It’s not a secret that the NASCAR Cup Series has seen a dramatic spike in severe incidents on the superspeedway tracks, especially as the series has moved to an aero package with a taller rear spoiler.
In Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega, a bumpdraft gone wrong sent Joey Logano spinning entering turn three, with the No. 22 Ford Mustang eventually lifting into the air and landing hard on its roof, before turning around and rolling over on all four wheels.
Bubba Wallace and Chase Briscoe each made an insignificant amount of contact with Logano’s Ford Mustang, while William Byron – despite having no idea he flipped until after the race — came within inches of the flying No. 22 collecting his Chevrolet Camaro.
After the accident, Logano – who is known for being extremely aggressive in the series’ superspeedway events — was vocal about the safety of the series’ races at Daytona and Talladega:
"I'm one hit away from the same situation Ryan Newman just went through."- Joey Logano pic.twitter.com/3J9uDCc7u3
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) April 25, 2021
“I guess I don’t know exactly what to think, it’s a product of this racing,” Logano told FOX Sports’ Jamie Little after exiting the infield care center. “On one hand i’m so proud to drive a car that is safe, that I can go through a crash like that and speak about it. On one hand I’m mad about being in the crash, on the other hand I’m just happy I’m alive.”
For the NASCAR Cup Series, four of the last five races at Talladega have featured an accident in which a car went upside down or airborne. Joey Logano did so in Sunday’s race, while Kyle Larson, Brendan Gaughan and Kurt Busch have all done so in the last two years, but more importantly, were able to walk away.
However, an insane crash on the final lap of the 2020 Daytona 500 sent Ryan Newman into the outside wall and upside down in the tri-oval, before being hit by Corey LaJoie at full speed. Newman was knocked unconscious and suffered a bruised brain, miraculously surviving, returning to the racetrack in May of the same year.
“On the other 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 okay… I’m one hit away from being in the same situation that Ryan Newman just went through. I just don’t feel like that’s acceptable.”
With the concerns that were raised by Logano on Sunday, it feels as though it might be time to start looking for a better way to contest these superspeedway events, whether it be through speed reductions, aero package changes, car changes or more stricter driver policing.
“We’ve got to fix it though, someone already got hurt and we’re still doing it, so that’s not real smart.”