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Mark Martin's Crash Proves It
August 24, 2012 - Al Stephenson
If you were watching the Nascar Sprint Cup race from Michigan International Speedway last Sunday, were you as shaken as I was when you saw Mark Martin's car hit the wall on pit road? It made me shudder to think what would have been the end result if the car had been a couple of feet over when it struck the end of the concrete wall. We might very well be eulogizing Martin if it had.
Another thought that ran through my head as I watched replays of the accident was the fact that perhaps it was lucky that it did hit the wall. Had the car gone through the opening and into the area behind the wall a large number of spectators might very well have been killed. At least Mark Martin had some protection. Those people did not.
As I breathed a sigh of relief when Martin was pulled safely from the car, my thoughts went to another horrific crash that involved Michael Waltrip (ironically Martin's car owner for this race) at Bristol - where the Sprint Cup racers are this weekend. It happened in 1990 during the Busch (now Nationwide) race at Bristol Motor Speedway. With brother Darrell broadcasting the race, Michael slid into the wall and hit a post head on. The car literally disintegrated and an emotional Darrell waited for his brother to be extracted from the wreckage. Fortunately Michael Waltrip only sustained bruises. Get on the internet and check out the video and see if you can find a picture of the remains of the car which is located at the Talladega Motor Sports Museum. I have seen the car in person at Talladega (I don't know for sure if it is still there) and it is bone chilling to think that someone walked away from that accident unscathed.
Nascar has made many improvements over the years trying to insure the saftey of drivers as well as fans. They will undoubtedly go back to the drawing board after this accident to see how they can change things at Michigan. I would suggest a moveable wall be put in place during the racing action. You must understand that if a car careens out of control and then starts flipping, then even a removable wall won't stop a likely tragic accident from happening under similar circumstances.
I think it goes without saying that auto racing is a dangerous sport and Mark Martin's crash proves it. Drivers have been killed as well as spectators. It is a never ending battle to make races as safe as possible and Nascar will do everything they can to insure that safety.
The view from my seat suggests that I really enjoy watching Nascar races. I don't need fiery wrecks to make it worthwhile. Great side by side racing followed by everyone getting to go home safely makes my day.
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