The NASCAR Cup Series drivers headed onto a wet Circuit of the Americas for the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix. The drivers completed the first stage with only one caution flag, but visibility issues sparked two on-track incidents that collected four cars. Although they were only the start.
The incident occurred early in Stage 2, but there were no clear videos. Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney went spinning off the track with massive damage to the rear of the No. 12 Ford Mustang and a flat tire. The cameras then showed Bell and Wallace each climbing out of their respective vehicles. Finally, the camera showed Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick driving off with heavy damage to the front and the back of the No. 4 Ford Mustang.
Lots of trouble in different places at COTA!
Kevin Harvick, Bubba Wallace, Christopher Bell and Ryan Blaney all involved. pic.twitter.com/WnPdlcwvVj
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) May 23, 2021
Blaney headed back to pit road so his team could begin to make repairs. Wallace and Bell, on the other hand, both saw their days come to an end on the back of tow trucks. The safety crews pushed Harvick back to pit road after the No. 4 began pouring fluid on the track. He headed to the garage and posted his first DNF since Bristol in 2019.
Bell told Fox Sports’ Jamie Little that he was not exactly sure what happened during the wreck. He said that he was driving down the back straight and “flying blind” due to the rain when he hit another car. “That’s the most unsafe thing I’ve done in a car,” Harvick added on the radio after the wreck.
Fox Sports Tried to Recreate the Crash With Technology
Huge hits. pic.twitter.com/Ch4MgpoIdg
— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) May 23, 2021
While there were no videos of the wreck, Fox Sports found a way to determine what happened. They used GPS technology to digitally recreate the wrecks, learning that Blaney had begun to slow down when Bell hit him from behind.
Harvick was behind Blaney and Bell, so he slowed down to avoid getting involved in any incident of his own. However, the GPS data showed that Wallace hit him from behind and sent the No. 4 Ford Mustang into the wall.
According to Little, Wallace did not provide any information about the wreck due to visible frustration. Instead, she spoke to his crew chief, Mike Wheeler. The man in charge of the No. 23 said that drivers at the front of the pack could see without issues but those in the middle were struggling.
“We don’t have any business being out in the rain, period,” Harvick told NBC Sports’ Dustin Long after the wreck. “All I can say is that this is the worst decision we’ve ever made in our sport, that I’ve ever been a part of.”
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