Ryan Newman’s day ended early, and horribly Sunday. On lap 57 of the NASCAR Sprint Cup series Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen Newman exited turn 5 and went wide at turn 6. He shot across the turn and back on the track hitting the rear of the Ford driven by Greg Biffle. Newman’s Chevy was sent nose first into the inside wall. The car bounced back onto the track and was hit by the car driven by Michael McDowell. Both cars exploded and McDowell’s was sent airborne into the outside wall.
“It’s just the wrong place at the wrong time.,” Newman said. “From my standpoint, (Greg) Biffle jumped the curb and hit the splitter or something up on the curb and got out and got across the grass. And I probably could have given him a little bit more, but I tried to time it so I could shoot past but he slowed down when he got back on the race track.”
Newman then went on to criticize the track.
“It’s really disappointing,” he said. “We lost John Melvin here in the last couple of weeks and he did a lot of innovations for our sport and it’s really sad that they haven’t adapted any of them here at this race track. The Safer barrier doesn’t exist here, there are no concrete walls; it’s just a very antiquated race track and the safety is not at all up to NASCAR’s standards and it’s a shame that we have to have accidents like that to prove it. Hopefully something will change the next time we come back.”
“I’m okay. It’s just the wrong place at the wrong time. From my standpoint, (Greg) Biffle jumped the curb and hit the splitter or something up on the curb and got out and got across the grass. And I probably could have given him a little bit more, but I tried to time it so I could shoot past but he slowed down when he got back on the race track.
“Just really sad to see the antiquated walls around this race track and a lack of safety,” Newman added. “They have no problems spending 400 million dollars in Daytona, but they could spend a few million dollars here on safety and make a lot of drivers happy.”
The crash caused damage to the ARMCO barrier forcing NASCAR to red flag the race for nearly 1:25 minutes while track crews made repairs.
NASCAR vice president of competition Ryan Pemberton appeared on ESPN during the red flag period and said the incident would be reviewed but stopped short of saying that any changes to the barrier would be in order.
“They all get reviewed. it’s a constant improvement process,” Pemberton said. “We are only here one weekend a year. Watkins Glen has made great advancements (but) Not all places are places are places for safer barriers, as you saw with the earlier incident with Cole Whitt.”
On lap 10 Whitt lost his brakes entering turn 1 and crashed head on into a tire barrier; he climbed from the car uninjured.
AJ Allmendinger held off Marcos Ambrose for the win.