The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


June 21, 2013

Shawn Wood's column on motorsports: Cheap shots and innuendos

The headline on the New York Times web site read, 'Danger Lurks At Dirt Tracks.'

The USA Today's headline read 'Lower circuits bring higher risks.'

These are just two samples as to how mainstream media threw dirt-track racing under the bus and kicked us when we were down following last Wednesday's tragic death of NASCAR driver and open-wheel standout Jason Leffler, 37, at the Bridgeport Speedway in a 410 sprint car heat race.

The only reason these articles even appeared in the paper is that Leffler was a NASCAR driver.

If it was a local racer who was killed, outside of the coverage by the local papers and the racing papers, there would be no mention of it by the mainstream media.

Each article gave us more than a black eye; it portrayed all of us to be a bunch of idiots who with reckless abandonment watch cars go around in circles every weekend.

The sad part here is that a 5-year-old is without a father who loved him so dearly, that he named him Charlie Dean; Charlie after Jason's father and legendary west coast non-wing sprint car driver Dean Thompson.

That's love no one can define.

The only follow-up articles we might see will come once the investigation is completed by The New Jersey State Police.

Thankfully, NASCAR champion and current owner of Eldora Speedway, Tony Stewart, stepped up and told the media what he thought about their attacks on our sport.

There was the reference that safety measures -- such as the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) Barrier which employed at NASCAR and IndyCar tracks -- are not at dirt track because owners cannot afford 'state-of-the-art' safety equipment.

Well, there's a reason they don't have them at the dirt tracks: they don't exist.

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