Gordon seeking safety improvements
|By Diego Mejia||Saturday, August 15th 2009, 17:22 GMT|
Jeff Gordon believes the current safety standards in NASCAR need to be improved, following his high-speed crash at Watkins Glen last week.
Gordon was involved in a fiery wreck with Sam Hornish Jr and Jeff Burton last Monday at Watkins Glen, when he was sent into the barrier following contact with Kasey Kahne. Hornish rebounded into the middle of the track and was collected head on by Gordon and then Burton.
The four-time champion took an injection this week to kill the pain and says he is feeling good only a few days after the incident, amid the back trouble that has hampered him of late. However, he has vowed to work on improving safety standards even further to try to reduce the impact that such crashes can have on the driver.
"It's alright. A couple of rough days, but I'm feeling pretty good," said Gordon about his back. "It was a hard hit and that's an area that I'm focused on and working for.
"Moving forward as a safety aspect, I feel like we have done a great job with head, neck, shoulders and hips but the last couple hits I've had have really affected my mid-section, especially my back. So it's something we are going to look into for the future."
Gordon believes that even if the risk of head and neck injuries has been massively reduced in recent years, thanks to the use of HANS, SAFER barriers and the new Cup car, there are still areas where drivers remain highly exposed.
"I think what's happened is that as we have gotten better with the technology of the seats, the belts and how we are strapped in the car, it's created new areas in the car that we have to focus on - that is what happens as you evolve with engineering, safety, the speeds of the cars and everything," said Gordon.
"You start to narrow down the weaker links, and right now the weakest link is that mid-section and we don't have a way of isolating that area."
The Hendrick driver says that he expects changes to be made at Watkins Glen, as besides the incident he was involved in on Monday, there were another two big crashes at the same spot on Friday and Saturday during Nationwide events.
"That's definitely going to be a topic and I think its something that the track needs to focus on," Gordon added. "When you have multiple incidents on one weekend it needs to get the attention. It's something they need to address, I'm not going to go campaign for anything.
"I'm just going to hope they go and do their job, look at it and find a better way to make it work in the future."
Last year, Gordon suffered a high-speed crash against an inside concrete wall at Las Vegas and his call for the implementation of SAFER barrier at that spot led to the installation of soft walls there and at other tracks.