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NASCAR Exec Details Investigation Into Track Fencing After Daytona Crash
Published February 27, 2013
GOING TO GREAT HEIGHTS? SPORTING NEWS’ Bob Pockrass noted it will be up to NASCAR, DIS officials and their insurance companies to “decide to what to do next” in their investigation into Saturday’s crash. The Wheeler Co. Chair & former SMI President & CEO Humpy Wheeler said that with no governmental oversight of how tracks keep fans safe, NASCAR and the insurance companies “dictate the standards for fencing for NASCAR races.” He said, “It’s what the insurance company dictates. And there is an unwritten group of laws among the speedways. If (a track) opened and I saw their wheel fence was six feet high, I would take it upon myself to go see the owners and say, ‘What are you doing? You’re going to put us all out of business.’ While that sounds like a crude, loose form of regulation, it really isn’t. It’s really powerful, as a matter of fact." Pockrass noted most of the debris flew through the fence, not over it. Wheeler said that this is a “good thing in the sense that tracks likely won’t feel compelled to add to the height of the fencing.” He added, “If it had gone over the fence, in all likelihood they’d be working on Phoenix right now as we speak in an all-out rush to try to get it (higher for this weekend)” (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 2/26).
ANOTHER LOOK: An ORLANDO SENTINEL editorial states, “Despite the bravado expressed by some attendees, fan safety needs to be as big a priority as driver safety.” NASCAR should “examine whether safer, more high-tech solutions are available to replace the chain-link fencing and cables that protect fans from cars.” It also should examine “whether fan seating is too close to the track.” The editorial: “We’re not pretending to be experts in auto-racing safety, but after what happened last week, we’re certain it needs another look” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 2/27).