User-agent: * Allow: / CH on Track: February 2013


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Race day must overcome crash coverage

Race day is finally here, as we anticipate the 55th running of the Daytona 500, but because of the horrific accident at the conclusion of yesterday's Nationwide race where nearly 30 spectators were injured by flying car parts and other debris in a last lap crash, every effort is being made to tear away any dark curtain over today's event. 

Despite yesterday's incident, today is a new day. It is exciting to realize the seemingly endless off-season for NASCAR's Sprint Cup series is finally over. There will be no more counting down to the Daytona 500. TODAY IS THE DAY! The race will run in just a few hours. 

The excitement is palpable, despite yesterday's horror, the fans involved in the melee are receiving the best care possible, drivers are uninjured, and NASCAR is trying to move on. 

The accident itself was very troubling because it is so easy to imagine what it was like to be in the stands as fans enjoyed the final laps of an exciting race. In an instant lives were changed. There will likely be other changes that grow out of this event--additional safety features perhaps--but those will remain to be seen. 

It bears stating that this was an accident, an unpredictable moment in time that could not have been prevented. There is no question that NASCAR is cognizant of the safety issues associated with driving cars at speeds often times in excess of 200 mph. NASCAR has taken as many precautions to protect everyone associated with the sport--both drivers and spectators. The fact that those drivers involved in the melee emerged from their destroyed race cars unhurt is a testament to that. 

I was impressed with how several people have reacted to this event. 

First, when Tony Stewart won the race, his reaction in victory lane couldn't have been more correct. He was soft-spoken, thoughtful, and despite his excitement at winning the race, he shoved that emotion into the shadow in favor of the obviously injured spectators. Stewart's reaction was as an appropriate champion of the sport. 

Another reaction that was laudable was that of Kyle Petty. Petty is a NASCAR commentator and spokesman. He is in my view, one of the best. He is honest, truthful, and pulls no punches. Petty pointed out that drivers are aware of the risk they take when they put on a helmet and climb into their race car, but spectators shouldn't be at risk when they come to a race. He indicated that fans should feel safe when they sit in the stands and prepare to enjoy a race. In my view, Petty is such a class act. I believe he is one of the finest spokespersons for the sport.

As the day wore on and videotapes of the incident became available, I couldn't help but notice the quick reactions of both spectators and track personnel when it was realized there were injuries. There were heroes in the stands and heroes that work at the track. 

I can't help but question NASCAR's official reaction. While it is appropriate to report news in a timely manner, so as to make certain facts are provable, and correct, NASCAR takes that a step too far. They attempt to control the news.

As an organization, NASCAR's priority appears to be to protect its brand rather than to allow the news media to do its job to report news. This fits with NASCAR's attempts to direct every aspect of the public's perception of motor sport racing. It was very disturbing to learn that NASCAR attempted to censor fan videos of the accident, requesting You Tube to remove them from public view. NASCAR claimed it was a copyright infringement. Later, it was stated that it was to protect those involved.

NASCAR officials need to realize that this is the 21st century when citizen journalists and fans with cell phone cameras fill the stands. Their efforts to censor such events will never occur. They have much to be proud of, so there is no danger in resting on their laurels. 

In my view, not only does NASCAR need to continue to work on safety issues, and other things under their control, they need to work on their own attitudes. 
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, February 18, 2013

Buzz over Danica Patrick; I called it a year ago

Danica Patrick at the premiere of Baby Mama in...
Danica Patrick at the premiere of Baby Mama in New York City at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Where Danica Patrick is concerned, I'm proud to say I called it last year around this time.

I wrote in this very blog about Danica's potential in NASCAR. In fact, just type her name into the search box to find several posts about her. Who knew though that she would earn the pole position during qualifying for the sport's biggest race of the year in her first full time Sprint Cup Series debut? It will really be fun to watch Danica perform in the Daytona 500 Sunday, as she leads the field to the green.

In fact, it will be really fun to be back to watching racing on a regular basis again.

For me, as a Ryan Newman fan, Saturday's Sprint Unlimited almost didn't count. For me, the racing season officially starts on Thursday when I can enjoy Newman again racing competitively in the Duels, the pair of qualifying races for Sunday's Daytona 500.

Newman wasn't among the race participants in this year's event to honor pole winners from 2012. That in itself is weird since Newman normally has a real penchant for winning poles. I do expect that to turn around during this season. Being back with Matt Borland, I am not sure how they could miss.
nascar (Photo credit: rogerblake2)

I'm really pumped because we just purchased our first flat screen HD television. Racing will be more exciting than ever before, as are all things TV.

Watching qualifying was pretty exciting, not just because Danica got the pole, but because at one point Stewart-Haas Racing held first, second, and third in fastest speeds with Newman and Tony Stewart right behind her. That later changed, though I didn't watch after Newman's run, I found 'other things' to do Saturday. That may be the last time 'other things' will come into play during qualifying and racing this season.

Newman's second spot and Tony Stewart's third were eked out by Jeff Gordon and Trevor Bain, but Danica of course held her first place. Newman earned fourth fastest and Tony Stewart ran fifth; That is a good way to start out the season. So, as the gentlemen and lady start their engines, I can't wait to watch.

Enhanced by Zemanta