When you think of NASCAR, you likely think of the Sprint Cup version of NASCAR: colorfully painted cars, drivers with names like our own Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmy Johnson, and their highly-decorated driving suits, with nearly every square inch covered by some sponsor’s ad; race tracks with names like Daytona and Talladega.
But NASCAR has other “divisions”, and one of them is called the Nationwide Series. If I call it the “minor league” of NASCAR, a lot of fans and drivers will be mad at me, but that’s essentially what it is.
For the first time ever, the NASCAR Nationwide Series is running a race at Road America near Elkhart Lake. Qualifying starts today and the racing continues through Sunday. Because it’s a very competitive league, and it’s a very tricky course with twists and turns and hills and valleys, the potential for crashes is high.
The NASCAR folks have requested UW-Hospital’s Med Flight to be at the track and ready to go, just in case. And Med Flight is sending one of its two medical helicopters and nine crew members to the race track, to keep an eye on some of the fastest drivers in America.
The NASCAR and Road America folks paved a special landing zone at the track to accommodate take-offs and landings in case a driver is seriously injured in a wreck.
Med Flight program director Dan Williams says NASCAR is paying all costs associated with this assignment, and assures that it won’t compromise emergency air medical service to the Dane County region.
Williams says it’s an honor to be chosen from among all the air medical services in the upper Midwest for the NASCAR assignment. He says it’s a credit to the Med Flight physicians, nurses, and pilots, and the high quality emergency care they provide.