Richard Petty Motorsports driver Darrell ‘Bubba’ Wallace Jr admitted he was “scared” during the ‘hardest crash of his career’ in the NASCAR Cup series race at Pocono on Sunday.
Wallace was unhurt in the crash, which was caused by a brake failure as he entered Turn 1 while trying to hold off Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola with five laps to go.
He opted to run down the banking to the grass infield in an attempt to slow the car before the #43 Chevrolet collided sideways with the outside wall at Turn 2.
Wallace climbed out of the car unaided before being checked in the infield care centre.
“The lap before, I was holding off Aric going into [Turn] 1 and the pedal went to the floor so I went to the bottom,” he said.
“Your natural instinct is to just try and use up all the track when that happens. It went to the floor, I pumped it up, getting through [Turn] 3 here and then down into [Turn] 1, I started pumping it right past the start/finish line and it blew.
Just sat down on the bird, I’m okay. Appreciate all the love n support!
Scariest and hardest hit I’ve had. The reality of being helpless in that situation freaked me out. Didnt know what the outcome was gonna be. Glad it’s just a bitten cheek and banged up foot.
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) July 29, 2018
“I should have hooked a right into the fence, used that to slow me down, but I’m used to turning left there so I turned left and there she went through the grass.”
Wallace called the crash the “hardest one of my career”.
“There’s no feeling like being helpless in that situation, and it scared the hell out of me,” he said.
“I didn’t know if I was going to remember it when I hit or not.
“We’re good. I bit my cheek, banged my foot off the pedal. I’m OK, though.
“I’ll wake up tomorrow and be a little sore, but the safety has come a long way so it’s good to be able to climb out of the car.
“The EMTs [emergency medical team] were worried that I didn’t let the window net down soon enough and I was like: ‘Hell, that’s the last thing I thought about!’
“I’m sorry. Everything was good. They gave me an ultrasound, no twins or anything so I’m good.
“It’s just unfortunate ending for us. Our Chevrolet was decent. We were trying to get by and trying to salvage a decent finish and just had a brake failure.”
The crash was Wallace’s second non-finish of 2018 and he heads into Watkins Glen 25th in the standings.
He will likely need a breakthrough first Cup victory in order to make the playoffs.