Is Car Racing Safe?
HALLSVILLE - KOMU caught up with a racing family to get their thoughts on car racing safety following a major accident on August 19, 2012 where five people were injured at the State Fair.
The wreck happened during a police charity race where a police officer lost control of his car and injured five spectators who were in the infield.
In a separate incident that same night a 15-year-old driver was also injured.
With nine years and about 300 races under his belt, Jon Melloway competed at Sedalia that Sunday.
"That's just so rare I've never seen it happen before. And it was partially due to the race that was going on, the drivers that were racing in the cops race, the Battle of the Badges, a lot of them haven't been on dirt tracks before," Melloway said.
But a comment left on KOMU's Webpage says, "It could have been anybody behind that wheel. Cops are people just like us."
KOMU contacted the police officer involved in the crash, but he said he could not talk about it. KOMU also tried to talk to everyone that was injured. Two people declined to talk, while KOMU could not contact a few others. One man who suffered a minior injury said that he felt the accident was a fluke and that he would feel safe attending another race. And Melloway agrees and feels safe racing on the track.
"There's always a danger. Always. You could get in a bad accident and not walk away from it, but I feel confident in the cars that we're in, we've done everything that we can to be as safe as we can in them that I feel if a bad accident does occur I'm going to be able to walk away from it," Melloway said.
Melloway said minor accidents happen all the time, but major accidents are rare because the cars are getting safer each year.
Beyond car accidents the young age that teens race at can be a concern. One person commented on KOMU's Facebook page, "A 15-year-old should not be driving a car like that." But most people that commented had no problem with a 15-year-old driver. And Melloway feels the same way.
"They're looking at the big picture of trying to make their kids big where they can make it in Nascar and they figure the younger they start them out the better shot they have," Melloway said.
Jon Melloway's brother David also races. And so does his father Chuch. And dad is happy that racing runs in the family.
"People come up to me all the time. Aren't you scared them kids racing and like I told you if I was scared that they were going to get hurt they wouldn't be racing," Chuck Melloway said.