Hunter: Motor racing comes at a price
Wednesday, September 2, 2015 11:19 am
By DAVID HUNTER
In a column last week, I mentioned that motorsports are my favorite sport to watch on TV. However, the drivers in all of the series know the risk each time they put on the racing helmet that it could be the last time they are alive. It is the one thing I hate about viewing races on TV when a driver gets into a crash and loses their life like what happened to Indy Car driver, Justin Wilson on Aug. 23.
Of course, you know the story about a piece of Sage Karam car from him spinning out while leading the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono hitting Wilson in the helmet at over 200 miles per hour. Wilson was then knocked out, and he hit the inside wall. He was transferred to a local hospital in Pennsylvania in a coma, and he passed away the following night. For everybody in the racing community, including drivers, fans and anybody else within with the sport, it was another sad day.
When I tell somebody motorsports is my favorite sport, they ask me two questions: Why do you enjoy watching cars going around in circles? And is it because of the crashes? Honestly, it makes me very upset, when they ask me the second question because that is the absolute last reason why I enjoy viewing motorsports on the tube.
The main reason is I enjoy the speed and technology of them, and they are generally good people. During my journalism career, I have had the chance to cover several races from many series, including when the Nashville Superspeedway in Gladeville hosted them until 2011. I had the opportunity to interview all of the top racers, which you see on television each week today.
I was just a young reporter trying to learn the business back then, but each of them took the time to talk to me. Plus, they treated me like a veteran, and I always will appreciate it, including the help of current Cannon Courier columnist Larry Woody, who connected me with all of them, while he was at the Tennessean back in the day.
However, it came at a price as two of them, Dan Wheldon and Jason Leffler, would die during a race, not at the Nashville Superspeedway. Wheldon, a two-time Indy 500 winner, died during the 2011 Indy Car race at Las Vegas, while Leffler, who won the now Xfinity Series event at Nashville in 2004, passed away during a 410 Sprint Car race in New Jersey in 2013.