NASCAR Recreating Larson-Preece Talladega Crash to Learn More

Both cars from Sunday's incident have been taken to the NASCAR R&D Center for further examination and testing.


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A hard hit late in Sunday’s GEICO 500 NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway not only eliminated Kyle Larson and Ryan Preece, but also raised some concerns about the amount of damage to the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

The incident took place with two laps to go and saw Larson’s car shoot up the track and across the nose of a quickly oncoming Preece. Once the cars came to a rest, Larson’s car showed heavy damage to the right side door, with a support roll bar appearing to have moved in the incident.

Both drivers were able to walk away from the incident, although Preece called it “one of the hardest hits” he has taken in his racing career.

“My car is, like, absolutely destroyed. Cockpit’s a mess. So, I’m just thankful that I’m alright and all that,” Larson said after leaving the infield care center.

Larson’s car was one of three that were taken back to the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina following Sunday’s race.

According to a report by SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s Dave Moody, NASCAR also requested Stewart-Haas Racing bring Preece’s damaged car to the R&D Center for further examination and to recreate the incident that took place via CAD, Incident Data Acquisition System (IDAS), and other methods.

“Preliminary indications are that Ryan Preece was doing approximately 140 mph at the time of impact, t-boning Kyle Larson’s door,” Moody said on his show.

A NASCAR spokesperson confirmed to Racing America on Monday night that both cars were taken to the NASCAR R&D Center and they are using all information and technology possible to essentially recreate the incident. The spokesperson also said that Moody's estimation of 140 mph is premature and they are still working to find an actual speed of impact using all the technology available, but that it was likely over 100 mph.

While the impact on the passenger side of Larson's car looked extreme and caused many to speculate about the possible severity of a driver-side impact, the spokesperson confirmed the driver side of the Gen 7 chassis is four-times stronger than the right side door area of the car, and that is before the addition foam inside the door.

NASCAR has not shied away from adding more roll bars or other safety measures after researching and breaking down other incidents. From Ryan Newman's incident in the 2020 Daytona 500, to Joey Logano's flip at Talladega in 2021, to adjustments to the Gen 7 chassis after hard impacts to the rear of the car caused multiple drivers to suffer concussions.

With the move to the Gen 7 car and a more centralized parts supply, NASCAR is now able to gather and record the data from the cars much quicker and easier. The team at the R&D Center will examine that data - especially the GPS data - compare it with the CAD recreation, work with the teams involved, and determine if any additional changes need to be made.

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