Carl Edward’s Crashes in Aaron 499
Dangerous sports and activities are always under review, but often changes come only after the ultimate loss is felt and someone dies during the execution. Sunday’s crash during the final lap of the Aaron 499 at Talladega Superspeedway has reawakened cries for changes to NASCAR, changes to blocking and aggressive driving that many see as the ultimate cause of the crash. NASCAR has responded by suggesting they may implement harsher penalties as a result of their analysis of Sunday’s crash, but stopped short of blaming the drivers’ tactics for the crash that propelled Carl Edward’s car into the track’s restraining fence.
Debris from the crash injured seven people sitting in the stands by the restraining fence, Blake Bobbitt is listed in fair condition at UAB Hospital and another fan was transported to Brookwood Hospital in Birmingham for undisclosed medical reasons but was later released. All additional injured fans were able to be treated and then released at the track, so they got lucky today when you think about it, it could have been much worse.
NASCAR has a history of innovative and cutting edge safety implementation that has certainly saved lives and will continue to analysis and implement safety improvements when appropriate. They have taken an aggressive approach lately as regards aggressive driving on restrictor-plate venues, even installing “no zones” to mark areas of certain tracks where excessive bump-drafting and other aggressive driving techniques are forbidden.
NASCAR has stated that further restrictions resulting from Sunday’s crash will probably be in the form of penalties served by drivers during races for infractions to the rules instead of a hit to race points or monetary penalties after the crash has occurred. They mentioned that the safety systems in place at Talladega did work as designed, the roof flaps on Edward’s car did deploy, and his car was about to settle before it was struck again and propelled into the restraining fence that did its job, although a few pieces of debris did fly through the fence.
NASCAR hopefully will properly analysis this situation and the knowledge they gain will help to prevent and lessen the possibility of future crashes and save a few lives that might be gone accept for the changes they make.