Moreso than anything else, the one thing that NASCAR tries to do in the interest of safety at Daytona and Talladega is prevent cars from going airborne. In a scary crash, this was the case on the final lap of the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ season opener.
On the final lap of the Beef 300 at Daytona, Myatt Snider was turned sideways in front of the field in the lead pack, hitting the backstretch wall before his car went airborne along the wall and catchfence. The rear of Snider’s car struck the catchfence as it flipped over, shearing both the front and rear of the car away and ejecting the engine from the vehicle as an enormous crash unfolded around him.
Despite the dramatic scene, Snider was able to climb out of his Jordan Anderson Racing Chevrolet, and he was later treated and released from Daytona’s infield care center. According to Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports, Snider told reporters that his left leg is sore and he will have it checked before next week’s race at Fontana.
“It’s the last lap and everybody’s trying their best to push as hard as possible, and trying to keep as much momentum as I can get,” Snider told reporters. “I felt a push and I started feeling the car go right, and I’m like ‘crap, I might be along for the ride here.’ And sure enough I was.
“I got turned around to the side and then I was facing backwards, and I started seeing the racetrack and I’m like ‘Mmm, this is getting better as it goes.’ And I think what happened is that the left rear started yawing towards the fence and then the fence caught it. And that’s what really started tearing everything up, and then I got drug into the grass from what I could tell.
“As I’ve said already, I’m extremely blessed to be as okay as I am, and glad that Jordan Anderson Racing built such a safe racecar.”
The crash occurred just as Austin Hill made the move for the lead, cutting to the inside of A.J. Allmendinger to take the top spot just as the caution flag flew to freeze the field and end the race. Hill, an Xfinity Series rookie and graduate of the Camping World Truck Series, earned his first career win.
Snider’s accident is the latest to occur at Daytona involving an impact to the catchfence — the most dramatic being in 2013, when the catchfence sheared the front of Kyle Larson’s airborne car away, sending debris into the crowd and injuring 28 fans. While NASCAR has recently made efforts to slow speeds for Cup Series cars on superspeedways after drivers Ryan Newman and Joey Logano went airborne in crashes, similar efforts had not been undertaken for the Xfinity Series to that level.
While Snider’s crash did not occur near the grandstands, there was a very notable unwitting spectator to the accident. NBA legend and 23XI Racing co-owner Michael Jordan, who was watching the race with driver Bubba Wallace near a motorhome lot.
The section of fence torn down by Snider’s car will create overnight work for Daytona’s track crew, as the fence will have to be repaired before tomorrow’s Daytona 500.