(Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR) via www.nascarmedia.com
Sorry I was AWOL yesterday, it was a long day and I was too tired to type but I'm back.
Anyway, I've got to give significant kudos to David Reutimann for his driving performance at Charlotte Motor Speedway last Saturday night.
Reutimann was suffering from the flu before the race and still climbed into the race car come start time and finished the race in no less than 15th spot.
He was still sick during the race by the way, he used zip lock bags to throw-up in. He was fortunate to throw up during two caution periods and then tossed the zip locks out the window.
There is a Kasey Kahne debris caution joke in here somewhere, you just know there is.
Reutimann couldn't bring himself to get out ot the car and put a replacement driver in.
I honestly couldn't imagine throwing up while wearing a full-faced helmet and strapped into a Sprint Cup car.
He must a very controlled vomiter.
If you want the whole story complete with quotes from David then go to nascar.com - its actually a pretty good read.
Now after I heard about this I thought, "Wow, that is some driving feat" which it is but then I thought about what would have happened if he (or any other driver that is similarly ill for that matter) just happened to violently throw-up during a green flag run before he had a chance to get into the pits?
I shudder to think about that happening at the end a straight-away while having cars on both the high and low sides.
David's situation isn't unique though as he isn't the first driver to drive while feeling sick or suffering from various broken bones, etc. he is just the latest one to do it, but what I have always questioned about situations like this is; "When does something like this warrant NASCAR stepping in to tell a driver he is too sick/injured to drive?"
Is there a policy in place? I honestly don't know.
Let's face it drivers are human and they're competitors and they are not going to give up the driving duties to their race cars too easily - I know I wouldn't - but sometimes we as human beings don't know when to say when and that is when NASCAR needs to step in.
The problem is that in order for a driver to collect his points he must start the race and I feel that is why drivers are more reluctant to give up their seats than normal. If NASCAR had some sort of amendment to the rule I think it would cut down on drivers taking unnecessary risks in order to secure points.
Something as simple as a manditory examination of a potentially ill driver prior to the start of the race could be implimented and if they don't meet a minimum criteria then they should be allowed to have someone else start the race for them while allowing them to collect the points too.
I think situations like this warrant such changes in NASCAR policy. I also think that NASCAR doesn't need to worry about drivers abusing this because sponsors will have something to say if the driver they are paying to have in the car is never in there. Also, NASCAR can institute consecutive race clauses to prevent abuse of the system unless medically proven otherwise.
What do you think? Let me know! Voice it here!