Monday, February 18, 2013

Twelve Years Ago Today

We lost Dale Earnhardt, Sr.

Things have changed a bunch since he was killed at the Daytona 500. Tracks have SAFER barriers that help absorb a large amount of impact force - which helps avoid the basilar skull fracture that killed him. The cars have gotten a lot less lethal as well - for both the crowd and the drivers. Tethers hold hoods, wheel assemblies, trunk lids and so on so when a major crash occurs, the parts stay together and not fly into the crowd. The cars themselves are capable of absorbing some pretty hard hits without transferring that energy to the drivers' bodies. They've been aerodynamically tweaked to try to keep them from flying into the air when they get sideways or backwards.

There are those who disagree with all this - the drivers should be wearing football helmets and piloting cars straight from the showroom floor with the glass knocked out and a maybe a roll cage tacked on inside as a minor concession. That would make it a sport for manly men again.

I dunno - if I'm going into a gunfight, I'm not wearing a t-shirt with a target on it to show what a stud I really am. I'll be wearing whatever ballistic clothing I can get and using cover, etc. to save my ass. I'm all in on the staying alive thing.

I don't see why racers should have to die for our entertainment to be entertaining.


lisa said...

I agree with you!

HEATHER said...

HOLY cats! I totally forgot about today's date! I'm totally with you on the safety issues too. And I'm somewhat happy for Danica winning the pole, I just wish it was ME instead! I've loved racing my entire life and they didn't let girls play when I could have had a career. ;-)

Frank W. James said...

Yeah, but don't tell me that power steering and some other features haven't created a situation in NASCAR where a 110 pound person can capture the Daytona 500 pole and then be compared to drivers like Junior Johnson, Buck Baker, Tiny Lund, Fireball Roberts and others that were reknown for their physical accomplishments as well as their driving.

Danica is a good 'shoe', but she ain't NO Intimidator and I would like to see how fast she would be if she lost her power steering???....

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Jeffro said...

Well, yeah, Frank! Danica couldn't pilot one of those old Power Steering by Armstrong behemoths. But, I'm for betting a lot of the other tiny drivers in the ranks couldn't do it either. Like Jerry Nadeau, man is he ever small. He doesn't drive anymore because of a concussion, but I've seen him in person. Or John Andretti. I "had" a picture of he and Michael Waltrip talking to each other and the contrast was striking. Mikey is only 6'5", too!

And power steering has made trucking a lot easier, too. It's not so physically demanding as it was thirty years ago, for sure.