While watching the beginning of the Kansas race I thought the big thing I would have to discuss was Chase Elliot clipping Michael McDowell as Elliot was leaving his pit and McDowell was entering his. Honestly I am surprised that doesn’t happen more often. I think that really that’s his crew chief Alan Gustafson was not on the ball watching for other cars as Chase was leaving his pitstall.
However the story ended up being the big wreck involving Danica Patrick, Joey Logano and Aric Almirola looked absolutely brutal and to be honest the more I have watched it between the replays that evening and re-watching again during this writing-the worse it looked. All three drivers involved hard hits…however if you were to show me the footage and say one of these three drivers gets injured in this wreck which would you think it would be. I would have picked Aric every time. Why? Because not only was the initial impact hard but the fact that the rear of car went airborne and then slammed back down (rewatch it at speed and you will see what I mean about that slam down on the rear) I would be incredibly surprised if that was NOT what caused Almirola’s T5 compression fracture. These cars are safe…and funny thing was is I was just touting the day before the new increased metal around the “driver cocoon” as we call it in my house. But increasing rigidity of the space around the driver to prevent movement of car parts into their area will not keep drivers completely safe- as seen by the injuries suffered by Almirola. I mean the car gets semi airborne and then slams onto the ground- the normal safety equipment (I am thinking things like hans and whatnot) all did their jobs no doubt and protected all three of the involved drivers from suffering from more serious injuries. But much like your regular passenger car- the safety equipment will do it’s job if engaged properly but it won’t prevent every injury- there is no possible way. Aric’s injury also serves as a reminder that auto racing in whatever form you enjoy it in comes with inherent risks. (more…)