Kevin Harvick was eliminated from the Kobalt 400 after he lost a tire and shot into the frontstretch wall late in the first stage of the race.
Harvick, the NASCAR Cup Series points leader entering the weekend, was running in the top 10 when he crashed on Lap 69, 11 laps from the end of the stage.
“(The tire) started vibrating about four or five laps there before it blew out, and I was just trying to ride it to the end of the stage there,” Harvick told Fox Sports. “Obviously, it didn’t make it.”
Harvick went on to criticize the response time of the safety crew that arrived at his crashed No. 4 car.
“The worst part was the medical response,” Harvick said. “It took them forever to get to the car. I thought we made that better, but obviously we haven’t. … We were just too loose right there. It’s not like we were even tight, so it either just cut the tire, or came apart or melted the bead.”
The Fox broadcast showed safety workers didn’t reach Harvick’s car until at least 90 seconds after the impact.
Prior to the season, NASCAR partnered with American Medical Response to establish a travelling safety team. The partnership provides a chase vehicle that is sent to the accident site and include an AMR doctor and a paramedic to administer care when needed.
Harvick entered the Kobalt 400 having won three stages in the first two races and led the most laps of any driver. He started the race in 19th.