Home Sport Kyle Larson’s Near-Death Experience Involving Tony Stewart’s Racing Sensation Forces NASCAR’s Hand

Kyle Larson’s Near-Death Experience Involving Tony Stewart’s Racing Sensation Forces NASCAR’s Hand

by News7

The world of motorsports can never forget the horrifying incident that happened in Daytona back in 2001. The final lap tragedy resulted in the demise of one of the biggest legends of the sport and raised the burning question of safety. Are NASCAR races really safe? Is there nothing that can further be done to ensure the safety of the drivers? 

More than two decades have passed since then. Technology has evolved by leaps and bounds and engineering has transformed the sport. From the introduction of stringent safety protocols to head and neck support, NASCAR has tried and incorporated all the possible safety measures in order to curb any casualty on the tracks.

But this year’s race at the Talladega Superspeedway seems to have brought back the harrowing nightmare from 2001 as Hendrick Motorsports speedster Kyle Larson was T-boned by Stewart-Haas Racing’s Ryan Preece at 130 mph. Thankfully, the point of contact was at the passenger side of the car, but it could just as easily have been at the driver’s side. This incident again raised whether safety can be further enhanced and it seems there is finally an affirmative answer to it.


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NASCAR reveals the new developments regarding the safety of the Next Gen cars after the Kyle Larson incidentOnly a month and a half have passed since the dreadful accident occurred on the tracks of Talladega Superspeedway. But thanks to his lucky stars, Kyle Larson escaped the incident without significant injuries. The inception of the incident can be traced to the overtime restart. With just two laps to go, #42 Noah Gragson and #12 Ryan Blaney were leading the pack. Ross Chastain tried to enter the center but eventually made contact with the #42 Chevy. This started a domino effect. As Gragson spun to the outside wall, he made contact with Kyle Larson, who spun toward the inside before drifting back into the track and becoming a sitting duck for the oncoming traffic. 

In the commotion that followed, zig-zag through and crashed perpendicularly into the #5 Chevy. He hit the passenger side of the car and the impact led to the support beams of the cars getting twisted or broken. The #5 car was mangled and was beyond repair, while Ryan Preece’s Ford also sustained severe damages in the front end. 

Nevertheless, both the cars were sent to the R&D Centre of NASCAR for further evaluation and whether there was any scope for development in the safety developments of the car. And it seems there finally is, as NASCAR posted a video of it on Twitter. 

In the steps toward development, Dr. John Patalak of NASCAR gave a detailed overview of the new design. He revealed, “So we took the cars apart, slowly started from the outside working our way in to see what effect does the crash had on the chassis, how they performed. And we also have a lot of data that comes out of our cars, we have crash data, we have GPS and telemetry data. And we looked all of that to reconstruct, to come up with the offset, the speed the angle so that we could learn more and test solutions for improvements.”

The right sidebars which had received the highest impact now have additional steel plates along with the removal of the V-brace from the front clip of the car. It also now includes an empty ballast box and modified cross-brace.

NASCAR announces significant safety updates to the Next Gen car following the crash involving the Nos. 5 and 41 cars at Talladega.

These changes are set to debut at Atlanta Motor Speedway. pic.twitter.com/bPoOGMRSGb

— NASCAR (@NASCAR) June 8, 2023

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The governing body gives a detailed description and the developments of the carNASCAR disclosed further improvements that were introduced in the cars. Dr. Patalak stated, “We’ve taken a lot of the steel structural members and removed material from key elements to make this structure less stiff.

“We have slots on both sides, we have deleted some cross members between the upright mounts and we’ve treated some of the areas down low that are some of the first to contact the wall on the front clip. We’ve also added slots to this ballast container as well as some holes, and it’s all an effort to increase the amount of displacement we’re getting out of the car and to reduce the accelerations that the driver is experiencing.”

He then added, “So, you have one clip and it’s got to live at Bristol and Dover and curb jumping at road courses and the wheel-to-wheel contact that happens every weekend. NASCAR and Dallara needed to make sure that the structure of the car was strong enough to not bend during all of those things. … That presents a challenge to crash defamation that we want to occur for the safety of the drivers.


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“There’s always a balance in all of that. So, after we got a year of data under our belt, NASCAR and Dallara could really go back with wheel-force data, and tire-test data, and our teams are a huge resource giving us data that they get to really understand what are the true loads going through the front clip. And after we got that data, after a year of racing, we were able to go back and make our simulations better.”


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These newly developed Next Gen cars are set to roll out in Atlanta. It is to be seen how sturdy these new cars would be. And whether it would be able to ward off hazardous impacts on the cars as well as the drivers. 

Source : EssentiallySports

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