15-year-old stock car driver Taylor Grey has raised quite a stir on social media after posting a Snapchat video of him using one hand to film himself while cruising around the Daytona International Speedway at full blast. So, here’s your regular reminder: filming yourself racing at speed is always a bad idea, but especially when you’re a young racing driver trying to make it up the ranks.
Grey grew up in a fast family that competed in NHRA drag racing events, so it makes sense that we’re seeing him competing in the ARCA Menards racing series at such a young age.
Unfortunately, Grey’s name is now connected to a fairly unfortunate video while in the process of applying for a full racing licence to run high-powered stock cars.
Hey @TaylorGray17_ I'm pretty sure when your going for a @ARCA_Racing license this isn't the proper play chief. @dgr_racing @NASCAR
#ARCAMenards @GeoffBodine1 pic.twitter.com/zoA9cB1G0W
— cameron davidson (@MyNameisBigCam) January 16, 2021
The video appears to show Grey filming the road in front of him as he races at about 274 km/h. He turns the camera back on himself before filming the track again as he enters a banked corner.
Race fans on the internet have had some strong reactions to the video. On the one hand, Grey has been subject to critiques for his risky behaviour (and for posting his video on Snapchat of all places). On the other, some folks argue that there’s very limited danger in driving one-handed in a stock car; he is, after all, on a track lined with SAFER barriers and is protected by his HANS device.
But when it comes down to it, it’s not a great look for a young driver trying to get a leg up in the stock car racing world. Racing is a lot safer than it used to be, but you still don’t want anyone engaging in unnecessarily risky driving because there’s still an opportunity to put yourself, your career, and the track workers in danger.
While some folks are also arguing that Grey is too young to really grasp the consequences of his actions, this is still an opportunity to learn — and an opportunity to think in-depth about the fact that teens who can’t hold a driving licence can race at high speeds.
The only other example of a driver being punished for using a phone in his car is that of Santino Ferrucci, who intentionally crashed into his own teammate before operating his mobile phone at the end of a Formula 2 race. He was barred from competing in the series — but these two situations are a bit different, so it can be hard to compare them on an equal basis.
Next time, Grey, invest in a GoPro and strap it to your car. It’s a hell of a lot safer, the videos you record will be of much higher quality, and people will be sharing your name in a more positive light.