NASCAR: No changes planned as result of Kyle Larson's Talladega crash
NASCAR plans no changes to its Cup series cars as the result of Kyle Larson's airborne crash last month at Talladega Superspeedway.
The Chip Ganassi Racing driver was battling for position on the final lap of the GEICO 500 when contact with William Byron's car sent him skidding down the track and then launched him airborne into the inside retaining wall. The No. 42 Chevrolet flipped on its roof and then barrel-rolled at least a half-dozen times before coming to a stop. Larson was not injured in the incident.
A scary tumble for Kyle Larson. pic.twitter.com/yqpIecTbmk— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) April 29, 2019
John Probst, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Innovation told NBC Sports Saturday that damage to the front of Larson's car from the impact with Byron led it to become airborne at a much lower speed than would normally be expected.
“(NASCAR) engineers … created a model that simulated that damage to the rear of the right front wheel opening,” Probst said. “The results of that effectively showed us that when they had that damage, there is about a 70 mph reduction in the liftoff speed, which kind of put us in the 180-190 mph range. Our conclusion is the reason the car got off the ground is from the contact with (Byron’s) car that led to the spin to the right.”
Probst estimated five people spent several days studying the incident, using dozens of computer simulation, replays, and data from the car’s incident recorder.
Keeping cars from going airborne has long been a particular concern for NASCAR. A crash in a 1987 race at Talladega that sent Bobby Allison's car flying into the catch fence led NASCAR to begin the use of restrictor plates to reduce speeds in superspeedway races.
Larson had a much better experience Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He won the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star race — and the $1 million purse — after racing his way into the event in the Open qualifier earlier.