Kevin Harvick’s Crew Chief Rodney Childers Talks About Bad Hits and Why 1 Crash at Texas Made Him Want to Throw Up, and It’s Not Alex Bowman
Kevin Harvick. Joey Logano. Denny Hamlin. These veteran Cup Series drivers and numerous others have said the Gen 7 car produces bigger hits than ever before. Kurt Busch hasn’t said anything. He hasn’t had to. His 11-race absence due to a concussion has said it all.
This week, Alex Bowman joined the 23XI Racing driver and will miss his first race at Talladega from the same type of injury he suffered last weekend at Texas. Not surprisingly, drivers and others in the industry are sounding off on the latest news. Interestingly, Harvick’s crew chief Rodney Childers addressed the growing concerns this week during an appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and referenced a specific crash at Texas that made him want to throw up, and it’s not the one making headlines.
Alex Bowman suffers concussion after backing into wall early at Texas
When Alex Bowman spun and backed his No. 48 Chevrolet into the wall on Lap 97 at Texas, it didn’t appear to be a hard hit as the rear of the car glanced off the wall coming out of Turn 4 before continuing down the track. But that was the external view of the car. The in-car camera revealed something dramatically different.
At impact, the Hendrick Motorsports driver’s head violently slams back into his headrest, not once but twice.
“Done. I can’t drive the rest of the day,” Bowman said over his team radio moments after the impact. “I don’t understand how this thing’s still rolling. That’s the hardest I’ve crashed anything in my entire life.”
Doctors confirmed the intensity of Bowman’s crash when it was announced on Thursday he would miss Sunday’s race at Talladega due to a concussion.
Rodney Childers talks bad hits lately and 1 at Texas in particular
The news of a second driver missing action due to a concussion understandably got a reaction from the drivers. Kevin Harvick, who has been one of the most vocal all year regarding safety issues, didn’t hold back on Twitter.
“Completely unacceptable that those in charge have let things get to this point,” Harvick tweeted. “I remember it like it was yesterday @dennyhamlin in the presentation of the new car to the drivers pleading that the car was to stiff. Data didn’t agree. TIME TO LISTEN TO THE DRIVERS CRASHING THEM!”
Hours before Harvick’s tweet, his crew chief Rodney Childers appeared on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, where he talked about the news and brought up another crash at Texas that bothered him.
“It’s disappointing,” Childers said. “What Kurt’s been through, and now Alex. And then seeing some of the hits people have taken lately here are pretty bad. I saw the crash data of that 51 car yesterday and it made me want to throw up.”
Cody Ware crashes and suffers two big hits
Childers is referring to the crash of Cody Ware. It was one of a record-setting 16 cautions at Texas on Sunday, and undoubtedly the scariest. The No. 51 car got sideways and then made a hard-right turn into the outside wall coming out of Turn 4. It was a massive impact, but only the first of two.
The second was even scarier from a fan’s perspective because it was a matter of matching the trajectory of Ware’s aimless car with an opening on the pit road wall. By the initial looks of it, it appeared the car was headed straight for a corner. Fortunately, the driver missed just a few feet to the right, for yet another big hit.
Ware struggled when he got out of his car and had to be assisted by medical staff. He was taken to the infield care center, where he was monitored for more than an hour and released. A spokesman said he had suffered an ankle injury, but no concussion.
While Childers wasn’t clear about the data from Ware’s crash that bothered him so much, it would have presumably been from that violent initial impact into the outside wall, which took track workers several minutes to repair.
It’s fair to say many drivers will look back on the first year in the Gen 7 car and won’t remember it for the quality racing it consistently produced throughout the year, but all the harmful crashes, and NASCAR not doing anything about it.