Accidents and injuries are a part of racing and sports in general, so Jeff Burton is probably taking it all in stride after he slammed into the wall during Friday’s Sprint Cup practice for Sunday’s Dickies 500. He will have to start in his backup car for Sunday’s competition after he gets rid of his headache and while this does change the equation for Jeff and the upcoming race, he’ll certainly continue on as normal.
The crash was apparently due to problems with the power steering and not due to driver error; apparently he couldn’t turn his car when needed. His car probably felt heavy, like he had blown a tire at that point as he missed the soft wall and smashed into the wall with both the front and back end of his car.
Burton was scheduled to also race in Richard Childress Racing’s No. 29 Chevrolet for Saturday’s O’Reilly Challenge Nationwide Series race. His boss and friend decided after the race that despite what his driver was telling him, he was going to have Burton sit out Saturday’s Nationwide Series race and rest up for Sunday’s Dickies 500. Racers being racers, I am sure that Burton would race unless he couldn’t get out of bed and its best that Richard makes this call for him. Racers are foolhardy souls at times, who will forget about personal injury and pain, in order to achieve their ultimate goals.
Burton is still a young man with years of racing ahead of him and a head injury should never be taken lightly, as the last few years in sports have shown. The speeds at which racers impact the wall goes beyond the normal forces that the human head is designed to take and anytime a racer or sports athlete has a head injury, we should make sure we make the decision for them and try to error on the side of caution. There will be lots of days and years for Burton to win championships and ultimately, championships aren’t as important as human life.
Concussions can occur whenever the human head meets an unmovable object or force, such as a wall, and death can result from a concussion. In fact, doctors should probably be monitoring Burton and all NASCAR racers involved in a crash and the final decision on the length that a driver should wait before driving again should be up to the doctor ultimately. An injured driver puts his life and the life of every driver on the track at risk whenever he gets in a race car and competes and this is in a sport that’s already extremely dangerous.
“Image: Zuma Press”