Starting at this years Daytona 500, NASCAR officials are relaxing a few rules in the garage area at all of their major tracks.
NASCAR is become more kid-friendly by allowing children into the garage on race days. The new policy will allow adults with approved credentials (mainly NASCAR hard cards) to bring their children into garages during the pre-race period on race days. There is no minimum age requirement meaning infants, toldlers and pre-teens with a special credential will be allowed in the garage area.
Is this a good idea?
I'm on the fence with this one.
At first glance I thought this was a horrible idea. I've been covering NASCAR events for 18 years and at times the garage area can get down right crazy. Crews making last minute changes and alterations to very powerful and extremely loud racecars. Cars zooming in and out of stalls. I have witnessed many near misses of cars taking out fans in the garage area.
A few years back NASCAR implemented "hot" and "cold" garage passes. Only certain team members and members of the media were issued "hot" passes allowing them to remain in the garage area during critical pre-race times. It cleared out the garage area when most accidents would likely occur. So, allowing children into the garage area during this time seemed like a step backwards.
After further thought... I realized that most people who obtain "NASCAR hard cards" are people very in-tune with race tracks and the sport of NASCAR. These are drivers, drivers' wives, car owners, etc. They, probably more than most, know just how dangerous the area can be during pre-race activities and will likely be extra cautious guiding their children.
What do you think?
NASCAR also announced a relaxed dress code. NASCAR will for the first time allow shorts, open-toed shoes, sleeveless blouses and skirts and dresses in the garage.
I have spent many hot summer days running down drivers in the garage area wearing long pants or even jeans because of the "no shorts" rule. Personally I think this is a wonderful change.