There is no such thing as dull or dull days for those involved in drag racing, but that’s not always a good thing. Despite the success and popularity of “Street Outlaws” since its 2013 premiere on the Discovery Channel, the show has been constantly the subject of great controversy due to the dangerous nature of the street racer profession and the situations that have not only resulted in serious accidents. , putting many lives on the line, and the unfortunate passing of a cast member.
While there is no doubt that street racing is as extreme as it seems, the recent unfortunate events surrounding “Street Outlaws” have been enough to spark debate over the show’s future, safety issues, and the risks and consequences of racing . industry.
So how dangerous is street racing and how much of an influence has that had on “Street Outlaws”? Stay here to know!
The Death of Ryan Fellows
While it’s not uncommon for racers to risk their lives for their passion behind the wheel, there hasn’t been a single accident in the long history of “Street Outlaws” where an accident has been fatal for many seasons. That is until on August 7, 2022, racer Ryan Fellows was killed in a crash while filming an episode for the show’s “Fastest in America” spin-off.
A race reportedly took place early in the morning, after at least eight other races had taken place on a Las Vegas Boulevard street. Fellows’ Nissan 240z was not far from the finish line when he unfortunately lost control of the car, rolling down the track as the car caught fire and lost his life in the process despite the emergency team’s efforts to rescue it from the flames.
At the time of his death, Fellows was a 41-year-old family man, father of two teenage children, and husband of Liz. If described during the financing campaign started by his family, Ryan worked as a sales agent and was passionate about basketball and cars.
Nevada’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration launched an investigation about the accident which ended Fellows’ life, though results would not be ready until early 2023. It was also revealed by a Clark County officer that a required permit to film at the scene of the accident had not been obtained by the show.
‘Street Outlaws’ driver Ryan Fellows dies during crash footage for Discovery Channel’s Show in Vegas. #RyanFellows #StreetOutLaws #DiscoveryChannel. Watch the full story: https://t.co/abJvj60nDc pic.twitter.com/hWdgcp3JmJ
— Sean Musa Carter (@seanmusacarter) August 8, 2022
After Ryan’s death, trouble would soon come in the direction of “Street Outlaws”. As reported by TMZsued the family of Fellows “Street Outlaws” networks Discovery and Lions Gate Entertainment for negligence before and after the accident that killed Ryan.
As read in the report, some of the strongest allegations by the family included the “weathering” of the road he raced on the day of his accident, which they claimed was not 30 feet wide as required by safety regulations. but only 12 feet wide. Other descriptions of the roadway note broken tarmac, dust, and the lack of barriers, all of which they claimed were responsible for Ryan losing control of his car.
The family also claimed that the network and the people responsible for “Street Outlaws” decided not to take appropriate safety precautions, even though there had been several accidents at races hosted by the show before Ryan’s death: “(they) sat back, flipped on the lights and cameras, and waited for the next inevitable crash,” they wrote.
It’s unclear how much money Fellows’ family is asking for damages and whether the lawsuit will result in a pending case or be resolved out of court, but it’s clear the situation is complex.
The crash of Tricia Day
The same year that the terrible accident that killed Ryan Fellows took place, another terrible accident happened during the filming of “Street Bandits: America’s List”.
In April 2022, the Memphis team was filming on a La Villa roadway in southern Texas. While previous races that day had gone well so far, team leader JJ Da Boss and his wife Tricia Day were about to race each other in their respective blue and red Chevy II Novas. Just a second after both cars left the starting line, JJ’s Chevy caught fire, causing him to lose control and inevitably crash into Tricia’s car, sending it to the side of the road as it flipped over.
As shown on the show’s screen, the accident was horrific to say the least and everyone rushed to the crime scene to help the couple. For his part, JJ was able to get out of the car by himself and rushed to take care of Tricia, whose car was still partially in flames at the time.
JJ was treated for several burns that only delayed him a few days, while Tricia underwent hip surgery and a months-long recovery process, marking this wreck as one of the most serious in the show’s history.
Y’all keep praying￼ for JJ Da Boss and his wife Trish last night they were filming the List of America and they both crashed…
The crash of Robin Roberts
Not long after Ryan Fellows’ death, another horrible wreck on the show put a driver’s life in danger. This incident occurred in October 2022 during the filming of “Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings” on a Rockingham roadway in North Carolina.
Veteran driver Robin Roberts raced his 1968 Pontiac Firebird against Justin Swanstrom’s Lexus, but not long after the cars crossed the starting line, Roberts’ electric blue Firebird crashed into a wall.
While it’s unclear if Roberts’ car caught fire, the impact was enough to leave him unconscious. He was taken to the nearest hospital in Charlotte, from where he took the time to update his followers on his current situation as soon as he felt better: “I have some recovery time for 3 ribs, a major concussion and a collapsed lung,” he wrote on Instagramadding that he had no recollection of the accident when he woke up in the hospital, only finding out about the situation after his wife Melody told him.
In the following months, Roberts’ photos on social media showed that his recovery and repair of his car were progressing well. Nevertheless, even if Roberts’ accident wasn’t as bad as others on the show, it made it clear that wrecks still happened even after the tragedy of Ryan Fellows’ death.
Changes in the show and controversy
After the devastating death of Ryan Fellows, “Street Outlaws” apparently took certain measures to improve the safety of those involved in their “Fastest in America” spin-off.
Amid the Fellows family’s lawsuit against Discovery, TMZ revealed that after Ryan’s death, the show’s production moved the rest of the season’s races from street locations to a safety-compliant professional racetrack. While the importance of this move only pertains to the misconduct case against the network, it’s not the first time “Street Outlaws” have been called into question over their decisions.
In 2016, then-Tulsa Mayor Travis Yates warned of the dangers of the show’s choice of race locations and how it could affect citizens in years to come, should a fatal accident occur: “I will have to answer if we allow a show to come to our city, sanctioned, and glorify this activity,” he told Tulsa worldadding that complaints about illegal races had increased since the show started filming in the city, trying to follow the trend.
Whether these comments had any effect on “Street Outlaws” is unclear, but there’s no question that concerns about the safety of the show and its fallout are nothing new.
License Withdrawal Scandal
The rebellious, law-breaking ways of “Street Outlaws” have not only garnered a bit of backlash from the general public concerned about the dangers of their jobs, but also drawn disapproval from the racing industry itself.
In 2015, a letter sent by the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) to several “Street Outlaws” stars caused a stir, to say the least. In the letter, the association rejected the street racing activities in which the show took part, claiming that it put people at risk, and also highlighted how the lack of use of proper and safety measure approved racing facilities increased the dangers involved in participating. were exposed.
The letter pointed out how illegal racing violated the NHRA’s code of conduct and warned how the continuity of these activities could lead to the suspension or revocation of drivers’ racing licenses.
The “Street Outlaws” audience was not very receptive to NHRA’s complaints, and soon there was a massive backlash against the organization. Nevertheless, a year later at the NHRA Summer Nationals, “Street Outlaws” star Justin “Big Chief” Shearer admitted that the organization did a good job of making drivers’ lives safe: “It really opens your eyes to how much ( them), and how much can go wrong,” he said, as reported by Hot Rod News.
Will “Street Outlaws” Be Canceled?
To say that street racing is dangerous is an understatement, but this topic never worried the show’s audience until Ryan Fellows’ death and ensuing lawsuit.
That said, the series franchise hasn’t stopped airing new episodes since his death, even premiering the fourth season of “Fastest In America” in March 2023, while making sure to get all the footage of Ryan out. stayed.
While it’s not rare to see the future of the show questioned, given the nature of the lawsuit facing Discovery, there are still no signs that it will have any negative consequences for “Street Outlaws”. While the success of the series is a very likely guarantee that the show won’t end anytime soon, further security measures will likely be put in place to prevent future tragedies.
That said, whether the consequences of illegal street racing are license revocation or horrific accidents, or worse, the loss of life, one thing is certain: “Street Outlaws” has been sincere with its audience about these issues since its inception. .