Bubba Wallace had brake failure at Pocono Raceway on Sunday in a 200mph corner
On Sunday July 29, Bubba Wallace was involved in a horrific accident at Pocono Raceway. The brake pedal went to the floor at the end of the longest straight-away on an oval course in North America.
With brake rotor bits flying through the air, Bubba Wallace was heading for the wall at a high rate of speed. He turned left, a decision the driver himself disagreed with.
Wallace jumped through the grass, then began heading directly toward the outside wall in turn 1. Luckily, the car jumped sideways. But, he still made heavy impact with the outside wall.
Bubba Wallace jumped out of the car and took a seat on the race track to catch his breath before climbing into the ambulance. The #43 Richard Petty Motorsports driver was medically cleared moments later at the infield care center.
“Hardest one of my career. There’s no feeling like being helpless in that situation going off into turn 1. It scared the hell out of me. I didn’t know if I was going to remember if I hit or not,” Bubba Wallace comments moments after the crash.
“We’re good. I banged my foot off the pedal. We’ll wake up tomorrow and be a little sore. But, I’m ok.”
NASCAR comments on the Bubba Wallace crash at Pocono
“The safety team took a good look at the car at the track. I’m not sure if they decided to bring it to the R&D Center or not,” NASCAR SVP of Competition, Scott Miller explained on ‘The Morning Drive’ via Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
“But, one thing that’s interesting this time around is we have initiated use of a high speed camera. To sort of, further investigate the big hits. So, they could potentially lead to more safety initiatives.”
“That car had one in it. This will be the first time that we’ve had a big crash with this new analysis of the crash. I know the team’s interested in seeing that and seeing if there’s any learnings from it.”
“It was obviously a very big hit. Waiting for that window net to come down. Thank goodness, he was fine. A little shaken but got released from the infield care center pretty quickly.”
“All of the initiatives that have been put in place over the years… Safety of the cars, the seats, safer barriers are really paying dividends in situations like that.”
High speed camera
There was a new rule put into place for 2018. NASCAR now requires the cockpit of the race car to be equipped with a high speed camera. That allows the sanctioning body to study the movement of a driver in a huge crash like the one at Pocono.
Furthermore, that added data point allows them to recreate the crash in a testing environment. Tests like that help to further improve the safety of these stock cars.
“It’s something new. There’s a place where the teams have to mount it and have to point the camera,” Miller stated.
“It is solely to look at the driver and be able to analyze what happens in a crash like that.”
John Patalak leads the NASCAR safety initiative team back at the NASCAR R&D Center. He led the push for the cameras.
“The one thing about that team is they kinda never stop. That’s why John Patalak pushed to initiate this camera. Just so the learnings could be more.”
“They are always looking for new and better safety things to implement. I’m certain they do get a good feeling when the work that they’ve done helps protect somebody.”
What do you do with the black box in the race car?
“That was the first step in us understand what events took place. That recorder has been around for a number of years. That was the first bit of data we collected, we still do.”
“The [race] team that was involved in the crash can also request the data. It has helped recreate representative tests for the dummies and the sleds.”
“It really kinda helped to set the baseline of what we need to be looking at. Now, with the camera. It’s like another piece of the puzzle. Those guys are really onto something and have done great work over the years.”
Related: Pocono Race Results: July 29, 2018
Related: Master list of new 2018 NASCAR rules