Andrew Martin reports that Jonathan Gaudreau, an off-road and professional off-road race car driver, has been suspended and is under investigation after a spectator videotaped him running over the head of a competitor at the KGP Kagin’s Beargrease Race near Wasilla, Alaska.
According to Martin, video from the incident shows Gaudreau ramming the opponent’s head with his back door. Martin writes that “goggles were falling off his face.”
According to Martin, Martin “threatened [the aggressor] several times.” The incident is also highlighted in a third-party dashboard camera video, also from the race, that was posted by ESPN.
The story quickly gained traction on the web Friday and Saturday. It is highly entertaining, but also disturbing for many reasons. It shows a combination of elements of why folks both love to watch car racing and despise it—exhaustive speed, which forces the driver to react quickly and unpredictably, and the way this translates into physical, emotional and psychological abuse of drivers who attempt to survive against bigger and faster competitors.
Given the contentious nature of the debate over the safety of the sport—and its propensity to attract skeptics—you’d think that everyone would be delighted to have a chance to see a racing driver run over a competitor’s head at 210 mph.
Gaudreau is unlikely to escape with a suspension that would prevent him from competing in the Jim Beam Ketchikan Race on the AK Highway.