Ryan Blaney drove nose first into a concrete wall at Nashville Superspeedway
In 2002, Indianapolis Motor Speedway became the first track to install safer barriers. The steel wall with foam inserts is placed directly in front of the traditional concrete wall.
The new safer wall drastically reduces impacts. The foam is designed to crush and adsorb the impact.
Yet, in 2023, we’re still finding concrete walls to hit. While it’s rare, it does happen.
Watch the Ryan Blaney crash video below.
On Sunday, NASCAR raced at Nashville Superspeedway. On a restart, Brad Keselowski suffered an issue while launching for the second row. That caused the field to stack up behind him.
Kyle Busch spun and he collected Ryan Blaney. The No. 12 car spun sideways through the infield grass. The driver was unable to get the car pointed in the correct direction.
Instead, it drove nose first into a concrete wall.
The driver climbed from his machine and took a seat on the ground. He was then taken to the infield care center and released fairly quickly.
NASCAR has since taken responsibility. They’ve noted their reviewing the incident as well as all of their tracks after the incident.
Ryan Blaney comments after the crash
“Yeah, I feel better now,” Ryan Blaney told NBC Sports after exiting the infield care center.
“It’s a shame, ending our night early. I thought we actually, finally got decent air at the start of the second stage.”
“I don’t really know what happened. Someone checked up on the restart I guess. I kind of checked up, got hit from behind. I didn’t know if they were wrecking, and I just couldn’t get it straightened out.”
“When I got out of the grass, I thought I was going to come back around, and that I’d be ok. Just never got back right.”
“I don’t know why there’s no safer barrier there. That’s pretty ridiculous, honestly. Hardest hit I’ve ever had in my life. Happy to be all right, but it sucks for the Pennzoil Ford Mustang. Stinks to go home early.”
Blaney added, “I honestly thought I was going to be fine. I really thought I was going to be ok once I got past the grass, back on the asphalt. I thought I could kind of swing back around when I got off the brake. Just never did. It was just at that weird angle. I thought I could get back on the straight until the last second — just never came back.”
NASCAR reacts to the crash
“NASCAR safety engineers work closely with safety experts on the implementation of barriers around the track. As we do following every race weekend, we will evaluate all available data and make any necessary improvements,” NASCAR said in a statement.
Elton Sawyer says it’s unacceptable
“I echo Ryan’s thoughts, it’s unexceptable,” Elton Sawyer stated on ‘The Morning Driver’ via Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
“Why it wasn’t protected, I don’t have a great answer for you.”
“There’s some areas that are not positions around the facilities where it’s conclusive to put safer barriers. What I’m sold is you need a 100 foot span to put safer barriers.”
“This is less than that. With that being said, there’s other options. Whether it be sand barrels, tire barriers, something should have been there.”
“We are taking a deeper dive into that today. To look and see exactly what happened and take the steps, not only at Nashville but all of our venues to make sure we’re checking all the boxes in those areas.”
“Safety isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. … Motorsports is inherently a dangerous sport but we still have to do everything in our power to make sure our athletes that put out there to put on a great show for our fans are as safe as possible.”