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NASCAR officials facing questions about safety issues, in the wake of Sunday's New Hampshire 300

   If NASCAR is so committed to safety -- and it certainly is -- then officials should start cracking down hard on drivers who run over pit crewmen or hit other cars on pit road (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


   By Mike Mulhern
   NASCAR is taking heat for a number of safety issues in Sunday's 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, particularly for that slow caution flag on the last lap, when AJ Allmendinger spun and was sitting stalled in the middle of the track for maybe some 15 or 20 seconds, while the leaders raced around the track toward the checkered flag.
   No one was injured in that incident, but several drivers have criticized NASCAR for being too slow to throw the yellow, including Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman.
   Other drivers said they weren't really sure what was going – their spotters warned them of Allmendinger stalled on the track, but it was unclear when or if NASCAR would throw the yellow. So they kept racing, while NASCAR hoped Allmendinger would get his car refired and out of the way.
   However that wasn't the only serious safety issue during the race – pit road was particularly dangerous. Kurt Busch tagged David Ragan during a round of pit stops, and Ragan's car was knocked 180 degrees. Fortunately no one was injured.
   But another pit crewman, Clint Pittman, rear-tire man for the Casey Mears-Richard Childress team, broke his right foot when Denny Hamlin hit him during a stop. Pittman is expected to be out the rest of the season.
   NASCAR didn't penalize any drivers for those safety infractions – not the men who were racing back to the checkered flag (apparently including Hamlin and Juan Pablo Montoya, among them), and not Busch nor Hamlin for their pit road issues. Last weekend at Richmond Tony Stewart also hit a pit crewman, but NASCAR threw no penalty.


It won't be an issue with

It won't be an issue with NASCAR until there is a serious outcome to one of these incidents. Like if a crewman were killed, but certainly if an official were to get tagged by one of these 3500-lb machines with a driver (except for Mark Martin) who has tunnel-vision on that checkered flag. I think the crew-chief and driver both should be penalized for these pit road incidents because they are becoming more of an issue every week. And NASCAR has done nothing to stop it. This should be one of their 'effective immediately' stands when addressing the driver's and crew chiefs at Dover.

A while ago I posted a

A while ago I posted a question asking what pit crew members would like to see in terms of safety improvements - rules, equipment, whatever. I specifically mentioned the lug nuts flying out from under smoking tires on pit road - during night races you can see them sparking under the tires.
You responded by saying you would ask around. I apologize if I missed your follow-up to that. Given the recent safety issues on pit road, I figured I'd ask again. Did you get any ideas from them?

Drivers are not intentionally

Drivers are not intentionally going out to runover crew members. I do think that because it's the Chase, crew members are becoming more aggressive in getting out to the car and in some twisted fashion, trying to mess up the rhthym of the surrounding teams.

Crewmen are penalized for running out after tires. I see no reason for crewmen to be penalized for getting too aggressive during the pit stop and endangering themselves and the surrounding teams.

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