NASCAR is unarguably one of the most divisive sports today. Most people don’t understand it. On the other hand, some folks treat it as a religion, and it’s not just driving to them, it’s a physical grind which involves coordination, and crazy endurance. The sport has suffered its fair share of crashes. Few of the accidents have been elated above the others as a reminder of how risky entering one of the cars might be. With this in mind, here is a highlight at the top 10 NASCAR crashes of all time.
Glenn “Fireball” Roberts World 600 1964
NASCAR star Glenn “Fireball” Roberts could not avoid the debris caused by a crash of Junior Johnson and Ned Jarrett. As a result, he slammed into a wall, and his car burst into flames. He suffered 80% burns all over his body and had to be airlifted to a close hospital.
After trying to recover, Roberts contracted pneumonia, entered into a coma, and passed on July 2, 1964. This tragic incident forced NASCAR to make wearing fire retardant clothing compulsory, while installing fire extinguishing systems in the cars and replacing steel tanks with rubber.
Bobby Allison Winston 500 1987
This crash forced NASCAR to reexamine its rules. During the race, Bobby Allison (on 200 miles per hour) tore a wheel on his car and spun around in reverse before going up and over a retaining wall. The car slammed down and got hit by other race cars. Even though Allison was uninjured, a lot of fans were hurt by debris and needed to be rushed to the E.R with minor wounds
Ricky Rudd Atlanta Journal 1990
During the final race in the series, tragedy struck as Ricky Rudd lost control of the car and spun into another racer, Bill Elliott’s vehicle that was undertaking a tire change at the time. Mike Rich, Elliott’s tire changer was fixing the back tire when the car hit pinned him between two cars. The death prompted NASCAR to modify the speed limits in the pit road and ask all pit crew to use protective gear.
Carl Edwards Aaron’s 499 2009
In 2009, Carl Edwards‘ car caused severe damage during the 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Edwards car went airborne and hit a catch fence while trying to hinder Brad Keselowski from overtaking him. Despite horrible the crash looked, no one was severely injured in the incident.
Steve Park Darlington Raceway 2001
Steve Park experienced a freakish accident in the Darlington Raceway. When the drivers moved around the track with caution, Larry Foyt hurried to catch up to the other vehicles, when Park mistakenly pulled off his steering wheel, causing his car to veer left off the track, where he got T-boned by Foyt’s vehicle. Park suffered severe injuries in the accident, and it included a permanent speech impediment and massive brain damage.
Carlos Pardo Corona Series 2009
Carlos Pardo successfully won eight of the Corona Series races. Unfortunately, the victory came at a cost: his life. Pardo was already on Lap 97 when his vehicle was tapped from behind, and this caused him to spin uncontrollably and smash into the wall behind a pit lane at 120 miles. His car was destroyed, and he had to be rushed in a chopper to the hospital. Pardo was awarded the first position because his car was in front when he crashed.
Dale Earnhardt Daytona 2001
The NASCAR sport suffered the loss of an iconic personality on February 18, 2001, during the crash of legendary driver Dale Earnhardt crashed during the last lap of the race. It started when Sterling Marlin’s car hit the bumper of Earnhardt’s car and sent it spinning uncontrollably in the middle part of the track. Another racer, Ken Schrader was not able to veer around the spinning vehicle, and he hit Earnhardt’s passenger side head on. Earnhardt smashed into a wall at 155 miles per hour; the crash took his life.
Richard Petty South Carolina’s Darlington Speedway 1970
Famous NASCAR driver Richard Petty has been notorious for crashing his car, but none of those crashes was scarier than the incident he had in South Carolina’s Darlington Speedway in 1970. Petty hit a retaining wall with his Roadrunner and started to roll and flip several times.
It was a deadly crash that had fans assuming the worst. At the aftermath of this scary event, NASCAR made installation of protective nets in all NASCAR racing cars compulsory. It also encouraged the creation of neck and head support safety features in all cars, since none existed before then.
Michael Waltrip Bristol 1990
This famous crash occurred in 1990 in the Budweiser 250 NASCAR Nationwide race where Michael Waltrip sent his vehicle into turn two and caused an impact that practically tore his race car in half. Waltrip miraculously survived the crash with nothing more than “a few contusions and confusion.”
Daytona Modified Sportsman Race of 1960
The wreck at the Daytona Modified Sportsman Race 1960 holds firm in the first position among the top ten NASCAR crashes. For some reason, about 73 cars were on the track that day, and it took one lap for around 37 of them to crash out of the race.
Eight drivers were rushed to the hospital, but there were no life-threatening injuries or fatalities. The crash forced NASCAR to lessen the number of drivers on the track at one time to only 43. It is safe to conclude that things could have been a lot worse.