Today's cars are too safe 

September, 10, 2011

Driver X is a NASCAR star. This is his third column in a series of unfiltered looks into the lives of professional athletes.

I'M ABOUT TO SAY SOMETHING that's going to sound a little crazy. It's not going to be popular with some of my fellow drivers and especially not with the folks who run NASCAR, but a lot of racers are already thinking it, so here it is: These cars might be too safe.

Don't misunderstand -- I don't want us to go back to wearing T-shirts and blue jeans, being held in the car by one little lap belt. If anyone ever tried to take away my formfitted carbon fiber seat, I'd beat them with the wrench they brought to pry it out with. I truly appreciate all the safety measures implemented since Dale Earnhardt's death in 2001, like head and neck restraints, the SAFER "soft wall" barriers and the Car of Tomorrow and all of its tricked-out cockpit protection. But I'm afraid the same devices and rules that keep us from getting hurt are also creating an atmosphere where too many racers have lost too much perspective on the danger of what we do.