NASCAR has been part of the world of sports since 1948, and the racing scene has grown into a worldwide event. In the United States, football is the only sport that fans watch more than racing. Excitement at every turn, racing is a fun sport to watch until someone gets into an accident.
Sometimes, drivers make it out of these accidents, but high speeds and dangerous turns also result in many deaths.
These crashes are some of the worst in the history of racing, and while fans would love to forget about them, they can’t.
1. 2001: Daytona 500 Dale Earnhardt Sr.
Racing fans didn’t expect the 2001 Daytona 500 to be the last time Dale Earnhardt Sr. raced on the track. I don’t recommend watching the gruesome footage, but I’ll try to explain this horrific moment.
Earnhardt was racing his Chevrolet when he lost control of his vehicle and hit a cement wall.
It’s an accident that didn’t look as bad as it was to onlookers, but it led to the death of one of the most beloved names in racing. Safety regulations changed following his death, with soft barriers being introduced to protect drivers.
If soft barriers were in place at the time, Earnhardt may have walked away from the accident.
2. 1993: Talladega Superspeedway Rusty Wallace
Rusty Wallace was flying around the track at the 1993 Talladega Superspeedway when his vehicle lost control and started to flip across the track. A heartbreaking moment, fans worried about Wallace as television viewers feared the vehicle may flip into the crowd and cause even more injuries.
The season featured two major accidents for Wallace, and it was one of, if not the most, successful seasons of his career.
The vehicle’s tires seemed to lose control as Earnhardt clipped Wallace from behind. Hybrid wheels were not in use at the time when Wallace’s vehicle flipped over a dozen times. When crews arrived at the scene, Wallace was still inside the roll cage, but almost all of the vehicle’s metal had been ripped off.
3. 1960: Daytona Speedway
You’ll be able to find some really neat, old footage of the mega crash at the 1960 Daytona Speedway. The accident was the largest in the sport’s history, and while no fatalities occurred, it would end the careers of two drivers.
A total of 13 vehicles were demolished and five drivers had to be taken to the hospital.
It was a terrible year for NASCAR, which would start to implement new safety features on tracks following the accidents. In what seemed like a regular day on the track, everything was going smoothly until two cars hit each other, spun out and caused a massive pileup hitting other vehicles in the process.
The accidents could have been much worse, and footage can be seen of crews running to vehicles to make sure drivers were okay. Some drivers were seen walking away from their vehicles while fire crews rushed to the scene because multiple vehicles were smoking.
Of course, there were plenty of deaths in NASCAR, with Dan Wheldon being one of the most recent in memory after his vehicle was launched during a 15-vehicle pileup.