Feb 252015

TL;DR:  No.

As the extent of Kyle Busch’s injury Saturday evening at Daytona became evident, Twitter erupted in angry calls for SAFER barriers to be put up on every wall at every track. An interesting division of sides appeared. A small number of people cautioned that simply plastering every track with SAFER barriers was likely to not only not prevent driver injuries, but might actually introduce new problems. Other people accused this group of being insensitive and “stupid”.

Interestingly, the small number of cautionary voices were people like the folks who write Racecar Engineering magazine, people who have been involved with motorsports safety research and people with advanced engineering degrees.

So let’s be really clear here. While I appreciate the passion with which people responded to the accident, opinion has absolutely no place in science and engineering. We work with facts, realizing that oftentimes, we don’t have all the facts we need. In an ideal world, we would have data from collisions at every track in the world, from every angle, with every type of racecar. But we don’t.

It’s fine for fans (and especially for drivers and their teams) to raise their voices and demand more attention to safety, but the average fan (or the average driver) has zero business specifying what those safety measures ought to be. The average NASCAR executive or track administrator doesn’t, either.  Motorsports safety is a constantly evolving research field and luckily, NASCAR recognizes that and works with the top people in the field.


Let’s start with the obvious. A bare concrete wall at a track where speeds reach 200 mph is indefensible. To their credit, NASCAR and the Daytona folks promised to rectify that right away. Tire barriers – which are not ideal, but are definitely better than nothing – were up for the next day’s race.

Racetracks originally put up concrete walls to contain the cars and protect the fans. They weren’t there for driver safety. People don’t question the status quo.  It wasn’t until a number of serious accidents in both IndyCar and NASCAR prompted an effort to develop a better wall. I detail the origin and development of the SAFER barriers in my book, The Physics of NASCAR, based on my interviews with the barrier developers. The effort was initiated by IndyCar, but gained momentum when NASCAR threw their support (and money) behind it.

Once the technology was developed and proven, NASCAR mandated SAFER barriers on the outside walls of all tracks. It was a long road to development because it was a brand new (and frankly, counterintuitive) idea and everyone wanted to make sure it would work under as many conditions as possible.

How SAFER Barriers Work

For an overview of NASCAR safety, check out this video I made with the National Science Foundation. Here’s the brief version.


The SAFER barrier works by extending the time of impact. It’s much more comfortable to fall on a mattress than a floor because the mattress gives. The mattress absorbs and dissipates energy, so that the energy isn’t dissipated through you.

BSPEED_SAFERBarrier_HitA NASCAR stock car going 180 mph has approximately the same kinetic energy as stored in 2 pounds of T.N.T. When the car comes to a stop, all that energy has to go somewhere. Energy can be dissipated by skidding (friction between wheels and asphalt), light and sound (it takes energy to make that screeching noise and to produce sparks), spinning (energy is used to rotate the car) and deformation (energy is used to crunch or break things).  The key is that you want to dissipate energy any way except through your driver.

A mattress won’t make much difference to a speeding stock car. You need something much stiffer, and that’s the purpose of the SAFER barriers. They’re like mattresses for race cars. They use the energy of the car to deform the barriers and spread out the impact over a longer time. This directs energy away from the driver.

Why SAFER Barriers Aren’t the Only Answer

SAFER barriers save lives and this analysis is meant in no way to diminish their importance. But the inventors of the SAFER barriers would be the first folks to remind us that it takes multiple safety devices, working in unison, to protect the drivers (and the crowds). HANS or hybrid devices, helmets, restraints and the car itself are all part of the equation. You can’t address any one of those elements without considering the others. So here, briefly, are some things to think about.

Kinetic Energy Ranges

SAFER barriers work best in a specific kinetic energy range. I was surprised when interviewing drivers for my book to find that more than one mentioned that hitting a SAFER barrier at low speed actually hurt worse than hitting a concrete wall. But it’s true. The wall works by giving. If you don’t hit it hard enough, it doesn’t give and then it is just like hitting a concrete wall. This is relevant for a couple reasons.
1.  Most tracks host more than one kind of racing series. The kinetic energy scales of those series can vary widely. Any solution has to make the track safer for everyone who races there, not just stock cars.
2. Different tracks have different speeds, so even just within a single racing series, this means different kinetic energies. Compare Martinsville and Daytona, where the maximum speeds are a factor of 1.5-2 different. That means the kinetic energy scales differ by a factor of 2.25-4. That’s a big range. The response of the SAFER barriers can be tuned by using different strength foams and different types of steel tubing – but again, it has to work for all series racing there, not just NASCAR.

Get Off Your Grass

Get rid of the grass. Grass has no business being anywhere in a racetrack that cars could possible end up in.

a. Remember how I mentioned that you can dissipate energy by friction between the tires and the ground? The higher the coefficient of friction between the two materials, the more energy you dissipate. You know what the coefficient of friction is between grass and rubber? Very small. It’s even smaller when the grass is wet. This is why road courses have gravel traps. Huge friction that slows down the cars and hopefully stops them before they hit. (Gravel traps have their problems, notably that it’s near impossible to get out of one once you get in one, and that flying gravel is dangerous and difficult to clean up.)

b. Second, there is a drop off between the asphalt and the grass – a lip on which the car can catch, creating a torque. Check out Elliott Sadler’s crash at Talladega.

When he comes from the grass back onto the track, the roof of the car catches on that lip and starts the car rolling again. If I were a driver or an owner, I would be after every track to get rid of any grass near the track.

The Car Itself

NASCAR has done an amazing job engineering a much safer car than we had fifteen years ago. But the job isn’t done. There hasn’t been a career-ending injury (including death) during a race in any of NASCAR’s three major series since 2001. (Note added. It was pointed out to me that Jerry Nadeau‘s career ended after a very hard hit in 2003 during practice for a race at Richmond.) The injuries we have seen have all been below the knee. Dario Franchitti broke an ankle at Talladega. Brad Keselowski hit a wall testing at Road Atlanta and broke an ankle. Kyle Busch’s injuries from the Daytona crash were to his left foot and right lower leg.

The pedal box and the front of the car need some attention. Can the idea of collapsible steering columns be worked into the pedals? The front of the car is designed to crush (thus dissipating energy) in a crash, but maybe there is a way to refine how the crushing happens and reinforce the driver’s cockpit near the legs. I’m sure the folks at the NASCAR R&D Center are already thinking about this side of the problem.

Perhaps there are driver safety devices than could be developed as well, similar to the HANS device that prevents the head from slamming forward in  a wreck. Maybe there’s a carbon fiber leg brace or similar piece that could provide some extra protection for the driver’s legs in a crash. Of course, anything developed can’t interfere with the driver’s ability to control the car after a crash.

The Fallacy of Safe Racing

Motorsports is dangerous. People are killed participating in motorsports – especially at the lower levels, where the safety requirements are much lower than in the high-dollar, high-visibility series. But even in NASCAR, even in F1, even in Indy, there will be serious injuries and – I’m sorry to say – we haven’t lost our last driver to an on-track incident. All you need is that one in a thousand, one in ten-thousand confluence of events.

What Should Fans and Drivers Be Demanding?

Don’t tell NASCAR and the tracks that they should cover every conceivable wall with SAFER barriers and then sit back and congratulate yourself for a job well done.

Consider for a moment the ratio of people whose job it is to make cars fast to people whose job it is to make racing safer.

NASCAR has become so much more proactive about safety in the last years. If I were a driver, I would be lobbying NASCAR to hire more people at their R&D Center focused on safety, and to support more motorsports safety research at universities and industry.

The FIA has an Institute for Motorsports Safety.  It’s a non-profit foundation that centralizes safety initiatives and testing and works to get safety innovations on the track quickly.

Maybe it’s time for NASCAR to team up with IndyCar and the Tudor United Sports Car series and form something similar in the U.S. This isn’t an issue that should come up only after a serious wreck. It’s an issue that needs long-term, on-going commitment and attention. As a fan, I’d pay an extra buck or two on top of a race ticket if that ‘tax’ were earmarked for safety research.

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Dec 152011

The official Indycar report on Dan Wheldon’s death was released today.  The conclusions:  Wheldon died when his head/helmet hit a fencepost, but it took a combination of factors to bring about this awful tragedy.  They also noted that it wouldn’t have made any difference if the fenceposts were on the inside of the fence or the outside of the fence.  I pretty much said the same thing in my analysis of the incident.  Indycar, much to their credit, has released the entire 49 page report to the public, which comes to you here via pressdog.

The obvious question is “what do we do now”?

When I last spoke with Dean Sicking (the inventor of the SAFER barrier), I asked him who the primary groups were in the world who are doing motorsports safety research in the area of track barriers and fences.  There are a few, but most of them focus on human mechanics or medicine.  If you want to be specific, there is exactly one group in the country doing intensive research into motorsports track safety and that’s at the University of Nebraska.  Yes, I know that some sanctioning bodies have their own R&D divisions; however, they have limited staff and they also have the responsibility for doing things like certifying new products for use in their series.

Most research at Universities is funded by grants (usually from federal or state agencies, sometimes from private foundations) or contracts (usually from private industry and designed to accomplish a very specific objective, with deliverables.)

One of the primary issues with the catchfence is the vertical poles that support the wire mesh.  Initial reports argued that, if the poles had been outside the mesh, there wouldn’t have been a fatal accident.  This is not right.  Inside or outside, hitting one at high speed is going to be fatal.  I suggested before that a possible solution would be to somehow cantilever the fence so that the posts would be a few feet away from the mesh.  You’d need quite the system of wires, but I know it’s possible.

Let’s give Sicking and his group a grant to design a better catchfence.

Do you have  any idea how much money you would need to test such a catchfence?  When designing the SAFER barriers, Sicking told me that getting a driverless car to hit the barrier at a precise speed and angle was actually the most technically challenging part of the research.  Now we not only have to have a high-speed racecar hit the new catchfence, but we also have to have it in the air when it does so.

I suggest that the industry needs a Center for Motorsports Safety Research.  It would be a non-profit center operating independently of any sanctioning body, but it would work with the sanctioning bodies to prioritize research needs.   Representatives from the various sanctioning bodies, along with motorsports researchers, would form an advisory board that would try to anticipate safety issues, as opposed to how we deal with them now, which is reactively.

I think it’s important that this be an independent body and not beholden to NASCAR or IndyCar.  There would be a small research staff, with room for visiting researchers who can contribute particular specialization to specific problems.  I would (of course) put Dean Sicking in charge of it because he is one of the best engineers and most honorable persons I have even known.  He’s shown his ability to design for two very different cars at the same track already.   I’d also charge them with preparing educational materials for drivers at all levels to make them aware of state-of-the-art safety concerns and the equipment they need to be as safe as possible.

Who should fund this center?  The sanctioning bodies, the media who make money from broadcasting motorsports, the track owners, and you and me:  the race fans.

From Jayski’s track seating and attendance page, 3.6 million people attended NASCAR races last year.  Let’s add a safety surcharge of $2.00 per ticket is added on — and frankly, if you begrudge paying less than the cost of a beer to facilitate your part of this research, you shouldn’t call yourself a race fan.  That would be $7.2 million dollars right there for motorsports safety research.  Add on contributions from the media partners who broadcast motorsports, the occasional generous driver, and you have the start of a center.

As I said in my previous article, motorsports will never be entirely safe.   But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do everything we can to try to ensure that we never lose another driver again.

Kudos, Indycar for your transparency and commitment to learn as much as you can from this tragedy.


Nov 142011

“This is a huge tragedy for IndyCar but I hope that out of this tragedy comes some good in terms of improving more in safety, like when Greg Moore died and Dale Earnhardt, and now Dan Wheldon. The innovations that come out from that in terms of improving driver safety need to be kicked up another notch. We hope that is what will happen.” –Paul Tracy

I’m a relatively new Indycar follower.  Part of dealing with a series of health crises over the last 18 months was getting rid of electronic baggage: relentlessly negative people, and those who confuse ‘snarky’ with cruel. That left some holes in motorsports content that were happily filled by new friends from the open-wheel world like PopOffValve, OilPressure and SpinDoctor500blog. They introduced me to a new world and a new group of drivers. I immediately picked out Dan Wheldon for his wit, his smile and his ability to communicate what so effectively during his Versus appearances. Over the last couple weeks, I’ve read many words of grief, tribute and, more recently, of thoughts about what happens next.

As a reminder, this blog focuses on analyzing and understanding the science and engineering of racing. Opinions are welcome, but they have to be substantiated by fact and stated respectfully. No ad hominem attacks.

A Brief History of Barriers

The original purpose of barriers around tracks was keeping cars separated from spectators.  In addition to concrete walls to prevent the cars from driving off track, debris-spewing accidents necessitated fencing to contain airborne objects.  Most fencing was standard-issue chain-link, which is cheap, plentiful, easy to put up and surprisingly strong.

Solving one problem (as so often happens) generated another:  while very effective at keeping spectators safe, drivers could be (and were) seriously injured hitting these rudimentary structures.  The problem became worse as speeds rose – the kinetic energy of an object increases with the square of its speed.  This means a car going 180 mph has nine times more kinetic energy than the same car going 60 mph.  When a car comes to a stop, all of its kinetic energy has to be dissipated – transformed into heat via skidding or friction between the brake rotors and the brake pads, for example.  The longer the car takes to come to a stop, the less force experienced by the driver.

Concrete walls are simply too unyielding.  Springy walls might seem like the answer, but bouncing a car back into the paths of other cars creates other problems.  The SAFER (Steel And Foam Energy Reducing) barriers were a huge technical advance because they dissipated the car’s energy via flexing hollow steel square tubing and smushing foam between the tubing and the concrete wall. The SAFER barriers have been one of the most visible technical achievements associated with motorsports.

Chain-link fabric

Photo from: http://www.chainlinkfence-yihang.com/Engineering-Drawings.html

Catchfences pose a slightly different set of problems.  They should have the same properties as the walls, but they can’t block the view.   In addition to sight, one of the best parts of seeing a race in person is the sound and – if you’re close enough – feeling the wind generated by the cars zooming by. Chain link fence is a good compromise between visibility and protection.

Chain-link fabric is like an elastic metal mesh. It can give in two ways: gentle forces cause the mesh to deform.  The diamonds stretch out of shape, but when the force is removed, the fabric springs back to its original shape. The fence can also deform by stretching the wires that make up the mesh. A large-enough force will break the wire, leaving a hole in the fabric.

How much the mesh can stretch depends on how it is supported.  If the frame is too big – meaning that there’s a very large area of mesh between supports — the mesh will stretch too much. Vertical poles are used periodically to provide additional strength.  How the poles are attached to the mesh is critical, because the attachments allow the load to be shared between the fabric and the poles.  The larger the forces, the more robust the links between the poles and the mesh must be.

Photo from: http://jonesinforspeed.blogspot.com/2008_07_01_archive.html

Race track fencing is stouter in just about every way.  The mesh is made of larger-gauge wire with higher tensile strength.  The links between the poles and the fabric are stronger:  In the picture at right, steel cables run horizontally through the mesh and are fixed to the vertical poles using some massive turnbuckle-like fixtures.

Different tracks have different installations.  Some have metal tubing running horizontally as reinforcement.  One of the pictures below has larger-holed mesh that is attacked to the poles at every possible point.

The SAFER barrier represented a paradigm shift in barriers:  a entirely different principle of operation.  Catchfence improvements have primarily been via stronger mesh, stronger or a greater number of poles, or better links between the poles and the mesh.  But it’s basically the same fundamental design.

The chain-link fence has been institutionalized in motorsports, with governing bodies developing specific standards for debris fencing.  These standard tests allow us to compare different types and installations of fences.  In the FIA test, a 760-kg  (1675 lb) test mass is shot into a fence at a speed of 65 km/h (40 mph) at heights of 1.6 m and 2.5 m (5.25 and 8.2 feet respectively).  While 40 mph seems very slow, they’re taking just about the entire mass of an Indy car and concentrating it in a relatively small sphere.  A real car would impact over a much larger area and spread out the force.

Photo from http://www.geobrugg.com/contento/security/English/Home/Debrisfences/CrashTests/tabid/3874/language/en-US/Default.aspx

The photo at left shows the fence working perfectly in terms of what’s being tested:   The mesh deforms (a lot!) without breaking.  Load is transferred to the poles, with the poles nearest the impact bending.  The emphasis, however, is pretty strictly on containment.

With that background, let’s examine some of the theories that have been advanced and see how the science stacks up.


The “It’s Obvious What Went Wrong” Theory

I got a chuckle out of Dean Sicking, inventor of the SAFER barriers and Director of the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility, when I started our conversation by asking him how many people contacted him after the crash and asked him to make a definitive conclusion about the cause of the crash solely the basis of the television video.

Motorsports accidents rarely have a single cause. It is almost always a confluence of events that add up to disaster. Even Sicking, with many years of experience, can’t look at a videotape and positively identify a cause.   A formal investigation is in progress.  Sicking (who is not part of that investigation) noted that the investigators will use every bit of data they have access to:  accelerometers in the cars that measure the forces the cars experience and earpiece accelerometers (which all Indycar drivers wear) that provide data about the forces the driver feels (because the two forces are rarely identical).  They will have that information from every driver and car on the track.  The team will investigate all of the safety apparel (HANS, firesuits, helments, etc.), in-car video, photos, broadcast video and all of the information from race control.   This is a very complicated situation given the number of cars involved and it’s going to take some time to unwind.

The one think Sicking is willing to say definitively is that “It’s too soon to blame the fence”.  He has some ideas on how the current catchfence design could be improved – but he politely declined to share those given that he hasn’t had an opportunity to test any of them yet.

The “Inside-Outside” Theory

Photo from: http://markjrebilas.com/blog/?p=6338. Check his website – there are some really great pictures.

A popular theory making the rounds is that the fence at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is unsafe because the vertical support poles are on the inside of the fencing (facing the track).  The support poles in the picture at left are on the outside (facing away from the track).  In a coincidence perfect for the black helicopter crowd, SMI tracks (like Las Vegas) have the vertical supports inside the fencing, while ISC tracks have supports outside the fencing.  Sicking doesn’t think the location of the poles inside vs. outside makes a significant difference.  A number of people have advanced the theory that the poles on the inside ‘shred’ the car and that moving them to the outside of the wire mesh would provide a much smoother surface.

I think the picture they have in their minds is of a car traveling along parallel to the fence and hitting the posts as it goes by.  If that were the case, then it would be true that having the posts on the outside would be better; however, it’s highly unlikely a car would travel that way.

Most crashes don’t happen parallel to the fence – the car hits with some component of velocity perpendicular to the fence, which makes avoiding hitting a pole virtually impossible given the spacing between the poles.

Sicking says the problem is not whether the poles are inside or outside the mesh, but that they are so close that it is almost impossible for a flying car to hit the fence without hitting one (or more) poles.

The “Close the Cockpit” Theory

It is hard to find any evidence countering the assertion that an open-wheel driver is much more susceptible to injury from a cockpit-first barrier or catchfence hit than a stock car driver.  Indy cars have a roll hoop, but it’s a fairly minimal structure and, if compromised, leaves nothing to protect the driver’s head.   If you want evidence in support of closed cockpits, consider the two extremely violent crashes experienced by Audi LMP (closed-cockpit) cars at this year’s 24 Hours of LeMans.  Both drivers walked away.

While acknowledging that open-cockpit cars are an integral part of Indycar tradition, I don’t think you can escape the conclusion that maintaining that tradition increases the risk to the drivers.  Whether that’s an acceptable risk or not, it seems to me, is up to the drivers.

The “Hockey Rink” Theory

Hockey rinks use a clear wall to protect fans from flying hockey pucks (and sometimes from players being slammed against the boards).  The Lexan polycarbonate is strong enough to withstand the force of the hockey puck and still allows clear sight lines for the fans.  Lexan is used for bullet-proof windows and similar demanding applications. Lexan is also used (and recently mis-used) in the windshields of NASCAR stockcars.

When thinking about forces, the mass of the object, its speed and the time of the hit (how long the two objects are in contact) are important.  The record speed for a hockey puck (which weighs about 5.5-6 oz.) is about 106 mph.  Race cars, on the other hand, weigh a whole lot more (1600 and 3250 lbs in round numbers for Indycars and stock cars) and travel even faster.  I’ve compared on the plot below the kinetic energies (KEs) of a NASCAR stock car, an Indy open-wheel car and a hockey puck.  Some values are shown in the table for comparison:

Comparing the kinetic energy of a hockey puck with race cars.

Object Mass (kg) Weight (lb) Speed (m/s) Speed (mph) Kinetic Energy (J)
Hockey Puck 0.17  0.375 47.4 106 191
IndyCar Car 710 1560 98.4 220 3,433,733
NASCAR Stock Car 1477 3250 80.5  180 4,782,648

(The hockey puck is that flat purple line on the graph.)

Even if we consider that the time of the hit for the hockey puck could be, say, 100 times shorter than that for the cars, we’re still talking about factors of hundreds or more in terms of the force the wall would have to sustain.  Lexan is simply not up to the job.  You could try a composite – a combination of two materials that produces properties superior to either. For example, you could reinforce Lexan with steel cable — or even carbon nanotubes; however, you would still need an unrealistic thicknesses of material and it would be very expensive to encircle an entire mile-plus-long track with it.  Economically and practically, this isn’t a reasonable solution.

The “Just Keep the Car on the Ground” Theory

This seems like a very simple approach:  The best way to prevent car-catchfence collisions is to keep the cars from hitting above the SAFER barriers, which means keeping them from leaving the ground.  The new car is designed to decrease the wheel-locking problem that contributes to propeling cars into the air; however, Sicking suggests that the rear wing angle needs to be investigated as another contributor to the problem.

“Angle of attack” refers to the angle between a wing and the oncoming air. In a racecar, the angle of attack determines downforce and drag.  Sicking says that the way the wing is run now – pretty close to flat – provides huge downforce and very little drag.  The problem, he suggests, is that when the car gets a little bit off the ground, the angle of attack of the rear wing actually encourages the car to continue rising.  Increasing the angle decreases downforce and adds drag, which prevents the drivers from running wide open the whole way and discourages the car from lifting. Sicking suggests that increasing the horsepower would also help.

It seems to me there’s a safety issue anytime a driver doesn’t have throttle response. Have you ever been in a rental car trying to enter the expressway (or pass a truck) and you’ve got your foot all the way down on the gas but the car just isn’t going any faster? Not a good feeling.  Throttle response gives a driver additional control and additional control is always a good thing.

The “Pack Mentality” Theory

Cars moving at high speeds give drivers very little time to react. Cars moving in close proximity to each other also decrease the margin of error allowed the driver.

The phrase you hear on the Indycar TV broadcasts is “A football field per second” (which is about 204 mph).  Those of us who aren’t race car drivers may not appreciate how fast that is.  Since most of us don’t have access to a 200-mph car and a track, Sicking sugests heading out to your local high school football field.  Park a car at one end and, when you reach the other end, turn around imagine that (one second later) that car is right on top of you.

When cars are moving together at similar speeds, there isn’t actually much danger because their relative speeds are  very small; however, the minute one car slows down, the relative speed jumps and the drivers have to responds.  From SportsScience to accident reconstruction experts, there is overwhelming evidence that racecar drivers have extremely good reaction times. But even a 99th-percentile reaction time won’t keep you from hitting something if you’re too close to it.

The “We’ll Try Harder and Make Racing Safe so that We Never Lose Another Driver” Theory

Dave Moody touched on this on his Sirius Speedway radio program – he asked whether the Indycar drivers should have been expected to get back in their cars and race after a fatal accident. He suggested that maybe the sport is more humane today and we don’t expect people to ‘buck up’ in the face of tragedy like they did ‘back in the day’.

I have a slightly different take: ‘Back in the day’, more drivers died. People steeled themselves because it was more likely than not that someone would die during a season. Racing has become so much safer, and we’ve had so many fewer accidents that perhaps we have forgotten that this is still inherently dangerous. Getting in a racecar is a calculated risk. When you look back at the old days — tire testing by having drivers run through nails and tacks at high speed — you marvel at the risks drivers willingly accepted.  We’ve minimized many of those risks, and a lot of lives have been saved as a result.  But there is still a risk that what happened on that tragic Sunday at Las Vegas will happen again. I worry that younger drivers – especially those who have never lost a colleague in an on-track incident – feel an unwarrented invincibility (for themselves and others) that leads to less than prudent moves on the track.  But even with everyone on their best behavior,  the motorsports sanctioning bodies could implement every innovation we have and that could still not be enough.

Racing is not 100% safe.  It never will be.

The “We Owe it to Dan” Theory

At the risk of saying this the wrong way, one of the side effects of the reduced number of serious accidents is that we don’t have a lot of data on those types of accidents.  Understanding how to prevent accidents like this requires that we understand the accidents.  Many others have put it more eloquently:  We owe it to Dan — and all the other drivers — to learn from this tragedy and to make changes.   Those changes will not ensure that no driver ever dies on a racetrack, but everything we do will decrease the number of drivers who do make that ultimate sacrifice.

In the second part of this series, I’ll explain how we could do that.

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