver’s seat — otherwise, that could have been very serious.
The ends of walls are probably the biggest safety problem NASCAR has right now. The SAFER barriers have radically improved the ability of drivers to walk away from standard crashes, but there are still some vulnerable areas.
Safety: It’s not just how fast you go – it’s how fast you stop.
One of the biggest concerns in motorsports wrecks is peak force – that’s the maximum force experienced by a driver in a collision. As the diagram to the right shows, the force you experience in a crash varies with time. When you hear someone talking about how ‘big’ a crash […]