The final turn is in your reach and the checkered-flag waving for you to come over. You step on the gas, making the engine roar as the car drives faster. Your biggest rival is beside you, bumping your car with an evil grin. Suddenly, your car spins out of control and crashes into another car, erupting in smoke before flipping out into the green grass and it stops. Your rival has won the race, and you have barely escaped the car with no injuries. You are lucky, while others were not so lucky in the past.
One of the most watched sports in the United States is NASCAR. It is a racing sport with 43 cars racing. Throughout the entire racing season as each competitor competes in a race, they earn points. By the end of the season the competitor with the most points wins the season. Sounds pretty exciting, huh? Well, it was not always exciting. NASCAR racing used to be a very dangerous sport to participate in; often, it used to be just the desire to go fast and get behind the wheel of one of the fastest vehicles at the time, even though there was the risk of serious injury, or even death.
Many known crashes have occurred because of the lack of safety improvements in NASCAR such as The Intimidator ’96 Talladega with Dale Earnhardt on July 28th, 1996. Earnhardt was hit from behind by another car, ever so slightly but such an impact caused Earnhardt to spin out of control into the track wall and flipping the car over. This gave Earnhardt a serious neck injury (and caused him to end his career in 2001). This occurred because there was no protection in the helmet that would protect the neck. Now they make all drivers wear a head-and-neck restraint system while driving their cars. This was one of the many improvements they have added to their safety rules and restrictions that would help save many racers lives.
Other technologies have been made to strengthen the safety of the racers, said such by as the 2007 six-point belt system instead of a previously approved, five-point harness that was created in 2007. Also the cockpit or “The Green House” was completely transformed. The driver was moved further away from the door, and the center of the car roof was moved up 2 ½ inches. This allows the driver to have more space in the car to move, because of this the racer could get out of the car easier in the event of an emergency.
Taking in condition the recent improvements, as well as how many crashes there are in NASCAR (which was 220 crashes per year from 2001 to 2009) lives have been saved in accidents in NASCAR because of the pervious disaster for Earnhardt. Not much is said about the lives said though, all because the accident was avoided and not tragedy occurred. This of course is a good thing.
This is only the beginning for improving the once life threatening sport. With more technology being invented, the lives of many racers will be saved. Maybe one day in the future, we won’t have any more accidents in NASCAR, maybe even driving in general.
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Bernstein, Viv. “Last-Lap Crash in Nascar Race Injures Fans.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 23 Feb. 2013. Web. 26 Mar. 2015.
“Dale Earnhardt: The Intimidator | Legacy.com.” Dale Earnhardt: The Intimidator | Legacy.com. Web. 2 Apr. 2015.
“NASCAR Safety Improvements.” FOX Sports. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.
“Dale Earnhardt 1996 Massives Crashes Talladega.” YouTube. YouTube. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.