NASCAR Cup: Matt Kenseth’s wreck at Auto Club Speedway concerns NASCAR
Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
NASCAR plans to work with Auto Club Speedway officials to see if changes can be made to the track’s inside retaining wall to improve safety after Matt Kenseth’s wreck in turn two during the Auto Club 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at the Fontana, Calif., track Sunday, according to a report from NBC Sports.
“I am okay, but I wouldn’t say I was okay as I was last week,” Kenseth reported to his team via radio communications immediately after his wreck.
Kenseth was comparing his wreck on Sunday to a wreck the previous weekend at Phoenix International Raceway where he hit a SAFER barrier because of a tire problem.
At ACS, after getting hit from behind by Martin Truex Jr. as the two drivers battled for a position inside the top-10 of the running order with 16 laps remaining in the 200-lap race, Kenseth’s No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota slid down the track, across another paved area and eventually hit SAFER barrier that lined the inside retaining wall.
“The No. 1 (Jamie McMurray) got outside of me, and I tried to leave enough room for him,” Kenseth told a FOX Sports TV reporter. “We were three-wide coming out of turn two, and I just got hit in the left-rear and got turned around.”
Kenseth avoided injury, but it was obvious when he climbed from the car that his breath was knocked out of him from the impact.
“We’ll download all the data, in this case from the incident data recorder. We’ll talk to Matt. We will inspect the car, for sure, with all of our safety engineers and kind of combine all that data and look at the angle and the speed and scrub and look at all that data to make sure that we have the best possible outcome,”
NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday. “One of the things you pointed out was the angle of the wall. It’s positioned that way for the safety equipment, but are there tweaks we can make? We’ve done that numerous times in terms of you see a crash that you never thought would happen and it kind of opens some eyes and say, ‘Okay, is there a better way to potentially angle this wall.’
“So, that is something we’ll work with the speedway and our safety engineers and the race team to look at. Thankful that everything worked out. There was a SAFER barrier. Matt got out and walked away, and as you guys said, you never want to see that angle, and if we can prevent that, we certainly will.”