Wednesday, March 10, 2010

NASCAR encouraging crashes?

The following pieces on Sports about NASCAR's new "have at it" philosophy of allowing drivers more discretion for aggressive moves.

Danger very much alive in NASCAR after weak slap at Carl Edwards

NASCAR stands by greater driver leeway in Edwards-Keselowski crash

From the first article by Lars Anderson:

In the end, NASCAR got exactly what it wanted: The re-injection of danger -- and the specter of death -- into its sport.

Let's review. This past offseason, NASCAR announced it would no longer vigorously police the on-track behavior of drivers. If one had a beef with another, well, NASCAR said it would essentially turn a blind eye to whatever a driver did to achieve retribution. As Robin Pemberton, the vice president of competition, said this winter, "We will put it back in the hands of drivers, and we will say, 'Boys, have at it.'"

This brings us to Sunday's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Early in the event, Carl Edwards, a four-time winner in Atlanta, was bumped from behind by Brad Keselowski, which sent Edwards into the wall, wiping out any chance Edwards had of taking the checkers.

Here a governing body is adopting a stance that many fear will lead to increased injuries or death for drivers and even spectators, all in the name of heightening interest in the sport. The "have at it" philosophy appears to be achieving that goal.

The drivers themselves seem upset that NASCAR is seemingly encouraging risky driving. But I am wondering about a NASCAR fan at trackside who is injured or killed by a crash. Would that dead spectator have fulfilled the conditions of informed consent by choosing to sit in such a risky spot given the danger?

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