It’s sad to hear of the passing of Derek Sanchez. Sanchez was a Super Gas driver and that in of itself should be something we as Nostalgia drag racers should consider. Just because we don’t go 300 mph in four seconds doesn’t mean that drag racing isn’t a deadly sport and that we don’t need all the safety equipment we can get our hands on.
Often we complain — me included — about the expense of racing and because the sportsman classes are not nearly as fast or quick as the professional or nitro cars, that somehow we don’t need to be as concerned about our welfare.
The reason I bring this up is that it’s been said that Sanchez was not wearing a HANS device. Honestly, I don’t know if that’s true or not. And to be frank, we don’t know if a HANS or similar safety equipment would have saved him. Regardless, I think it’s time we start taking this dangerous sport more seriously when it comes to safety.
I’m not saying that everyone needs to go out and buy the top-of-line stuff like the HANS Adjustable and Pro Ultra; still this accident and subsequent death five days later should give us pause and be an alarm along with making each one of us think about what we need to do to be safer. This isn’t the 1950s, so we don’t have to play Russian Roulette every time we set out on the drag strip for another burnout and race.
HANS devices can be purchased here or at any a sundry places in your town or on the internet. I realize there’s no perfect world and danger is inherent in motorsports, but look into racing safety and find out for yourself what’s truly needed to be adequately safe.
Derek Sanchez was 47 and from from Yuma, Arizona. He is survived by his father, mother, stepfather and sister (source: Yuma Sun).
Additional source: NHRA
Daryle W. Hier