As a lifetime gearhead that has grown up here in the United States i’m slightly obligated to be a fan of NASCAR. It’s never been my favorite Motorsport ill be honest, not even close really. However i’ve always maintained a level of respect for what the drivers are doing and how difficult it must be. To some people, especially those outside the U.S., NASCAR is pretty basic, you just have to turn left considering the tracks are mainly oval. But what those people fail to realize, these cars are still traveling at close to 200mph while traveling inches from each other.

Photo: nbcsports
Photo: nbcsports

One of the best explanations regarding the difference between NASCAR and something on the level of Formula 1 came back on an old episode of Top Gear when Hammond was taking a few laps in a NASCAR. Without getting into the full details of it all, the short version is that in a Formula 1 car there is so much technology that reports back to the pits telling the crew what the car is doing, then they can relay that to the driver. In a NASCAR there is virtually no technology reporting to the crew, instead its the driver that is telling the pit crew what the car is doing.

Erik Jones in his #20 race car just prior to the  blowout. Photo: zimbo
Erik Jones in his #20 race car just prior to the blowout.
Photo: zimbo

Drivers behind the wheel of a NASCAR are every bit as talented as any other pro racing drivers on the planet. There was a perfect example of that fact at one of the recent races held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Lilly Diabetes 250. Erik Jones was behind the wheel of the #20 car heading into turn 1 at roughly 200mph when suddenly the right rear tire blows out. Normally, this type f situation would end in catastrophe because the only place for the car to go is directly into the retaining wall. Even with the major advancements in safety equipment over the past 10 years, hitting the wall at those speeds will likely end with a fatality.

20 year old Erik Jones Photo: catchfence
20 year old Erik Jones
Photo: catchfence

However something that you would only think possible in a video game type setting happened. As the back end started to break loose sending him directly towards the wall, Jones dropped the hammer giving the over 800hp full throttle. This sent him in to what might be the coolest looking drift that would make professional drift racers jealous. Especially considering he was traveling close to 200 mph. He was able to not only steer clear of hitting the wall, but also the other racers as he eventually spun out and slid to the bottom of the track. This not only saved his life, but also prevented any injuries to other drivers, plus made his team happy because the car wasn’t damaged aside from the blown tire.
Second Angle