NASCAR driver says he’s never felt more unsafe in his entire racing career
On Sunday, the NASCAR Cup Series visited Circuit of the Americas for the first time. In their debut at the Texas road course, the drivers also made a rare appearance on a wet racing surface.
Watch the video of the Kevin Havick crash below.
These stock car racing drivers and the cars both have very little rare experience with rain racing. Per the NASCAR rule book, the series only runs in the rain on road courses.
In stage two, the rain was rolling in harder. Puddles were beginning to form on the race track and dangerous scenario was brewing.
Rain tires were reaching their limits through the puddled. Additionally, spray from rain tires were making it extremely difficult to see.
Crash One: It started with a crash in stage two, Ryan Blaney slowed due to limited visibility as he approached a breaking point. Christopher Bell then drove right into the back of him as rain only allowed a few feet of viewing.
Behind that, Harvick’s spotter alerted him that a crash was unfolding ahead of him. As Harvick let off the gas, Bubba Wallace drove right into the back of the No. 4 machine. Harvick was lifted completely off the ground and forced to an early exit from the event.
Crash Two: On the following restart, things got worse. Michael McDowell slowed as he struggled with limited visibility while approaching a corner. Soon after, Martin Truex Jr drove right into the back of him.
As Truex’s damaged machine rolled down the race track, more cars were coming. Cole Custer drove right into the back of him, lifted his car off the ground and they both found the wall.
NASCAR red flagged the race. The brought out equipment to dry the race track and remove the puddles. The race then resumed without another major issue.
Kevin Harvick comments after the crash
“It’s the most unsafe thing I’ve ever done in a race car by a lot,” Kevin Harvick told NBC Sports
“You can’t see anything down the straightaways. These cars were not built to run in the rain, and when you can’t see, my spotter said, ‘Check up, check up,’ because he thought he saw two cars wrecking.
“I let off, and the guy behind me hit me wide-open because he never saw me. So it’s unbelievable that we’re out there doing what we’re doing because we’re in race cars that aren’t meant to do this, and if you can’t see going down the straightaway, it’s absolutely not safe, not even close.”
Harvick added, “We don’t have any business being out in the rain, period. So, you know, all I can say is this is the worst decision that we’ve ever made in our sport that I’ve been a part of, and I’ve never felt more unsafe in my whole racing career. Period.”
After the crash, Bubba Wallace was asked for comment but he declined.
Drivers comment on the second crash
In the crash that directly followed Harvick’s incident, Cole Custer drove directly into the back of Martin Truex Jr. It was a near carbon copy of the incident just a few laps prior.
Cole Custer stated, “It didn’t hurt as much as I thought it was going to be but it’s just you can’t see anything. It’s pretty bad. You can’t see a foot in front of your car. I was just rolling down the backstretch.
Custer concluded, “You can’t see anything by the time I got to Truex. Yeah, it just sucks. I’m just so frustrated about having our day end like this.”
All the drivers involved in both crashes had a similar story…
Truex stated, “The only way to describe it is you can’t see anything, so you’re just mashing the gas and going through the gears on the backstretch praying that nobody’s gonna be there. And all of a sudden, I seen the taillight flash, and I was already in through him. So it happens that fast, going that fast.
“And then my first thought was once I hit McDowell, just stay on the gas and try to keep going because I knew they were coming from behind. And literally, next thing I know, I get drilled.”
Truex concluded, “There’s just nothing you can do in those situations. Man, it’s dangerous.”