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ARCA drivers had a very rough Saturday at Daytona, and three wind up in the hospital

   By Mike Mulhern

   The ARCA 200 was pure carnage here Saturday.
   ARCA racers Patrick Sheltra and Larry Hollenbeck were reported "conscious and alert" when transferred to Halifax Medical Center after a very bad crash in the tour's season-opening 200 at Daytona International Speedway.
   ARCA races, once known for chaos and crashes, have become a lot cleaner the past few years, but this ARCA 200 reverted to form, with numerous hard crashes, which involved at least 29 of the 43 drivers. Veteran Bobby Gerhart was also injured in one of the incidents and taken to Halifax.
   Texan James Buescher beat Joey Logano and Justin Lofton in a one-lap shootout to win the race, after a lengthy red flag while Sheltra was cut out of his car. Buescher and Logano are both only 18, two of the youngest ever to race at Daytona.
   Sheltra was injured when he slowed for another crash and was then hit hard in the rear by Hollenbeck.
   "I don't know why there were so many wrecks, but I was almost involved in two of them," Buescher said.
   One of those involved Alli Owens, who had started from the front row next to Lofton.
    "You're hoping for that storybook finish, but lady luck wasn't on our side," Owen said.
    "It just felt like hit after hit after hit kept coming."


   Patrick Sheltra (Photo: ARCA)


I wish someone would explain

I wish someone would explain to me why it took sooooo long to get Hollenbeck and Sheltra out of the cars. Is it the ARCA car itself, the safty regs for Daytona, or what? Although they were transported after really bad wrecks to Halifax, the news is that they were not seriously injured. A testement to the car, teams and safty crew, just curious whey it seemed to take such a long time to 'extract' them. Maybe its just the word the broadcast booth was using that makes it seem weird.

NASCAR rescue workers are

NASCAR rescue workers are very careful when extricating a driver who might have a serious back injury, as Sheltra does. Even when the injuries aren't that serious, rescue workers are extremely careful in dealing with the neck and head area. But the car has been impounded for examination by NASCAR. It's not a car-of-tomorrow, but rather one of the old Cup cars, so how well it held up, and if safety features worked the way they were supposed to, will be studied. NASCAR may release some of that information in its semiannual safety seminars with its own drivers. We'll try to find out what we can too, and pass it on to you. One question -- would the injuries have been the same in a car-of-tomorrow.

I posted before I saw that

I posted before I saw that Sheltra had a bad back injury which was more in keeping with the length of time it took the safty workers. NASCAR doesn't usually red flag unless its bad, and the booth was giving us nothing so I was confused at first what was the reason for the lengthy delay. Now it is clear obviously. I am surprised it wasn't worse based on how the crash looked, I think it does say something for the continued use of the COT. I have wondered how long NASCAR will find it acceptable to allow the ARCA and other support series to use a car that is less safe. I appreciate the cost issue is the biggest factor, but this accident seems to prove the worth of the COT for safty, as if we really needed another example after Michael McDowell's horiffic crash. I'd rather have occasional crappy racing and save a life.

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