Dillon gets launched (291439NASCAR via Getty Images)
Austin Dillon thanked NASCAR for its efforts to improve safety after emerging unscathed from a massive crash at the end of Sunday’s Talladega Sprint Cup race.
Dillon was running third on the final lap when he spun his Stewart-Haas Chevrolet while dicing between Dale Earnhardt Jr and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Most of the field missed Dillon but Germain Racing’s Casey Mears rammed the spinning car hard from the rear in a violent impact, sending Dillon skyward.
His Chevrolet landed on its wheels and was still able to drive despite flying right over the top of Mears’s Ford. Both drivers were unhurt.
“I’ve got to thank NASCAR for everything they’ve done for safety,” said Dillon, who currently leads the Nationwide Series. “I was all good. I even got to drive the car back! Racing’s a lot of fun when you’ve got good safety equipment like that and can just go for it.”
Replays suggested Dillon and Stenhouse did not make contact and that the change of aero conditions as they crossed paths unsettled the Stewart-Haas Chevy.
“I was trying to help the 88 [Earnhardt] right there at the end,” said Dillon. “The 17 [Stenhouse] had a run, so I went low and then when I was coming back up he just hooked me. It was a wild ride.”
Stenhouse said: “When I pulled out a little bit to go to the bottom, he pulled down to block and I tried to get back to the top as quick as I could thinking the momentum was going to carry us around the outside, and we just met right there in the middle.”