We get lulled into a false sense of security when things go well at the professional level of motorsports.
NASCAR drivers crash into cement walls at God-awful speeds and get out, wave to the crowd and walk away. Same with Indy and Formula One drivers. Remember Mark Webber’s high-as-a-kite flip in his Red Bull-Renault earlier this season?
But it’s at the secondary level that things happen every now and again to remind us that racing might be a lovely game but it’s still very much a deadly one.
A child was killed driving a go-kart at a rent-a-ride location near Kansas City. A Leamington motorcycle racer died of injuries suffered at the Indianapolis State Fairgrounds on the same weekend a 12-year-old motorcycle rider was killed while racing at the famed Indianapolis Speedway.
And now we’ve had a fatality at one of those “racing experience” amusements, in which people get a little bit of instruction and then are turned loose at a superspeedway to experience the thrill of driving a NASCAR-type stock car or an Indy car.
A California woman crashed a replica Indy car into a wall at the California Speedway in Fontana while taking part in the Mario Andretti Driving Experience.
The San Bernardino County coroner’s office says Ashley Phalen, 24, of Los Angeles lost control of the car, hit the wall and overturned. She died in hospital.
She was participating in what was described on andrettiracing.com as the “World’s Fastest Racing Experience.”
The website said people can drive a race car with 600 horsepower for eight minutes and go as fast as 160 mph.
Maybe they shouldn’t.