NASCAR fans and drivers alike realize crashes are a big part of the sport. Though entertaining and rarely fatal, crashes are always a point of improvement for NASCAR in its striving for safety. Certain precautions, such as eliminating one more pit crew position, may be in the near future, as NASCAR seeks improved safety without eliminating one of the sport’s biggest draws.
These are some of the biggest crashes from NASCAR’s recent season. They range from one-on-one bumping to ten-car pile-ups. Some are the result of strategy, like trying to overtake a driver without properly estimating the turn, while others are due to technical malfunction. No matter the fault, the wide variety of crashes from 2016 alone shows accidents are still quite frequent, even with improved safety standards. Check it out:
NASCAR’s Emphasis on Safety
NASCAR is always looking for ways to improve the safety of the sport. However, it also does not want to alter anything too significantly as to turn off fans. They’ve already put an emphasis on the safety of tires. Another initiative under consideration to improve safety is using smaller pit crews for 2017. Reducing the pit crew number from six to five would cut costs and, especially important for safety, eliminate an additional body on the road. Fewer people may result in fewer crashes and injuries.
The pit crew cutting is a proposal that could potentially cut costs and improve safety, so it’s under strong consideration from NASCAR. Crews were originally reduced from seven to six crew members in 2011, so this would not be the first time such a change has occurred. Still, it would certainly get a response from the NASCAR fanbase.
The Impact on Pit Crews
The role of the pit crew has a lengthy history, emerging prominently in racing in the ‘60s, when the adoption of air compression technology brought increased efficiency to the pit crew process. Floor jacks and impact wrenches reduced pit time delivery time by 17 seconds, which is a big difference in NASCAR standards.
With lug nuts increasing top speeds in the 1970s, helping pit crews attain a 33-second milestone, the specialized role of pit crews really took hold in the late ’80s, with various pit crews assuming monikers like the “Flying Aces” and having a more public role in NASCAR coverage.
Altering the tradition of pit crew in any way may upset some fans, even though it may be the best decision on NASA’s behalf to improve safety without significantly altering the sport. After all, we don’t want the biggest crashes of 2017 to get worse.