Bubba Wallace joined a somewhat elite club Sunday at Pocono Raceway. A day after signing a contract extension with Richard Petty Motorsports, Wallace was involved in a frightening crash on lap 154 of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Gander Outdoors 400.
Running 22nd, Wallace lost the brakes on the No. 43 Chevy entering Turn 1.
“No brakes—oh (expletive)!” Wallace could be heard saying over his radio.
The car slid across the grass and shot up into the outside wall crashing hard into the SAFER barrier on the passenger side. After the crash, there were a few anxious moments before Wallace lowered his window net, a sign to safety workers that he was awake.
After being assisted out of the mangled machine Wallace took a moment to collect himself then sat down on the asphalt before being helped up and into a waiting ambulance for the trip to the infield car center.
“That was a huge hit,” Wallace said after being cleared at the infield care center. “Hardest one of my career. I was just telling them here there is no feeling like being helpless in that situation going off into Turn 1 and it scared the hell out of me. I didn’t know if I was going to remember if I hit or not, so we are good.”
“Bit my cheek, banged my foot off the pedal. I’m OK, though,” he added. “I’ll wake up tomorrow and be a little sore, but the safety has come a long way. It’s good to be able to climb out of the car. The EMT’s were worried that I didn’t let the window net down fast enough, and I was like ‘Hell, that was the last thing I thought about—I’m sorry.’”
“The lap before I was holding off Aric (Almirola) going into (Turn) 1 and the pedal went to the floor so I went to the bottom,” he said of the crash. “Your natural instinct is to try to use up all the track when that happens. So, it went to the floor, pump it up, get through the Tunnel (Turn) and through (Turn) 3 and then down into (Turn) 1 I started pumping it right past start/finish line and it blew. I should have hooked a right into the fence and stayed up there to use that to slow me down, but I’m used to turning left and there she went through the grass. “
The crash mirrored two others that happened in the same turn in the last few years; Jeff Gordon in 2006 and Jimmie Johnson last June. Both drivers crashed in the same spot after sliding across the grass.
The race was red flagged Sunday, and workers later found the concrete behind the SAFER barrier was cracked. But like those drivers, Wallace was able to walk away.
“Everything was good,’ he said. “They gave me an ultrasound—no twins or anything, so I’m good.”
— Dave Moody (@DGodfatherMoody) July 30, 2018