Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Updated: August 4, 4:52 PM ET
Elliott Sadler's crash among hardest
By David Newton
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Elliott Sadler says NASCAR officials told him his head-on collision with the inside retaining wall at Pocono Racing on Sunday was the hardest recorded in the history of the sport.
NASCAR did not give Sadler the number of G-forces recorded by the black box device and the governing body typically does not release that information.
"We do not share those numbers except with the team and the folks at the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility at the University of Nebraska," NASCAR said in a statement.
"They want to meet with me this weekend," Sadler said on Tuesday. "But we were told this morning that it was the hardest one they have in their data in history."
That means harder than Kyle Petty's 2003 crash at Bristol which, according to published reports, was the hardest at the time at more than 80 Gs (80 times the force of gravity).
Other hard hits that NASCAR publicly has claimed among the hardest include Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s 2003 crash at Dover, David Reutimann's 2007 crash at California and Jeff Gordon's 2008 crash at Las Vegas.
Sadler amazingly walked away from his crash with only a sore right shoulder and collarbone, and minor scrapes from the seat belts. He credited the HANS device (Head and Neck restraint), the carbon fiber seat designed by Hendrick Motorsports and new safety designs NASCAR implemented in the new car for protecting him.
"I'm very thankful for that," Sadler said. "I think 10 years ago in the aluminum seat and no HANS and having that same wreck we'd be maybe talking about something different now."
Sadler issued a challenge to Pocono Raceway to bring track standards up to car standards. He was assured by NASCAR president Mike Helton that the governing body is working with the track to make that happen.
Track officials had said before the race that they planned upgrades, but didn't have time in the six weeks between the June event in which Kasey Kahne nearly went over the backstretch wall on Sunday.
Among the expected improvements are SAFER barriers on several inside walls such as the one Sadler hit, a catch fence on the back stretch and possibly a skid pad to replace the grass runoff area that Sadler slid through.
"This is 2010, not 1970," said Sadler, who won Saturday's Truck Series race at Pocono. "We have a lot of knowledge now on SAFER barriers, things the tracks can do to help us in case we're in a wreck.
"If you want to be a part of the Sprint Cup series and Nationwide Trucks you should be held accountable to have the latest and greatest safety stuff available just like the teams and NASCAR do with the cars."
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.