On Sunday, August 19, 2012, the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers raced at Michigan International Speedway. The Pure Michigan 400 was one of just a couple of races left before the Chase for the Cup began and drivers were pretty much going all out to ensure that they would make the Chase. When drivers push that hard, there are bound to be thrilling crashes and this race had that more than covered. On lap 65, veteran driver Mark Martin got caught up in a crash that sent his car traveling towards pit road. The car ended up hitting a small concrete barrier at about the middle of the vehicle. Luckily, the position of the impact avoided injury to both Martin and the various crew members standing near by. Had the car gone further into the pits, it is likely crew members may have been injured. Had the car hit the barrier closer to the driver, Martin may have been seriously injured or worse. Though the car did catch on fire, Martin was able to escape without major injuries.
Though Martin walked away, it was easy to see that he was either a very skilled driver or just lucky. NASCAR and track officials will now be scrutinizing the accident and looking at footage from all available angles. Though this was an accident that is unlikely to be repeated, the potential danger has now been revealed and potential ways to make that barrier safer must be examined. If there is one thing that can be said about NASCAR, it is that the organizers work tirelessly to ensure driver and crew member safety. Sometimes, unfortunately, safety innovations are the result of fatal accidents. This time, thankfully, the accident was not fatal and the prevention will not have the tragic reminder that many other safety innovations do.
That crash was scary to see. Though I like to see a good crash, as most NASCAR fans do, this one was too much. From the terrifying moment where it almost looked like pit crew members would be seriously injured to the terrifying moment where fans weren't sure if Martin was able to get out of the burning vehicle, it was intense. Luckily, it quickly became apparent, based on the way the accident was being shown, that no one was hurt. If something can be done to prevent the next fluke accident from having a worse outcome, I think that would be great. A change to pit road wouldn't necessarily impact racing and would only serve to lessen the chances of drivers or crew members getting injured.
Kristin Watt has been a NASCAR Winston Cup, now Sprint Cup, fan for as long as she can remember starting way back when she was a little girl and her mother would sit on the couch with her every Sunday during the season to watch the races. Back then, they were fans of Bill Elliott and newcomer Davey Allison.
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