The look on Kasey Kahne’s face said helplessness, shock and grave fear of what might have happened.
Early in Sunday’s Windows 10 400, Kahne’s Chevrolet spun dramatically down the track at Pocono Raceway, pointing his race car straight at the retaining wall protecting pit road from the various pit boxes.
Unable to avoid that wall, all Kahne could think was “People behind that wall better run away.”
The wall held up, despite pieces of Kahne’s car impaling the wall’s surface. The collision was so severe that helmets crewmen wear when they go over that wall became projectiles, flying 20-some feet into the air.
Fortunately, there were no injuries. But this served as a reminder to the crews and various spectators circulating behind pit road to always stay alert.
Kahne’s accident was the third time over the weekend that a vehicle ended up crashing into pit road. Jeb Burton and trucks driver Ray Black Jr. also ended up there, but nothing in the other two incidents compared with the impact of Kahne’s car.
The left-front side of Kahne’s car was shattered, so much so that pieces of metal stuck through to the back of the pit wall. NASCAR called for a red flag, stopping the race entirely for nearly 15 minutes so repairs could be made to reinforce that damaged area of wall, just in front of A.J. Allmendinger’s pit stall.
Allmendinger’s team reported no injuries as result of the crash.
The damage to Kahne’s car was unfixable, assuring he’d finish this race last. That’s another blow in what has been a “real rough month” – Kahne’s words – for the No. 5 team.
In Kahne’s previous four Sprint Cup races he’d finished 32nd, 27th, 19th and 24th. This last-place finish further squeezes his chances of qualifying for the season-ending “Chase” playoffs. Particularly so with Kyle Busch having all but wrapped up a Chase spot, despite missing the first 11 races of the season with a broken left foot and right leg.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129: @rick_bonnell