In NASCAR, crashes happen, and, thanks to some incredible safety innovations, drivers typically walk away unharmed. It was not always like this, however. In the early days of the sport, fatalities and injuries were commonplace. Unfortunately, that is often what it took for NASCAR to learn how to make these race cars safer.
With this in mind, NASCAR Reddit was asked which accidents were the most significant in the history of the sport. In other words, which accidents had the biggest impact.
In the Stands
ChaseTheFalcon looks at the Fireball Roberts crash in the World 600 which mandated firesuits and fuel cells
NoonecanknowMiner_24 says it is Dale Earnhardt easily.
individualunknown says that it is Bobby Allison’s 1987 Talladega crash.
Another user says that it is between Dale Earnhardt, Blaise Alexander, and the 1979 Daytona 500 final crash.
epzik8 says that it is McDowell’s flip at Texas that is the most impactful.
PancakesandV8s goes into detail about four different crashes they feel made big impacts.
SundayShelter took a similar approach to PancakesnadV8s, but included Ricky Rudd’s pit road incident at Altanta.
NeatCheap feels Ryan Newman’s 2020 Daytona crash is the one.
RyanO1308 believes the 1993 Rusty Wallace crash at Talladega is one, which implemented roof flaps.
Phalanx000 says it is Michael Waltrip’s crash into the crossover gate at Bristol.
cxm1060 says it is easily Dale Earnhardt’s crash at Daytona.
A whole list from Glitterins-Sand-6925
RJ Nieder added in Ricky Rudd’s incident at Homestead in 2001, which mandates helmets for pit crew.
AZtronics believes the intentional Clint Bowyer spin in 2013 was one.
Marsoupious looks at Kyle Busch’s broken leg crash at Daytona.
Character-Mobile4635 looks at Dale Jarret’s New Hampshire wreck which ended the concept of racing back to the line after a caution flag.
Pretty much every incident in NASCAR leads to some progression in terms of safety. Every crash has an impact in that regard, and NASCAR has put itself in a place where the cars are incredibly safe compared to where they once were. Sure the Next-Gen car definitely had its’ safety missteps, but it has not caused any fatalities as of yet.
All we can hope for is NASCAR continuing to develop as time goes on, and this incredible safety record continuing.