Aspiring motorsports journalist, Boston University class of 2013. This is a collection of my work starting with the 2012 motorsports season. Feel free to follow me on Twitter and be sure to read my most popular pieces.
Adam Petty’s passing in 2000 inspired widespread tribute throughout the racing world and led to the establishment of a charitable camp for the benefit of terminally and chronically ill children. But on the 12th anniversary of his death in a practice crash in New Hampshire, NASCAR’s delayed embrace of major safety innovations still serves as a less-than-fitting tribute to a charismatic young man whose entire life revolved around racing.
Of course, we know now that Petty’s passing was just the start of an annus horribilis, the first of four deaths that were capped off with the stunning casualty of Dale Earnhardt from the same injury in the Daytona 500 the following February. It was also one of many accidents involving a stuck throttle during that season, a mechanical gremlin that permeated all three of NASCAR’s national touring series. 12 years removed, I’m not sure which is worse: the fact that a young life was cut short in its prime, or that we failed to honor his sacrifice by improving safety for other drivers until we lost three more lives.