The Frontstretch: Voices From the Cheap Seats: NASCAR Officials to Be Replaced by Cops? by Jeff Meyer -- Thursday June 13, 2013

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First off, I’d like to express my sympathies to the Leffler family after the tragic loss of Jason Wednesday night. You will be in our thoughts and prayers.

Racing is a dangerous sport, no matter what vehicle you do it with. Unfortunately, tragedies occur. It’s the nature of the sport.

Reading up on the tragic events however, I came across a bit that took me by surprise which read in part…

UPDATE New Jersey State Police on Thursday were trying to determine what caused the dirt track crash that killed NASCAR driver Jason Leffler on Wednesday night.

The New Jersey State Police? Really? Why?

Now, I have been writing for about ten years about racing but this is the first time I can remember a police investigation into a crash. Perhaps it is standard protocol during a fatality. Perhaps their importance and scope of investigation is just being sensationalized by the media but it just strikes me as ridiculous if there is an ACTUAL investigation.

It’s racing! Unfortunately feces happens. Parts break, tires blowout, racers hit other racers. Sometimes, luckily not too often, racers suffer serious injury or death when those things happen but it did get me to thinking…

Why not have cops, instead of ‘NASCAR officials,’ make the call and assign blame when there is a bad crash in a race! Especially in cases of ‘retaliation.’

What if NASCAR officials were replaced with real police and they made the penalty calls?

Not only will local cops make the call on the track but also in the pits! As it stands now, when drivers and or crews ‘a get to fightin’ in the pits, the police are rarely involved and the situation and penalties are handled by NASCAR. Only outside the track do the local law get involved but I say bring them inside the track!

Who better to determine who is at fault? These guys deal with everyday, run of the mill, idiots day in and day out. Surely making the call amongst a bunch of professionals would be a piece of cake! Imagine the charges and fines that could be levied, like improper lane change, following too closely, failure to maintain control, leaving the scene of an accident and maybe even a DUI if they tested enough people. The folks officiating in the pits would of course be from the state DOT. As long as they left their emissions testing equipment at home, everything should run smoothly.

No longer would there be any controversy about NASCAR ‘favoring’ a certain driver over another when handing out penalties. NASCAR might even appear to be more fair if regular, power crazed cops where officiating things! Look how good it works on the streets!

Of course this is just all a fun fantasy. After all, what is there to really write about after a tragedy like the one on Wednesday night occurs? Racing is dangerous. If it wasn’t, nobody would do it.

RIP Jason Leffler. (Or better yet, may you score many victories at the Race Track on the Other Side as you compete against your peers that have gone before you!)

Stay off the wall, (bad things sometimes happen if you don’t)

Jeff Meyer

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NASCAR Easter Eggs: A Few Off-Week Nuggets to Chew On
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Andy D
06/14/2013 03:25 AM

State police are involved in fatal crashes on racetracks in most states. Florida Highway Patrol documented the Dale Earnhardt crash. Local Loudon had jurisdiction in the Adam Petty crash, although NASCAR failed to notify them.

The rest of the article is mindless fluff but that’s a necessary evil when you’re pumping out a column every few days.

Bill B
06/14/2013 07:19 AM

Why would cops make the decision as to who is at fault? All they do is write up the report, issue tickets or maintain order. In the end the judge makes the determination as to who is at fault and/or what restitution/punishment is necessary. So doesn’t that mean we should have judges and not cops at the track?

Sue Rarick
06/14/2013 07:34 AM

Originally the NJSP were there to oversee getting Jason out of the car as safely as possible (they do have the most experience with serious accidents. Then they always have to investigate any fatal accident.

Maybe your time would have been better spent writing about what a great competitor Jason was?

06/14/2013 10:50 AM

I NJ all motorsports are regulated by the state police. They are responsable for safety regs. As well as fatalities. As far as the rest of the article i would hope you look back & see that it was in poor taste & unprofessional at best. You should be embarrassed but i guess it passes for journalism on the internet. What a shame for us. RIP Lefturn.

Glen H.
06/14/2013 10:57 AM

Were you always an idiot or did that just come on recently?

Generally, the police investigate incidents in which there is a death. It’s their job to see if anything criminal happened.

06/14/2013 07:26 PM

you should do research before you write. It happened in NJ and the state police will investigate.

06/14/2013 09:04 PM

The picture of the Police Academy actors accompanying the article was in poor taste and damn funny.


Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
BSNews! Bruton’s Plans Extend Beyond Bristol’s Track
Top Ten Reasons Fans Failed To Show Up At Bristol Sunday
BSNews! NASCAR CEO Given "Special" Award Amidst Lavish Fanfare
Fan Coun-ci-What? Just What Is It That NASCAR Wants To Study?

Want to know more about Jeff Meyer or view his complete article archives? Then hop on over to his archive and bio page.