Monday, March 26, 2007

The NHRA Has Lost A Great Driver

R.I.P. Eric Medlen, 8/13/73 - 8/23/07

If you haven't heard it, NHRA's Eric Medlen passed away last week from injuries related to a practice session crash in Gainsville after the Gator Nationals.

From what I have seen, the car was in the left lane and blew out a right rear tire. The car then turned sharp right head on into the guard rail. Medlen was unconscious when the safety crews arrived at the car, and was taken to the hospital where doctors placed him on life support and discovered he had increasing pressure within his skull. They performed a surgery to alleviate the pressure, but when signs did not improve, the family went with his wishes not to sustain life support.

He passed away on Friday.

The drag racing community has lost a great man. All of John Force Racing was affected, with John Force saying, "Eric Medlen was the son I never had. He was the leader of my next generation of drivers. Robert Hight, my daughter Ashley, and I were with the family throughout this very difficult time. This loss is a huge blow not only to the Medlen family, but to drag racing and to John Force Racing."

The NHRA has already implemented the HANS device, but when you're going that fast, hitting a concrete wall even with safety equipment is going to cause severe injuries There's discussion about using the SAFER barriers, as in NASCAR, but there's only so much you can improve the safety of the track at those speeds.