The Top 5 Worst Crashes in NASCAR Racing History
Worst NASCAR Wrecks
NASCAR has been entertaining the masses and tittilating the adrenaline junkies of the world since 1948. Started as a family owned and operated business, it is now second only to the National Football League in terms of United States’ television ratings. Of course, half the reason NASCAR fans watch the sport is to wait and see who crashes. Usually, these accidents are minor and the racers walk away unharmed. But sometimes they aren’t always so tame. Read on to see SeatGeek’s list of the five worst NASCAR crashes…
Worst Crashes in NASCAR History & NASCAR Crash Videos
5. Michael Waltrip – Bristol Motor Speedway – 1990
Tennessee’s Bristol Motor Speedway has been causing NASCAR racers grief, and NASCAR fans heart attacks, for years now. Most recently, there was an accident involving Mark Harmon, in which he slammed into the track’s gate going over 100 mph. That accident phased race-goers, but not nearly as much as when it happened the first time. That’s right – back in 1990, Michael Waltrip did the same exact thing into the same exact gate, and his car essentially disintegrated in the same exact way. Oh, yeah, and both drivers were completely unscathed.
4. Lots o’ Drivers – Daytona Speedway – 1960
1960 wasn’t a great year for the NASCAR Grand National Division (now known as the Sprint Cup). That’s the year that a total of 13 cars were demolished in accidents, five drivers were hospitalized, and the largest crash in NASCAR history took place. Thirty-seven out of 68 cars were involved in a pile-up that – while causing no fatalities – ended the professional career of two drivers. This was a learning year for NASCAR in terms of new safety measures on the Daytona track.
3. Michael McDowell – Texas Motor Speedway – 2008
During a 2008 qualifying race at Texas Motor Speedway, Michael McDowell flipped his No. 00 Toyota at least eight times after it got loose and bounced off the track’s safety barrier. Miraculously, Michael walked away completely unharmed. The NASCAR racer has said about the accident, “For me to walk away from that wreck is unbelievable.” Unbelievable, indeed. Check it out for yourself below.
2. Rusty Wallace – Talladega Superspeedway – 1993
When a car flips into the air on a racetrack, there are two major concerns at play. The first is, obviously, the safety of the driver. But the second, and perhaps much more dangerous, concern, is that the car will flip its way into the audience. After Mike Wallace’s famous crash at Talladega in 1993, in which his Ford Thunderbird took flight (and luckily did NOT fly into the crowd), NASCAR introduced roof flaps onto racecars to safeguard against aerodynamic lift.
1. Dale Earnhardt Sr. – Daytona 500 – 2001
Arguably one of the most traumatic events in NASCAR history, the death of Dale Earnhardt Sr. shocked the racing community, and was a catalyst for a slew of new safety requirements in the sport. Compared to the last four accidents we listed, Earnhardt’s crash doesn’t seem so crazy to an onlooker. But it was the impact of his Chevrolet into the cement wall (after the accident, SAFER soft barriers were introduced) that was so detrimental. We aren’t into gore and violence, so rather than show gruesome footage, we chose a “Best of Dale Earnhardt” video to show below.