Talladega is a breeding ground for scary crashes. Many times we see cars airborne (we saw it twice this past weekend in the Xfinity Series race) and extremely high speed impacts.
Sunday’s Cup race at NASCAR’s largest oval was relatively tame compared to Saturday’s Xfinity Series race, until close to the end when we saw a nasty impact between Ryan Preece and Kyle Larson.
Preece T-Boned Larson’s passenger side at an incredible rate of speed, an impact that Preece said was “P1” in terms of hits he has taken.
Ryan Preece said that hit was “P1” (first place) on his ranking of hard hits he has taken. pic.twitter.com/U8eHYZVB6f— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) April 24, 2023
Larson said he was fine, and extremely lucky nothing got to him inside the car.
Kyle Larson: “I’m really lucky nothing got me inside the car.” pic.twitter.com/uZIeUiPbLF— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) April 24, 2023
The broadcast, fans, and even NASCAR officials would take notice of the damage sustained by Larson’s car and how the roll cage bent into the car.
The broken door bars in Larson's car pic.twitter.com/JwJdYixBnc— nascarman (@nascarman_rr) April 23, 2023
This is obviously a cause for concern. The Next Gen has had its fair share of safety issues, as last year it was backing the car into the wall that was causing injuries like Kurt Busch and Alex Bowman incurred.
NASCAR asked Stewart Haas Racing for Preece’s 41 Ford mustang, with SHR obliging, to help analyze the damage done to Larson’s car.
NASCAR has asked, and received from SHR, the Ryan Preece car from yesterday. It will help them when analyzing the damage to the Kyle Larson car at the R&D Center.— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) April 24, 2023
While this was a scary crash, and many fans on Twitter took to asking what would have happened if Preece had hit Larson on the driver side with the roll cage bending the way it did, a fan on Reddit posted this explanation of the engineering of the roll cage. Read that thread here.
This was a scary crash for sure, and hopefully NASCAR is able to learn something to help improve the safety of the Next Gen car more.
They made strides in the offseason with the rear of the car and how it absorbs impact, so we should have confidence if there is a problem, they will come up with a solution.