It was like something out of a movie
“I’m just happy I’m alive,” Joey Logano said after a terrifying crash during the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday.
Logano was running in third place at the end of the race’s first stage when his car was sent flying in the air. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. bumped Denny Hamlin, who made contact with the rear of Logano’s No. 22 and sent Logano spinning. The car went airborne and was upside down when it flew right over Bubba Wallace’s No. 23.
The view from inside Wallace’s car is like something out of a movie. All of a sudden, Logano’s inverted car emerges from a cloud of dust and Wallace narrowly avoids creaming him. You can hear the scrape as Logano’s car slides over top of Wallace’s.
Logano’s car eventually came to rest upright on the infield grass and he reported over the radio that he wasn’t hurt. Wallace came over the radio to say that his shorts had come out of the collision in worse shape than the car.
Logano said later that, while he was grateful to have escaped the wreck unharmed, he thinks NASCAR needs to do something about the conditions that lead to big pile-ups. His issue is with the style of racing at NASCAR’s two superspeedways—Talladega and Daytona—where the cars are fitted with speed-reduction devices (formerly the restrictor plate, currently the tapered spacer). Speeds were reduced as a safety measure following Bobby Allison’s crash at Talladega in 1987 where his car flew into the grandstand, but the slower speeds (topping out at about 200 mph) create different safety issues. Because drivers are unable to pull away, the cars clump together in large packs. That makes collisions more common and leads to chain reactions that can wipe out large numbers of cars.
“I don’t know what to think,” Logano said. “It’s a product of this racing, and on the one hand, I’m so proud to drive a Cup car that is safe that can go through a crash like that, and [I] can get out and speak about it. On the one hand, I’m mad about being in the crash, and on the other hand, I’m just happy I’m alive. On another hand I think, when are we going to stop? Because this is dangerous doing what we’re doing. I’ve got a roll bar on my head. That’s not OK.
“I’m one hit away from the same situation Ryan Newman was in (last year in the Daytona 500). I just don’t think that’s acceptable. A lot of it’s due to this big spoiler and big runs, the pushing, and all that. It’s no one’s fault; Denny’s trying to go, and the 47’s (Stenhouse) trying to go. It’s a product of this racing. We have to fix it, though, because someone already got hurt, and we’re still doing it. So, that’s not real smart.
“But at the same time, I’m appreciative of driving a car that’s this safe and appreciate what Team Penske’s done for the safety of these cars as well, that I can live to talk about it and go again. I got lucky I didn’t get hit while I was in the air. Unfortunate for our AutoTrader Mustang, but we’ll go on.”
Logano is fortunate that he wasn’t struck by another car while floating through the air. Wallace and Chase Briscoe, who was running at the back of the pack, deserve credit for being able to swerve around Logano and avoid putting him in even more danger.
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