After reading the transcript on Amanda’s post regarding Dale Earnhardt’s Jr’s concussion problems, I’m convinced that Nascar is not doing enough to monitor drivers after a wreck. It seems that only if the driver can’t drive his car back to the pits, will he have to go through the in field care center where he is checked for possible concussions. I don’t think this is a solution that has merit.
If a driver is able to get his car started, and can drive it to the garage, he is left to blow the whistle on himself. This is the same problem that has been facing the NFL and Football in general, over the past few years. Only after pending lawsuits against the NFL from former players who have residual problems incurred during their playing days. I think Nascar needs to get more active in providing a mandatory testing program to protect drivers from themselves.
This needs to start with some kind of rules change where a driver doesn’t have to drive in every race in order to stay in the points picture. They need to have some kind of rule that gives drivers the right to throw out a couple of low scores due to missing races, or make it mandatory for drivers to sit out a set number of races every year. Not sure of exactly how to do it, but some method needs to be in place where a driver can sit out without losing ground on the field.
The other factor needs to be some baseline testing that includes mandatory testing for all drivers involved in a crash before they can return to the track. They can quickly look at video to determine how hard someone’s car was hit. If they think a driver took a pretty hard impact, then he needs to get tested.
Obviously they have impact sensors on the cars, or Dale Jr. would not have known how many G’s each of his crashes had obtained. Nascar can review these numbers quickly and make a decision as to whether the driver can continue or not. A driver who has just had a hard blow to the head should not be involved in the decision whether he is capable of continuing to drive a race car at 200 miles per hour, inches away from fellow competitors.
Dale Jr. was probably not going to win the championship this year. He was behind the curve, and probably too far back to catch up with the leaders, but we all know, had he still been close, he probably would not have raised his hand and opted out for two weeks. This is a precarious position for Nascar to be in. It’s all up to the driver and his team as to if they opt out or not. This decision should be in someone else’s hands.