NASCAR Hall’s Class of 2014 announced

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Dale Jarrett (pictured), Maurice Petty, Tim Flock, Jack Ingram and Fireball Roberts will soon be known as NASCAR Hall of Famers.

The five NASCAR legends were voted into the Hall today and will officially be inducted as the Class of 2014 in ceremonies at the Charlotte, N.C.-based Hall next January.

The honors for Jarrett and Petty further burnish their families’ tremendous legacies in the sport. Dale joins father Ned in the Hall, while Maurice joins his father, Lee; older brother, Richard; and cousin Dale Inman.

“I’ve always felt like it was an honor and a privilege to drive for NASCAR, and this sport has been such a huge part of the Jarrett life,” Dale said according to the Associated Press. “Now to be part of something that my father is a part of, it just means the world to me.”

“It makes me happy because that means all of [the Pettys] are in,” said Maurice about his entry to the Hall. “So I’m tickled to death with it.”

Dale collected 32 wins in his driving career, as well as the 1999 Sprint Cup championship, while Maurice contributed to the Petty Enterprises dynasty as its chief engine builder for the majority of Richard’s 200 wins and seven Cup titles.

Flock and Roberts were early stars for the sport. The former won 39 times in his career and also claimed two series titles in 1952 and 1955, while the latter notched a healthy 33 victories and a status as one of the sport’s first fan favorites.

Ingram was honored for his career in what is now known as the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The North Carolina native won three consecutive titles (1972-74) during its time as the Late Model Sportsman Division; when the category became the Busch Series, Ingram grabbed two more crowns in 1982 and 1985.

New study surveys drivers’ opinions on crashes, concussions, more

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Auto racing safety has continued to improve through the decades, but the sport remains inherently dangerous, according to a new survey.

At the close of 2018, a new organization called Racing Safety United emerged with the intention of reducing drivers’ risk of being harmed.

RSU is made up of more than 30 members including former NASCAR Cup Series competitor Jerry Nadeau, two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Randy LaJoie, NHRA team owner Don Schumacher and motorsports journalist Dick Berggren.

One of RSU’s first initiatives was to determine what current drivers thought of racing safety. The organization developed a 14-question survey and promoted it on select motorsports websites and forums. 

Participants were given the opportunity to disclose their identity or remain anonymous, and those who provided contact information were entered to win a $500 prize (for anonymous participants, the prize funds would be donated to a motorsports charity). 

More than 140 individuals participated in the survey over the course of 12 months. Below are the results of the survey:

Driver status

The vast majority of survey participants (60%) were amateur racers, while 26% of the participants were classified as Semi-Pro/Professional racers. The remaining 14% consisted of other individuals involved in the sport such as team owners and crew chiefs. 

When asked how frequently they race, 58% of driver respondents averaged 10 or more times per year on track, while 42% averaged 10 times or less.

The top five tracks respondents said they raced most often: Road Atlanta (21 votes), Watkins Glen (17 votes), Virginia International Raceway (16 votes), Mid-Ohio (16 votes), and Road America (13 votes).

Vehicular damage, injuries common

Over a third of respondents said they had been injured while racing, and almost two-thirds sasid they had suffered severe vehicle damage while racing

Driver error was cited as the top cause of vehicle damage (42 mentions), followed by concrete walls (26 mentions), mechanical failures (24 mentions), and other drivers (19 mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for better driver training/coaching, energy absorbing walls, and more technical inspections.

Almost a quarter of drivers said they had experienced racing-related concussions, and nearly half the respondents said one or multiple concussions would affect their decision to race in the future. 

Drivers primarily influenced by peers 

Roughly half the drivers said they would consider adopting new safety equipment if influenced by another driver (51 total mentions) and/or if recommended by a sanctioning body (47 total mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for drivers to become safety advocates and educate other drivers and for sanctioning bodies to mandate safety equipment. 

Drivers concerned with concrete walls

Approximately three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said they believed certain race tracks were more dangerous than others. Nearly half the drivers surveyed believe that concrete walls were the primary cause of damage to drivers and vehicles. 

Drivers willing to help

Just more than three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said that they would be willing to join a safety alliance to advocate for safer tracks. Two-thirds of drivers said that they also would be willing to contribute to a motorsports safety fund.

Click here for the full results of RSU’s survey

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