Does NASCAR Encourage Dangerous Driving?
A spectacular crash during a NASCAR race was deliberate, the result of a feud between two drivers.
It happened on March 7th in Atlanta, Georgia. Carl Edwards rammed his rival at 196 mph, flipping the car over on its roof.
Driver Brad Keselowski staggered out looking dazed, and he was furious.
"To come back and just intentionally wreck someone, that's not, that's not cool. I mean that could've killed somebody in the grandstand," Keselowski told a reporter.
Edwards, who admits he deliberately bumped the car, was disqualified, but not sorry. "Brad knows the deal between him and I," he said.
Now NASCAR officials are coming under condemnation for allegedly encouraging drivers to ram each other to make races more exciting and combat declining interest in the sport.
"Boys have at it and have a good time, that's all I can say," NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said during a presentation to the media.
And NASCAR CEO Brian France said in January he wants to see more bumping, even at nearly 200 mph: "We want to see...more contact. This is a contact sport. We want to see drivers mixing it up."
And mixing it up is what these two drivers have been doing. The latest incident was payback for a crash in a race in Talladega, Alabama, last April.
Seven fans were injured in that crash, including 17-year-old Blake Bobbit, whose jaw was smashed by a piece of debris.
Some say NASCAR is risking the lives of fans by encouraging dangerous driving.
"[It's a] green light to mayhem, which is basically what NASCAR said, and I think it has led to calamity; they're lucky that nobody's injured," said Liz Clarke, author of One Helluva Ride.
NASCAR announced the driver responsible for the latest crash is on probation.