Jeff Gordon finished 41st in Sunday’s Quiktrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway after getting collected in a late-race wreck which also included Denny Hamlin, Jamie McMurray and Ryan Newman. Gordon was also wrecked last week when he was spun by Austin Dillon on the final lap of the Daytona 500.
Gordon’s crash has sparked discussion about safety in NASCAR, as his No. 24 Chevrolet SS impacted a wall that was not covered by a SAFER barrier. The four-time Sprint Cup champ has a history of hitting walls without a SAFER barrier, and expressed concern that all walls still aren’t covered with the steel and foam fences.
“I’m very frustrated by the fact that there was no SAFER barrier down there,” Gordon told ESPN post-race. “I knew it was a hard hit and I didn’t expect it to be that hard. I got out and looked, and I said, ‘Oh wow, big surprise, I found the one wall here on the back straightaway that doesn’t have a SAFER barrier.’”
The crash comes just one week after Kyle Busch hit a SAFER barrier-free wall during an Xfinity series race at Daytona head-on, breaking his right leg and left foot. NASCAR made it necessary for all tracks to have SAFER barriers on turns a decade ago, but not on the infield walls, where both Busch and Gordon crashed.
“I don’t think we can say any more after Kyle’s incident at Daytona,” Gordon said. “Everybody knows that we’ve got to do something and it should have been done a long time ago. But all we can do now is hope that they do it as fast as they possibly can.”