CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Joey Logano said NASCAR can learn something from the near-fatal accident involving IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe this week and the importance of having a regular safety crew at each race.
Hinchcliffe’s left leg was pierced by a piece of his car’s suspension during practice Monday for the Indianapolis 500. The fast action of the series-hired safety team helped extract Hinchcliffe before he suffered catastrophic blood loss.
“They basically saved his life,” Logano said.
He suggested NASCAR look at what IndyCar did “and try to improve our sport.”
IndyCar has a travel safety team of more than 30 people, with at least 18 at each race, according to its website.
NASCAR has an emergency response plan in place, too, but uses different staffs at each track. It does have a traveling medical staff primarily of nurses, who have access to drivers’ medical histories.
But Logano and six-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson agree that having a group of emergency medical responders familiar with the construction of a stock car might help in situations when every second matters.
“I think it matters for sure,” Logano said. “All it takes is one time for something like that to be worth it.”
Drivers met with NASCAR about the idea of having a consistent group of emergency staffers following an accident involving Kyle Busch earlier this year when he broke his right leg and left foot at Daytona International Speedway.
“NASCAR is adamant that having true (emergency room) folks that every single day fight in an ER room to have people’s lives are the best people to have in place here on a weekend for us,” Johnson said. “In my heart I feel like there is maybe a hybrid version where, yes, we have those EMT’s here, but then we also have people that are very sharp and NASCAR specific, car specific, know the drivers and know our cockpit.”
Defending Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick said he’s also been in meetings with NASCAR about those safety concerns.
He said when he learned about the process NASCAR has for emergency responders, he felt more assured.
“Once they explain the process and how the doctors were chosen was definitely kind of eye-opening as to how much money and time was spent to make sure they had the right people at every race track,” Harvick said. “Some of the people have been a part of the (NASCAR) community for a long time. I don’t think anybody is saying that it can’t always be better. But I feel pretty confident in what the process is and the medical staff that we have at the tracks.”
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