Kevin Harvick’s fire-related DNF at Darlington during Sunday night’s Cookout Southern 500 marked the fifth time in recent months that a cockpit fire has impacted a NASCAR Cup Series race.
There have been no injuries, but drivers are increasingly angry and frustrated at the apparent lack of attention by NASCAR and its safety teams.
In the latest incidents, the Ford Mustangs of Harvick and backmarker J.J. Yeley caught fire during the 500-miler. Harvick’s fire was more serious because as a Playoff contender, everything he does is magnified. NBC-TV concentrated on his No. 4 Mustang as it made several fiery laps while green-flag pit stops cycled around. As the fire began to spread, he stopped on the apron and bailed out as safety crews arrived.
“What a disaster without a cause,” he told reporters later. “We didn’t touch the wall. We haven’t touched a car and here we are in the pits with a burning car…
The drivers are concerned for their safety. NASCAR doesn’t seem to be concerned about anything more than how their TV time gets featured on the news,