NASCAR Chairman Brian France said today that the sanctioning body is already hard at work reviewing the crash that destroyed the Chevrolet of Austin Dillon on the final lap of the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona.
“We’re sorting out the best options we have in front of us with technology and innovation to make things better,” said France on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s Tradin’ Paint. “The work has already begun on that. That’s job one at NASCAR — safe, tight, good competition.
NASCAR has transported the battered remains of Dillon’s car to its Research and Development Center in Concord, NC for examination. France said officials will also utilize automated pit road surveillance cameras to review the moments leading up to the crash from multiple angles, in an effort to identify any improvements that can be made.
“We are the only ones in auto racing that have a full-time research and development center where their sole responsibility is to sort out these kind of issues that make them better,” said France. “This is auto racing. We’re always going to have hard crashes like last night, and thankfully, everything was OK.
“But you learn from every single one of these things, and the real good news for us is this is what we do. We have a group of people that woke up this morning trying to figure out `How do we make this better?’ We never shy away from jumping right in the middle of making things better than they already are.”
He said NASCAR learned from the February, 2013 XFINITY Series crash involving then-rookie Kyle Larson, adding, “We learned a great deal and reinforced the catch fence in different ways. We went right to work from an engineering standpoint and we’ll do the same here. Our work in safety, whether it’s the race car itself — which held up beautifully, thankfully — or making or fans safe, that work never ends in auto racing. And in NASCAR, we (put) that responsibility at the top of our list.
“We’ll all work on it.”
France also downplayed post-race criticism leveled by driver Ray Newman, who said the sanctioning body, “got what they wanted” from Dillon’s crash. “Cars getting airborne, unsafe drivers, (it’s the) same old stuff,” said Newman. “They just don't listen. They just don't pay attention to safety.”
“Emotionally, at the end of a long day, drivers are going to make comments, whatever they may be,” said France. “What we do want is the closest, tightest racing that we can. But we put safety at the top of the list, for obvious reasons. We… have a track record of getting those things right, although it’s a moving target and it’s never simple.
“An accident like last night takes your breath away, and it should. But that’s auto racing. We’re working on solutions all the time to make racing safer and better.”