Why Do Drivers Feel the Need to Race Through the Wreck?

Kelly CrandallSenior Writer IOctober 14, 2008

Warning: danger ahead, proceed with caution.

That's what we drivers may see on the highway when being warned of the activity ahead of us. In NASCAR, the drivers' spotter will tell them when the caution is out and where the track is blocked.

An accident in NASCAR causes lots of havoc, and when they happen they're usually pretty big, either in terms of cars involved or the repercussions of having an expensive car in pieces.

Plus, the one thing that will always be guaranteed is that someone will not be happy.

There's not a single weekend on the NASCAR tour that doesn't have an accident of some kind. It could be a single-car incident or one that started as one car and ended with an impromptu junkyard.

This past weekend in the Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, something occurred that seems to be turning into a trend.

There's the actual wreck that takes place and brings out the caution, then there's the follow-up wreck, which is when other drivers don't slow down and plow into the driver in front of them.

On lap 195, there was an accident on the front stretch when Tony Raines got squeezed, then made contact with the wall. Matt Kenseth had slowed down and was going by on the inside when Travis Kvapil slammed into him and sent Kenseth into the wall, done for the night.

Kvapil got out of the car and stormed away. Who knows what exactly he was upset about: the fact that he had a destroyed a race car or didn't slow down. He should have been mad at himself for making that mistake.

It was an accident that could have been avoided had Kvapil hit the brakes.

There's no need to go flying past; you aren't going to gain anything, the caution is out and the field is already frozen. Unless, of course, you're trying to win the All-State Good Hands of the Race award and are just trying to make it look pretty.

And this follow-up wreck happens time after time.

Think back to the Dover June race, when an accident between Elliott Sadler and Tony Stewart became a melee when drivers didn't slow down and kept piling on.

Denny Hamlin didn't help matters when he came flying off turn two, never hit the brakes, and T-boned another driver.

When a driver sees smoke and blinking caution lights, why are they pulling a Tom Cruise from Days of Thunder and punching the gas pedal and hoping for the best?

Haven't they heard you need to go slow in order to go fast?

It's a helpless feeling when you're a driver who has done your job of slowing down only to get an unexpected hit from behind.

When giving an interview and the driver says they got run over, they're not just trying to place blame somewhere else. They really did get run over.

They put brakes in the car for a reason, and it's time to start using them. Just ask Dale Earnhardt Jr. who last year in the Pepsi 400 was sent spinning through the grass when Reed Sorenson drilled Bobby Labonte, who then hit Earnhardt Jr.

Earnhardt Jr. had slowed down because Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin were wrecking ahead of him and had caused a smoke cloud.

Many will say that it's too hard to just stop and when the wreck is right in front of you, it's hard to miss. But the drivers further back have more time to react and most often they're choosing the wrong action.

That wrong action is causing many wrecks to be a lot worse then they actually are.