Being that I work for Baileigh Industrial, a metal working machinery distributer, it is only common to have race teams call up and ask about the latest equipment. You create many new friends through those phone calls in hopes of one day getting to meet up with them and share a beer or a laugh. And although you both know that they are partaking in one of the most dangerous vocations available, you think nothing bad will happen, these guys and gals make thousands of laps around a track with no incident and even when there is something that happens, they get out of their car and immediately tell you about it on TV. Maybe we are numb to the dangers, but it only takes one accident to bring it all back to perspective.
On Sunday October 16th, 2011 a couple of such accidents took place. The first being the crash that took the life of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon, when his car got caught up in a 15-car pileup, sailed over another vehicle and smashed into a catch fence at IndyCar’s season ending race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race was called and a five lap parade was help in his honor. A crash like this makes one remember that these drivers are human and that these drivers risk their life every time they strap into a car.
The second accident happened just a short time later, but it was not on the race track. Champion off-road racer Rick Huseman was killed in a plane crash near Barstow, California. Rick was a good friend and long time rival of Scott Douglas who drives for Baileigh Industrial in many of the same events as Rick. Rick has been racing 1997 and was the first PRO4X4 Traxxas TORC Series Championship in 2009, garnering six wins and 10 podium finishes. In 2010, Huseman won the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Pro-4 Championship. Once again this is a grim reminder of how precious life is and that it cannot be taken for granted.
What will we learn from both of these accidents? I am not sure but it will give us all a wakeup call to the reality of life and that every day we must strive to make it the best that we can. I am sure both Dan and Rick have done that.