Following Bubba Wallace’s brakes failure and subsequent wreck at the Gander Outdoors 400 over the weekend, professional race car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. told his podcast listeners this week what goes through a NASCAR driver’s mind in the moments leading up to an inevitable crash.
“When you have a failure and there’s been some kind of failure on the car where you’re either out of control — you don’t have control of the steering — or you don’t have any brakes, and so you’re flying into the wall,” Earnhardt said, according to For The Win. “And you know you’re going to hit it, but you have enough time to think about it. Normally in wrecks, you get hit, and the hitting just starts. You don’t have time to think about, ‘Oh, I’m about to hit this, and this is going to hurt.’
“But in that rare situation that Bubba described where something breaks and you’ve got time to think, like you’re heading toward this wall at 180 miles an hour and you’re gonna hammer that damn thing, you don’t know what the result’s gonna be. And you do think about your ability to survive it.
“Are you gonna survive it? Are you gonna die? Are you going to be injured? You would be surprised what all you can cover in a mere couple seconds.”
Earnhardt, who lost his father in a NASCAR crash in 2001, has had multiple major crashes in his career, including at the 2016 and 2017 Daytona 500.
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