blank 07/16/15 08:24AM Camping World Truck, NASCAR Truck Series, readers videos


Wreck ended race at Kentucky after truck damages fence

SPARTA, Ky. -- A dramatic crash and damage to a catch fence punctuated NASCAR's second straight national series race Thursday night at Kentucky Speedway.
This time, it was Camping World Truck Series regular Ben Kennedy at the center of the melee, still running on adrenaline but unscathed after the wreck that abbreviated Thursday's UNOH 225with five laps remaining. Just three days ago in the wee hours of Monday morning, Austin Dillonhad a terrifying ride after the checkered flag in the Sprint Cup Series' most recent race at Daytona International Speedway.


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Kennedy's Red Horse Racing No. 11 Toyota dented several support poles after it became airborne at the entrance to Kentucky's Turn 1, riding the top of the energy-absorbing SAFER barrier before finally coming to rest. Though Dillon's crash may have been slightly more violent in its severity, there was a common theme in both hard hits: Gratitude from the principle drivers that they emerged unhurt.
"I guess I was on top of the wall," Kennedy said. "I remember being up on the wall for quite some time. I didn't really see much. I just saw a bunch of dust and debris flying. I came down, and the ride from the wall to the ground was pretty hard, but I'm OK. Thank God for everything that NASCAR has done to keep this sport safe, 'cause for me to get out of my car on my own power after a hit like that is pretty incredible."
Almost bound as brothers by their similar crashes, Dillon stopped by the Red Horse Racing hauler after the race was halted to check on Kennedy, who said he was fine despite the intensity of the wreck. The same couldn't be spoken for Kennedy's No. 11 entry, which was sheared at both ends.

Kennedy's truck collided with the No. 92 Ford of David Gilliland at the end of the frontstretch in the late stages of the race, scheduled for 150 laps. Gilliland said a miscommunication between spotters led to the contact, which turned Kennedy's truck to the right, where it was struck by the oncoming truck of John Wes Townley, causing the No. 11 Tundra to lift.
Kennedy's truck struck the support of the catch fence and ripped fence netting away, but no injuries to fans in the grandstands were reported. It finally came to a halt after scraping along the top of the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barrier in Turns 1 and 2.
After getting initial reports about Kennedy's condition, Red Horse team owner Tom DeLoach was breathing relief.
"Whew, at least my driver's OK. We can rebuild a truck," DeLoach said. "I'm proud of what the guys do. It's really the trucks that we build, but NASCAR's come up with a lot of innovation on the safety side. We're adhering to that, and it's keeping our drivers safe. So I have no complaints when it's protecting my driver."

NASCAR officials said they made the decision to shorten the race based on the estimated time required to make repairs to the catch fencing. Speedway workers were already mending the retaining fence and checking the SAFER barrier less than an hour after the race's conclusion, and a NASCAR spokesman said that repairs would be in place in time for on-track activity to resume Friday morning.
Kentucky Speedway president Mark Simendinger said that no debris went into fan areas and that he was "encouraged by the integrity" of the fence after the crash. The grandstand seating at Kentucky, Simendinger said, is elevated by design in the interest of improving both fan safety and sightlines.
Though lap speeds for the Sprint Cup Series at 2.5-mile Daytona are roughly 20-25 mph faster than the truck series' speeds at the smaller, 1.5-mile Kentucky track, the Kennedy crash occurred at one of the fastest points on the circuit. The speed combined with the larger factor of the physics involved in how the three trucks came together contributed to Kennedy's truck lifting off the surface.
Though the two incidents involving the catch fence occurred in less than a week's span, Crafton called the two events simply a "perfect storm." Gilliland was also hesitant to label the two crashes a trend.
"I'm upset that that whole deal happened at the end. You don't ever want to be a part of anything like that," Gilliland said. " It's super-scary. There's no trend to it; it's just racing. I think we all kind of know the dangers when we buckle in, and NASCAR does a great job with the safety. They look at everything, and they'll look at this and see what could've been done different or whatever and go from there -- same thing that we did with last week's wreck."

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