NASCAR race red flagged after major crash (3rd Update)

UPDATE #3 NASCAR VP/Competition Robin Pemberton noted WGI has made "great advancements" in safety over the years, but he said, "We're not the only series that races here." Pemberton: "Not all places are places for SAFER barriers. There are different types of systems to help slow the cars down. … There's a priority list as far as what turns and what straightaways and things like that you need to work on. It's an ongoing process" Cheez-It 355 at The Glen ESPN

08/11/14 A "frightening multi-car crash" midway into yesterday's Cheez-It 355 at The Glen "renewed calls by some NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers for more safety changes" at Watkins Glen Int'l, according to Ron Levanduski of the Elmira STAR-GAZETTE. The cars of Ryan Newman and Michael McDowell made "huge impacts with the blue Armco guard rail that lines much of the 2.45-mile road course." The incident "brought out two red flags: an initial stoppage for 20 minutes and 53 seconds, followed by a yellow caution to remove the cars from the track and a second stoppage for 1 hour, 49 seconds to repair the guard rail."

Newman's impact "actually punctured a couple of sections of the guard rail," and he "lashed out at the safety" of the track. He said, "It is a very antiquated track and the safety is not at all up to NASCAR standards. It's a shame that we have to have accidents like that to prove it." WGI President Michael Printup said, "We will sit down with NASCAR and evaluate what that accident produced and what we need to do. Safety for the fans and drivers is paramount." Printup added that initial discussions "will take place 'no later than the end of this week,' but could not predict whether there would be action before next year's Sprint Cup race." Elmira Star Gazette


"I’m okay. It’s just the wrong place at the wrong time. From my standpoint, (Greg) Biffle jumped the curb and hit the splitter or something up on the curb and got out and got across the grass. And I probably could have given him a little bit more, but I tried to time it so I could shoot past but he slowed down when he got back on the race track. It’s really disappointing. We lost John Melvin here in the last couple of weeks and he did a lot of innovations for our sport and it’s really sad that they haven’t adapted any of them here at this race track. The Safer barrier doesn’t exist here, there are no concrete walls; it’s just a very antiquated race track and the safety is not at all up to NASCAR’s standards and it’s a shame that we have to have accidents like that to prove it. Hopefully something will change the next time we come back with our Caterpillar Chevrolet."

"(Greg) Biffle jumped over the curb there and lost the nose and came back across the race track in the dirt. I tried to time it just right and he was slower than I thought he was going to be. It was disappointing our Caterpillar Chevrolet was running good. We were in good sequence to pit one more time for a splash of fuel and go. Just really sad to see the antiquated walls around this race track and a lack of safety. They have no problems spending 400 million dollars in Daytona, but they could spend a few million dollars here on safety and make a lot of drivers happy."

"It was violent. My hit into the wall wasn’t that bad, it was the shot that I got from (Michael) McDowell. Thankfully all of us are safe, but not at all where I wanted to be at the end of the day."

08/10/14 The NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen has been red-flagged on lap 56 of 90 with Jimmie Johnson leading after Greg Biffle got wide exiting the high speed Carousel and when he came back onto the track he was hit by Ryan Newman who then impacted Michael McDowell sending McDowell hard into the outside wall. McDowell’s entire rear and axle went flying but was caught by the catch fencing. A number of other cars were collected in the melee.

Besides the track being almost blocked, significant damage to the guard rail meant the race had to be red-flagged.

All drivers got out of their cars OK but McDowell laid on the ground for awhile, having the wind knocked out of him.

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