Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast added to NBC’s NASCAR on-air team

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NBC Sports Group has announced that reporters Marty Snider and Kelli Stavast have been added as contributors to NBC and NBCSN’s upcoming studio and live race coverage of NASCAR. Both Snider and Stavast will be based out of Charlotte, N.C., the hub of the NASCAR industry.

A release from the Group states that no further “broadcaster-related” announcements are expected “in the near term.” Snider and Stavast join lead announcer Rick Allen and analysts Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte as part of the NBC team.

Snider was part of NBC’s most recent coverage of NASCAR from 2001-2006 and has been a reporter for TNT’s Sprint Cup coverage for over a decade. He has also covered other sports for NBC/NBCSN, including the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the IndyCar Series, where he’ll continue on as NBCSN’s lead pit reporter.

“Marty is a talented motorsports reporter with longstanding relationships throughout the sport,” NBC/NBCSN executive producer Sam Flood said in the release. “He was a part of NBC’s Emmy Award-winning NASCAR broadcast team during our last partnership, and we are happy to have him back with us on the NASCAR beat.”

Stavast has covered a wide variety of motorsport disciplines, from sports cars (GRAND-AM and the American Le Mans Series) to off-road races and leagues such as the Baja 1000 and the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series. She also works as a reporter for NBC’s auto show coverage from Los Angeles, New York and Detroit.

“Kelli’s motorsports work has been impressive, so much so that she will also contribute to NBC Sports’ upcoming IndyCar coverage,” said Flood. “Her immersion into the racing community in Charlotte will pay dividends as she strengthens her relationships with those in and around the sport.”

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

James Black/IndyCar
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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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