Racing fans were not talking about Dale Earnhardt Jr’s victory at the end of yesterday’s Coke Zero 400 in Daytona, rather it was the fact that Austin Dillon was able to walk away from this horrific crash that took over NASCAR headlines.
Five fans were treated at the site of the crash for non life-threatening injuries, with one being transported to a local hospital.
After miraculously escaping without major injury, Dillion talked about what the accident felt like and attributed the crash to dangerous racing conditions.
“It was very vicious,” Dillon said of the crash. “It’s twisting you around in there, and the belts are loosening with each hit, so the hits are getting more and more violent. By the fourth hit, you’ve separated enough so that the fourth one is going to hurt more than others. I held on to the steering wheel as hard as I could. I’m sure I’m going to find more bumps and bruises during the week, but right now I feel all right.”
“It’s not really acceptable, I don’t think,” Dillon told reporters after exiting the care center. “We’ve got to figure out something. Our speeds are too high, I think. I think everybody could get good racing with slower speeds. We can work at that, and then figure out a way to keep the cars on the ground. That’s the next thing. We’re fighting hard to make the racing good. I hope the fans appreciate that. We don’t, but it’s our job. You go out there and hold it wide open to the end and hope you make it through.”
Driver Ryan Newman was a little less politically correct with his response to the crash and what caused it.
“NASCAR got what they wanted. That’s the end of it,” he told USA TODAY Sports. “Cars getting airborne, unsafe drivers, same old stuff. They just don’t listen.”
When asked if he believed another crash like this would help spur more changes and safety improvements, especially at restrictor-plate tracks where speeds reach more than 200 mph and the chances of cars lifting is increased, Newman replied:
“No. They had an event in 2001 (when seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt Sr. was killed). They’ve had several events since then. They just don’t pay attention to safety. Simple as that.”
After watching the footage, it’s truly amazing that Dillon was able to walk away alive and if conditions aren’t safe for drivers or fans, it’s an issue that NASCAR must address.