NASCAR took a big step forward in better protecting its drivers on Thursday, announcing all drivers would be required to undergo baseline neurological testing starting next season. Apparently not everyone is on board with the decision, though.
Brad Keselowski, who drives the No. 2 car for Penske Racing, is skeptical of the new policy, even questioning whether doctors have any place in the sport after his qualifying lap at Martinsville, Va., speedway on Friday.
“This is not the field for doctors. Let them play in their arena, and I’ll play in mine,” Keselowski said, per USA Today. “Doctors don’t understand our sport.”
Starting next season, all drivers in each of NASCAR’s three national series — the Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series — will be required to have tests before the season, which will measure verbal and visual memory as well as processing speed and reaction time. If they suffer a concussion, drivers will be required to undergo similar testing to determine health and when it might be safe to return to the track.
Keselowski seems to believe that doctors will be reluctant to clear drivers to return to racing, forcing them to miss extended time.
“They never have and they never will. Doctors aren’t risk takers. We are,” Keselowski said. “That’s what makes our sport what it is, and when you get doctors involved, you water down our sport. I’m trying to be open-minded to the possibility that they can help us, but past experience says no.”
Whether there are other drivers that hold Keselowski’s opinion, NASCAR is moving forward with the concussion testing.