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26th of September 2017

Automotive



NASCAR drivers recall other problematic ambulance controversies

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A pair of NASCAR champions have taken issue with the inability of track ambulance drivers to locate the infield care center on a week-to-week basis.

Both Matt Kenseth (2003) and Kevin Harvick (2014) praised the sanctioning body for mandating policies that sped up the process of getting safety crews to drivers involved in incidents but criticized what occasionally happens afterward.

Following a crash at Richmond in April, Kenseth said his ambulance driver got lost trying to transport him to the infield care center.

"I was (riding) around the infield for about five minutes with him, and he was lost and couldn’t find the care center," Kenseth said on Wednesday at the NASCAR playoff media day in Charlotte, North Carolina. "Thankfully, I wasn't bleeding to death."

Kenseth also recalled an instance at Auto Club Speedway in California where an ambulance ride was so bumpy that it bounced him clear off his seat.

"He drove so recklessly, it threw me off the bench and I almost hit my head in the ambulance," Kenseth said.

Harvick had his own horror stories to share with reporters on Wednesday.

"I think everyone is doing a great job when they get to the cars, but we still have some issues of getting the ambulances from several drivers to the infield care center without getting lost," Harvick said. "And that’s been an issue for not only myself, twice, but several other drivers as they’ve had their trips to the infield care center.

"Getting the ambulance, the chase truck and the ambulance to the accident scene as soon as possible when you know it’s a major impact is important. I know they are continuously working to try to make that better, but the ambulances need to know where they’re going, too."

NASCAR drivers concerned about timing of late cautions in playoff races

This week has been a tenuous one for NASCAR driver-ambulance relations.

On Saturday, a wayward ambulance was stopped in front of the entrance to pit road right after NASCAR opened it for service.

As a result, the leaders checked up and Kenseth slammed into the back of Clint Bowyer. The damage terminally affected the radiator of his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. The damage sent him to the garage area and out of the race.

A frequent critic of NASCAR’s various safety policies, Brad Keselowski (2012 champion) called it a freak accident but added he doesn’t expect much better from the status quo.

"My expectations are very low already to begin with," Keselowski said with a laugh. "I’m not all that worried about it. Our thoughts are just make the car right so you don’t have to worry about it."

NASCAR acknowledged concerns on Wednesday with the following statement.

"The follow-up discussions that centered around the ambulance issue at Richmond went well beyond where it parked and the procedure that led us to that point. It was all-encompassing, and we’ll continue to work with the tracks and safety teams to improve in every aspect of support. Safety is paramount, and it’s something we work hard at all year long, from the season-opening Summit to intensive weekly reviews of every incident response to continual training for crews. We hold ourselves to a very high standard of excellence."

Opinion A way too early look at the NASCAR playoffs

By Matt Weaver

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