Scary McClure crash at Talladega showcases need for SAFER barriers on all walls; Did Danica Patrick get preferential treatment?
When I saw Eric McClure heading toward the wall during Saturday's Nationwide race at Talladega, seemingly gaining speed as it got closer, I knew the hit would be vicious.
ESPN wouldn't show a replay. The staff congregated in large numbers around the car. We all feared the worst. It was all too reminiscent of terrible days of racing past, most recently Dan Wheldon in Indycar.
But thankfully, we were spared the loss of another young life. McClure is expected to recover and return to racing.
He can thank the SAFER barrier for that, and before those were installed he might not have survived a crash of this nature.
But the scary thing is: Just down the way a liittle from where he wrecked, there is no SAFER barrier.
This is not good, and this is not the only track with isolated places missing a barrier that could save a life.
While I'm glad McClure hit in the right place and will be OK, we can't be too happy -- because it very easily could have gone the other way and we could be speaking of him in the past tense.
Let's hope this is a wakeup call -- get the barriers all around the track. There's no excuse about cost. Both ISC and SMI are making billions each year. They can definitely afford it at all of their tracks.
There's no excuse for any track to leave any walls that could potentially be hit by drivers without a SAFER barrier. And I hope they get to work to remedy any gaps ASAP.
Because I don't want to mourn another driver anytime soon.
Preferential treatment for Danica?
In all the Danica Patrick discussion I had with people yesterday, one topic kept coming up. Did she get preferential treatment by not being called to the NASCAR hauler after she punted longtime rival Sam Hornish Jr. after the checkered flag?
Many said yes, and NASCAR let her off the hook because she is bringing them ratings.
But I'm going to say this is a misread of what happened. Things like this happen all the time. Drivers are fighting for every spot on every lap, and when they get pushed into the wall on the last lap, like Hornish did to Danica, the recipient of that has a right, in my view, to express their displeasure after the race, as long as they don't do anything silly like the Kyle Busch vs. Kevin Harvick incident on pit road that put others in danger. In many cases, they are not called to the hauler.
You want boys have at it; well, then it should also be girls have at it too. Don't hold Danica to a higher standard than her fellow drivers. And besides, I like the fact that she's feisty. It shows she cares about finishing well. She's not content just driving around collecting a paycheck. People want to call it a temper tantrum, but I call it defending her turf.
The most imteresting thing I learned from this skirmish was that Hornish and Danica's battles go back to when they were teenager and had a run-in while racing go-karts. Goes to show you; a racer never forgets (just like Jimmy Spencer).
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