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Kyle Larson Makes Further Comments On His Harrowing Talladega Wreck: 'What If I Had A Second Impact?'
Ryan Preece collided with the 2021 Cup Series champion at the Geico 500, turning Larson’s No. 5 Chevy into a mangled mess of metal.
While he walked away from arguably the most violent crash thus far in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series, the traumatic collision Kyle Larson endured during the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 23 is still very much on the 30-year-old’s mind.
The incident occurred after Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain pushed Noah Gragson’s No. 42 Camaro. The Legacy Motor Club wheelman smashed into the wall, triggering the subsequent collision. The Hendrick Motorsports driver spun out in the grass before swerving back up through traffic into the middle of the oncoming pack. That’s where Ryan Preece’s No. 41 Ford Mustang slammed into Yung Money in the No. 5.
RELATED: Kyle Larson 'Just Thankful That I'm Alright' As He Reflects On Horrific Wreck At Talladega
With the Next Gen car in its second Cup Series season, Larson may be thankful to be free of injuries, but the Elk Grove, California native still thinks NASCAR could improve the vehicle’s safety.
“You see things that could have easily gotten me in the car, whether it be the bars that had completely broke off and could have shanked me," Larson said Saturday, according to the Associated Press. “Or what if I had a second impact? I'm not knocking NASCAR at all on that. They've worked really hard with this car to make it safer. I've been very thankful they took both my car and Preece's car afterward to dive in deeper into it and see how they can make it safer yet.”
Both vehicles were taken to NASCAR’s research and development center in Concord, North Carolina. There, the league is continuing its investigation, using advanced computer software to construct three-dimensional recreations of the crash while they also review any video recordings that could be helpful, including film from the in-car camera. After winning the Geico 500 at Talladega, Kyle Busch compared the carnage of Larson’s and Preece’s cars colliding to a “brick getting rammed into a stick of butter.”
Team Penske driver and two-time Cup Series champion Joey Logano echoed Larson’s calls for NASCAR to take urgent action in testing and improving driver safety in the Next Gen car.
“It's pretty clear that changes have to be made,” Logano explained. “I don't know how you fix it.”
Despite Busch, Logano and several other Cup Series drivers hypothesizing that Larson would’ve died had his driver side door been impacted instead of the passenger side door, NASCAR refuted that speculation. The league stated Saturday that, in terms of its structural integrity, the construction of the Next Gen car’s driver side door is “multiple times stronger than the right.”
“There's no other form of racing, in my opinion, that takes safety more seriously than them,” Larson said of NASCAR. “But that doesn't mean the sport is safe.”
The wreck made quite the impression on Preece as well.
“It was probably one of the toughest hits I’ve ever taken in a race car, and I’ve hit walls with hung throttles on concrete, concrete walls with dirt behind them," noted Preece.
The topic of driver safety continues to linger now that footage has emerged online of Hendrick Motorsports driver Alex Bowman taking a horrific tumble in his vehicle after it made contact with Conner Morrell in a sprint car race.
“I think people assume the odds are much higher getting hurt in a sprint car,” Larson noted. “I would love to see the data that would prove that because I don't view it that way. We've got drivers out with concussions, we got drivers breaking bones, I've broken bones in a Cup car.”