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The Dangers of Racing

“Talladega Nights.” “Cars.”  “Fast Five.” These are just a few popular movies released within the last decade that are centered on automobile racing. Invading popular culture and winning over the hearts of speedsters everywhere, racing has always had a distinct “cool” factor. Who wouldn’t want to zoom around a track at upwards of 200 mph? But the problem with racing has never been its excitement factor: it’s been the safety concerns.

The racing world is mourning yet another death following the passing of IndyCar driver Justin Wilson this past Monday, August 24th.  Wilson was struck by a flying piece of debris from a crashed car at Pocono Raceway. That Wilson was aware of the dangers of his occupation does not make his death any easier to cope with. It was only four years ago that another IndyCar driver, Dan Wheldon, died when his car went airborne and crashed into a catch fence. The saddest part about these stories are that likely they will not be the last death the racing community has to endure.

IndyCar is not the only racing organization to suffer deaths as of late.  Formula One driver, Jules Bianchi died just over a month ago stemming from injuries at a Formula One race the year before. It’s not just open cockpit racing that’s dangerous. Closed cockpit NASCAR driver Carlos Pardo died in 2009 following a crash at a NASCAR Mexico Corona Series race.

Even after all of these tragic deaths, the sport will try to enforce stricter safety measures. But as these recent deaths prove, it’s impossible to take all of the risk out of racing. Keeping people safe in cars designed to run at high speeds in close proximity is a difficult proposition. With hope, there will be a point in the future when climbing into a racecar will not carry such an enormous risk.

by Tristan Rhee’17


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