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Head2Head: Limits on what drivers can do on off weekends?

July 27, 2011, , NASCAR.com

Kasey Kahne didn't go on vacation like so many other Cup drivers on the final off weekend for the Cup Series. Kahne went racing at Williams Grove Speedway in his self-owned sprint car. He didn't finish the race ... instead he finished outside the track after getting airborne, soaring over the track wall, and flipping numerous times before coming to a halt.

Should teams place limits on what drivers can do on off weekends?

YES NO

If you haven't seen it, look it up. The crash of Kasey Kahne's winged sprint car, which flipped over the wall at Pennsylvania's Williams Grove Speedway and landed a reported 30 feet outside the track, will make you thankful the driver walked away. And it will make you realize it's time NASCAR teams placed some limits on exactly where their highly-paid stars compete during off weekends.

Hey, we get it -- racing carries a certain degree of risk no matter where it's done, and Kahne was just getting back to his roots by racing the sprint car. But well-compensated athletes in many other sports often have contractual restrictions on their off-time activities -- no skiing, motorcycle riding, skydiving and the like -- which make total sense given the investment their owners have in them. NASCAR owners should look into the same. Think Rick Hendrick didn't swallow hard when he saw his future driver go airborne in that sprint car?

Yes, these guys are racers, and that's what they do. But in terms of safety standards, there's a big difference between moonlighting in the Nationwide tour on a major sanctioned track, and competing at a dirt track or a local facility where there's no SAFER barrier and less medical support. We're not saying keep these guys locked up and don't let them do anything. But given the investments involved, owners have the right to limit their drivers' racing activities to something where they're a little less likely to flip over a fence.

David Caraviello, NASCAR.COM

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

After what happened to Kasey Kahne this past weekend in his Sprint Car, I understand the knee-jerk reaction for team owners to put limits on their investments ... but come on, how much can we take away from these drivers?

The NASCAR season is the longest of all professional sports -- from mid-February to late-November. Drivers have sponsor requirements, meetings, and other obligations mid-week, and then they are on the road and at the track from Thursday to Monday. There is no off time -- except for three weekends a year, when drivers and their teams step away, albeit briefly, from the day-to-day grind.

Kahne's accident was scary, no question, and he could have been seriously injured. But there is no way Red Bull Racing can tell Kahne to not race for his own race team because he might get hurt. He could get just as injured racing in the Nationwide or Truck Series, but that doesn't seem to bother owners. Does this mean Kyle Busch shouldn't be allowed to drive his own KBM truck? Can you imagine if Michael Waltrip told Travis Pastrana no more motorcycles? Say goodbye to the Prelude at Eldora.

I understand drivers are an investment, but owners can not control them 24/7 -- Denny Hamlin's knee injury was proof of that. Life happens. These drivers are in business mode so often, when they aren't, let them be who they are -- they deserve that much.

Bill Kimm, NASCAR.COM

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

The crash was scary and could have been disastrous for Kahne, but the driver was able to walk away uninjured. But others haven't been as fortunate. So is it time for owners to take more control of what their drivers do during their off time? David Caraviello and Bill Kimm disagree on this vehemently. Read their arguments and weigh in with your own in the comments below. And don't forget to vote for who you agree with more in the poll at the right.

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