Drivers call for safety measures at New Hampshire

Leading Winston Cup drivers have reacted angrily to NASCAR's failure to make any changes to the New Hampshire oval where two drivers have been killed this year, according to this week's Autosport magazine

Drivers call for safety measures at New Hampshire

NASCAR's premier series returns to New Hampshire next weekend for its second race of the season at the 1.058 mile oval. Teenage Busch Series driver Adam Petty died after a collision with the Turn 3 wall in May, while former Winston Cup Rookie of the Year Kenny Irwin suffered an almost identical fatal accident in July in exactly the same place.

The drivers have called for 'soft-walls' to be used on Turn 3, similar to the styrofoam blocks used at Watkins Glen, but NASCAR officials have said they expect no changes to the track before next weekend's 400-miler.

"Every driver in the garage would be appalled if we went back to New Hampshire and there was nothing on those walls," said former champion Rusty Wallace.

Both fatal accidents were thought to be caused by sticking throttles - a problem that also afflicted the Pontiac of current points-leader Bobby Labonte at Darlington last weekend during practice, fortunately without injury. In response to the New Hampshire fatalities, all cars must now be fitted with instant 'kill' switches for the engines on the steering wheel.

Labonte was not convinced of the effectiveness of the switch after his accident. "There are two [switches] in there and I didn't have time to hit either one," he said.

Track personnel declined to comment on the matter and it is unclear if the 'soft walls' are the ideal solution. One view is that a styrofoam barrier may do more harm than good, as cars could bounce back down the track into the paths of the rest of the field, rather than staying close to the wall after an impact.

shares
comments
Labonte dodges weather to take Darlington win

Previous article

Labonte dodges weather to take Darlington win

Next article

Burton takes first pole of season

Burton takes first pole of season
Load comments
The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin Plus

The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin

A multiple F3000 race winner, Marc Goossens was on the precipice of making Formula 1 in the 1990s - but a lack of budget left him without a path to the promised land. Turning to an illustrious racing career in sportscars, Goossens left the endurance circuit to try his hand at racing stock cars - and now calls the NASCAR Euro Series home

NASCAR
Jul 1, 2021
Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR Plus

Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR

There has never been a full-time British driver in the NASCAR Cup. But Alex Sedgwick, who is rising through the stock car ranks, wants that to change and could be a trailblazer for European talents to reach the top echelons of the NASCAR ladder

NASCAR
Feb 28, 2021
How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport Plus

How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport

It's 20 years since legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Sr died at the Daytona 500, but the legacy of his crash continues today through the pioneering safety work done by NASCAR

NASCAR
Feb 18, 2021
The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021 Plus

The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season

NASCAR
Feb 12, 2021
How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career Plus

How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a shot at redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith

NASCAR
Feb 11, 2021
Autosport's top 5 NASCAR machines Plus

Autosport's top 5 NASCAR machines

The American stock car scene is more famous for its close racing and occasional punch-ups, but there have been some fantastic machines too. As part of Autosport's 70th anniversary celebrations in 2020, we picked out five of its best

NASCAR
Jan 3, 2021
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Plus

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future

NASCAR
Nov 17, 2020
Why Johnson’s playoff failure won’t tarnish his legacy Plus

Why Johnson’s playoff failure won’t tarnish his legacy

The last season of a retiring NASCAR great has shown promise, and may have resulted in another playoff push without small issues outside his control. 2020 won't be the year Jimmie Johnson would have wanted, but it won't be what he is remembered for

NASCAR
Sep 3, 2020