NASCAR is a sport of speed. When you get a bunch of speed-driven racers on the race track who all want to win, there may be some accidents involved. The same goes with any other sport; injuries, fouls, and penalties happen all the time. These are the worst crashes to happen in NASCAR.
Carlos Pardo – 2009
Carlos Pardo was a winner of the NASCAR Corona Series a handful of times. On his way to winning his tenth time, he was in the accident where he lost his life. With only three laps left, Pardo’s car was hit from behind. The car proceeded to hit the wall at an insane speed which resulted in his car being disintegrated.
Clint Bowyer – 2014
Clint Bowyer found out just how hard it was to get into the perfect position during a race at Daytona. Due to Jimmie Johnson needing gas, he was hit from behind and then total chaos broke loose. Many cars were burned, but the car that had it worst was Bowyer’s because it went airborne and did a few spins and turns before landing. Everyone ended up safe and sound.
Geoff Bodine – 2000
In this accident, not only did drivers get injured but fans did as well. This was a truck series race for the record books. His truck was hit in the rear and slammed into the wall where the finish line was. Other trucks hit Bodine’s as it slid sideways and because of the impact, the car exploded then burned.
Glenn Roberts – 1964
Roberts was on of the most popular drivers in the ’50s. During a race at World 600, Roberts tried to get out of the way of a car that was damaged ahead of him by doing a hard turn but ended up losing control of his car. The car then crashed into the retaining wall backward before turning, rolling, and exploding. This was a fatal crash that took his life.
Kyle Larson – 2013
While Larson was trying to speed up towards the end of the race, you guessed it, someone bumped into him from behind and he lost all control. His car went into the fence and the overall damage caused by the accident tore Larson’s car into pieces and sent his engine to land on the grandstand.
Michael Waltrip – 1990
It was a miracle that saved Michael Waltrip man from this crash. Those who witnessed it thought he was a goner, but the driver lives on. A slight bump is what caused Waltrip to go flying into a steel gate which then led to him crashing into a concrete barrier. His car was destroyed but Waltrip emerged unharmed.
Richard Petty – 1980
The King of NASCAR is also one of the biggest survivors of NASCAR. The twists of the Pocono track where this crash happened have been the cause of plenty crashes. Petty lost one of his tires which made him go airborne and hitt the wall. And as it looked like the tragedy was over, a car came from the smoke and hit his car on the driver’s side. He escaped with a broken neck.
Ricky Rudd – 1984
After losing control of his car while finishing a turn, Rudd was smacked from behind. Like a game of “Mario Kart” he went off the track and into the infield. Rudd’s car was greatly damaged as it hit against the concrete retaining wall. Many thought he didn’t survive but he came out with only swollen eyes and a gash on his head.
Ricky Rudd Again – 1990
Six years after his last accident, Rudd almost lost his life again with this crash. It occurred while others were busy handling tasks in the pit stop. Out of nowhere, Rudd lost control and rammed Bill Elliot’s car. This accident happened so fast that no one saw it happening and when Rudd smashed Elliot’s car, he killed a crewman instantly.
Rusty Wallace – 1993
Wallace was driving at 200 mph when this incident happened. Two cars that were about to start spinning hit Wallace in the rear. The car then proceeded to levitate in the air at a sideways angle. He started to flip down the track. The car was done but luckily for Wallace, he was not.
Ryan Newman – 2003
If this were the Newman from Seinfeld, Jerry would have been oddly satisfied. Too bad this was real and happened to the NASCAR Rookie of the Year. Newman’s car was dragged to the wall by another car and the two cars started to slide down to the infield. His car flew into the air before it landed upsidedown.
Steve Park – 1998
This accident may have happened during a practice run, but it still put Park’s life at risk. Imagine running at full speed or as fast as Usain Bolt, and your leg just stops working completely. Park was driving at full speed and a tire blew up and the result was that he was sent flying into a wall. After hitting the wall twice, his car went back to the infield and smashed into the pit road wall.
The Debacle – 1960
This is known as the biggest crash in NASCAR history. It happened before the sport took precautions to be as safe as it is today. In other words, it was a no holds barred contest out there on the tracks. The Sportsman race at Daytona that day had 68 racers and of those racers, and 37 happened to be involved in the wreckage.
A.J. Allmendinger – 2010
At the 2010 AMP Energy Juice 500 race, A.J Allmendinger flipped and we’re not talking heads or tails. All it took was a bit of a bump and wiggle and he was off the ground and flipping in the air. The race was stopped right after the crash happened. His car was smashed.
Bill Elliott – 1987
This was a crash that made NASCAR have to go over their rules and regulations just as The Debacle did. Thanks to Bill Elliott setting a qualifying record clocking in at 212.8 mph, vehicles had to install plates that would keep their top speed in check. It’s too bad that didn’t happen before the race where a tire was shredded resulting in the vehicle flying over the retaining wall.
Bobby Allison – 1987
This was the last time racers were able to go full speed, and rightfully so. As such, Bobby Allison didn’t benefit from new restrictions that would be put in place soon after. Allison’s tire blew and caused him to go backward on the track still at 200 mph. The car eventually caught air and flew into the fence.
Carl Edwards – 2009
It was the final straight of the race and Edwards appeared to be a potential winner. He began to get greedy and tried to block another racer, but that did not turn out well because he was bumped slightly and ended up turning sideways before going in the air like you see in the picture. Most of the car was destroyed.
Carl Edwards – 2011
This is more of a blunder than it is a wreck, but since he just got mentioned in a crash, we thought we might want to embarrass him, too. After winning the 2011 Sprint Cup All-Star Race, Edwards went and did some donuts. Too bad for him he went over a drainage pipe and killed the front of his car.
Dale Earnhardt Jr – 2007
Going at a dangerously fast speed, Dale lost one of his wheels. That made him fly into a wall and Jamie McMurray’s car. A brake disk was there in place of a wheel and as you can imagine, sparks flew. Interestingly enough, that was enough to keep him racing and he almost finished the lap.
Dale Earnhardt Sr – 2001
In 2001, an iconic driver was lost. Like many of the other crashes, Earnhardt was hit from behind and that caused him to spiral out to the center of the track. Racer Ken Schrader could not move out of the way and cracked Earnhardt’s car on the passenger side head up. He then went into the wall at a whopping 155 mph.
Darrell Waltrip – 1991
Waltrip was at the head of the pack right before this crash happened. Suddenly the car in front of him hit his car with the rear of theirs which pushed him into the car that was to the left of him. The two were forced toward the infield before he started to roll, which caused his bodywork to almost completely be destroyed.
Debacle Pt. 2 – 2007
The catalyst of all this was Kurt Busch. He nicked the wall at around 14 laps left and when he did that, a group of cars was eliminated from the race as well. Kasey Kahne was lucky enough to slide under Busch at the end of the crash. Busch should know better.
Donnie Allison & Cale Yarborough – 1979
A fender bender happened between these two at the Daytona 500 but clearly, they wanted more to happen. The crash was not bad, but the rivalry between these two made it enough for them to have an old fashioned fist fight. Fists were flying around at about the same speed as the cars.
Elliott Sadler – 2003
Kurt Busch instigated this one as well when he hit Sadler from the back. He went into the air like a superhero before flipping and landing on the roof and sliding across the grass. The car went back onto the pavement and started doing flips insanely before stopping. Sadler was only dazed and not hurt from this crash.
Elliott Sadler – 2010
This crash was not as bad for him, but it was still a pretty bad one. He was nudged off the track and slid onto the grass where he hit the interior wall. If you looked closely at the crash, you could see that his engine block flew right out once he hit the wall.
Jeff Gordon and a Few Others – 2009
The cause for the crash here was due to narrow spaces. In 2009, Jeff Gordon, Kahne, and Hornish Jr. were victims of a pathway that was fit for two and a half cars but three cars tried to get by. One car got hit into the side causing it to spin out and Jeff Gordon drove right into it causing a domino effect.
Jeff Gordon – 2008
Thanks to the tragic way Earnhardt passed away, flexible foam and steel safer barriers were implemented. Those additions could be the reason Gordon is alive and kicking today. He was driving just fine before the driver in front of him spun out causing Gordon to try and evade before a hard slam against the barrier.
Joey Logano – 2009
It was as if a rug was snatched from under his feet here when Logano’s back tires slipped from underneath. A few seconds after that, somebody else t-boned Logano which generated a ton of sideway rolls. If you saw it happen, you know how terrifying it looked. He was literally bouncing and flipping like a football when you spike it on the concrete.
Johnny Sauter – 2002
Ladies and gentlemen, Johnny Sauter caused one of the most monumental crashes to happen in NASCAR history. At the superspeedway, a wreck is bound to happen towards the end, but this one happened quite early. Sauter lost control of his car and starting tumbling and along the way gathered a big amount of other cars. A total of 33 cars were affected.
Kyle Busch – 2009
Tony Stewart seemed to act out of spite when he caused this crash. Kyle Busch was in first place and Stewart came from behind and hit him well enough to send him into the air. Sadly, he was not the only car affected and few other racers crashed into him as well. Nice going, Stewart.
Michael McDowell – 2008
“Welp, McDowell is lucky to be alive,” is a statement you would have said after seeing this wreck. After a ridiculously fast turn, he lost control and went barreling into the wall causing him to flip, tumble, and slide down the track for at least five seconds. He kept bouncing and flipping but came out uninjured.
Mike Harmon – 2002
Harmon hit a gate during a practice run, which many people believed should not have caused a wreck, but unfortunately, it did. The gate came in and Harmon went speeding into a concrete barrier. HIs car was split right open and another driver ran into one side of the split but it wasn’t the side Harmon was on.
Richard Petty – 1970
Richard Petty has taken plenty of gnarly crashes throughout his career. This one was thought to be the one that ended his career. At high speeds, Petty’s car went right into the retaining wall as it proceeded to roll a countless amount of times. Once it stopped rolling the car landed on the roof and Petty suffered no major injuries.
Richard Petty – 1988
In 1988, Petty was a part of another crazy accident. After a turn, Petty got bumped in the back and it made him start sliding sideways before starting to stand on the nose of the car. While on the nose, the car started spinning like a breakdancer on his head. Once the car stopped it got hit again and sent him spinning. All the spinning caused Petty to gain temporary blindness.
Steve Grissom – 1997
In Atlanta, Grissom crashed into the inside wall with great impact. Within a blink of an eye, the back of his car vanished leaving only the axle. That is not the end, his gas tank flew out of his car and combusted into a huge fireball as illustrated in the photo above.
Steve Park – 2001
In his 15-year career, Steve Park has been in a handful of terrifying crashes. Park was doing a ritual he performs when exiting out of a caution and that is taking off the steering wheel. Well, something went wrong while doing that and he lost control and got hit by somebody coming up on the inside line.
Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth – 2006
The two appeared to be drawn together by magnets and out of nowhere Kenseth ended up pushing the side of Stewart’s car while they were both scraping against the outer wall. No one has boiled down just exactly whose fault it was, but at least no one was seriously injured in the process.
Tony Stewart – 2001
Not only did Tony Stewart get whacked in this wreck (by the way, so did plenty of other cars) but Stewarts seemed to take the most damage. Everyone else was just sliding, but you can spot Stewart doing flips like he was auditioning for the Olympic dive time. He ended up fine, but the car was anything but.
Trevor Boys – 1984
Boys also looked like he was trying out for the Olympic dive team the way he was spinning and rolling. The 1984 Talladega 500 served to be a bad race for Boys when he got to turn four of the track. The spinning and rolling were compounded by a slide on the roof.
After reading about these sometimes fatal crashes, you have learned that NASCAR is as dangerous as any other sports there are out there. Probably even more so. Top speeds mixed with sharp turns and narrow pathways proves for a scary scene if you are watching. These racers have to be at the top of their game before getting behind that wheel or they end up in part two of this list.