Ryan Preece Daytona Crash: NASCAR Ought to Rethink Superspeedways

This weekend, the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona Worldwide Speedway marked the ultimate NASCAR Cup Sequence race earlier than the start of the Playoffs, the place drivers will compete for a championship. It was additionally a race marred by some nasty wrecks for Ryan Blaney — who was speared into the surface wall — and Ryan Preece — who was despatched right into a spin that lasted for a full eight seconds. It begs the query: ought to NASCAR rethink superspeedway racing?

First got here Blaney’s wreck. Drivers Ty Gibbs and Christopher Bell made contact, which resulted in a faucet to the rear of Blaney’s automobile that hooked him to the suitable. He made direct front-end contact with the wall in a crash that proceeded to wipe out a good portion of the sphere. Blaney was capable of stroll away due to improvements like SAFER obstacles and HANS units, however some followers on social media had been fast to notice that the wreck was harking back to the one which claimed the lifetime of Dale Earnhardt Sr. Blaney, in contrast, was capable of stroll away freely.

Ryan Blaney evaluated and launched after wreck

Later within the race, Ryan Preece was racing close to the entrance of the sphere when he was bumped by one other automobile whereas drafting within the exterior lane. His Ford spun into visitors and clipped the grass from a sideways angle. It’s nonetheless a bit unclear how precisely it occurred, however Preece’s automobile tipped sideways, which allowed air beneath the automobile abruptly. The No. 41 was then launched into the air, flipping a surprising 10 instances for eight consecutive seconds earlier than it lastly got here to relaxation.

Ryan Preece’s No. 41 flips in closing laps at Daytona; SHR driver climbed from automobile

Preece was capable of depart the automobile beneath his personal energy and was taken to an area hospital for commentary. As of this second, we all know he’s okay, however the full extent of his accidents haven’t been launched.

In fact, it’s fully potential to see these two Cup Sequence wrecks and are available away with the reverse conclusion, that NASCAR is safer than it’s ever been. That’s, for instance, the takeaway by The Daytona Beach News-Journal, which lauds the truth that the Cup automobiles are safer than they’ve ever been as a result of two nasty crashes came about, however each drivers had been capable of stroll away comparatively unscathed.

That form of angle, although, reeks of complacency. It’s incredible that such ferocious wrecks may occur — {that a} automobile may flip via the air a number of instances — and not using a grievous damage to the motive force, however spectacular wrecks are usually not a great factor. We should always take a second to understand the truth that drivers can emerge from such a wreck intact, however we shouldn’t wait round for the wreck that kills somebody or ends a profession. Combining a number of rows of drivers working nose-to-tail in sizzling pursuit of an important common season end on a large race monitor is a recipe for catastrophe.

In 1992, Davey Allison was engaged in a equally nasty flip at Pocono, from which he walked away. Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s 1996 crash at Talladega resulted in a damaged collarbone and dislocated sternum; he too walked away, however with accidents that lingered for years. Wanting again, it’s simple to see how fortunate we had been that these legendary drivers had been capable of maintain brutal impacts and proceed on with their careers — however we shouldn’t go on hoping that crashes like this will proceed into an period of newer, sooner automobiles, particularly after 2022 introduced with it so many security considerations relating to the introduction of NASCAR’s Subsequent-Gen machines. Superspeedway racing is a trademark of the game, and we must always struggle to maintain it; we simply want to make sure we’re doing our utmost to forestall catastrophe.

What it takes to handle these points I depart as much as NASCAR — however now’s the time for the collection to handle problems with security, earlier than it’s too late.

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