Kasey Kahne’s last-lap crash into a concrete barrier at Sonoma Raceway raised questions about why there wasn’t an energy-absorbing SAFER barrier in that location.
Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, discussed the matter Monday on “The Morning Drive.’’
“In terms of NASCAR racing, I think a lot of times fans think that NASCAR is the only racing that occurs on a specific track,’’ O’Donnell said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “When you look at a track like when we’re at Sonoma, every day there is something different going on at that facility. What we’ve got to do is think about all those factors, and then when we race how does it impact, obviously, our product and the track be as safe as possible.
“We have what we believe to be the safest conditions going into that facility. Any time you see a hit like that, obviously, you’re going to learn and react and see what we can do. In this case, that’s something we’ll take a quick look at for sure, looking at the angle. One of the things on road courses you’ve got to keep in mind is the trajectory of the hit, when a car bounces off the wall does it come right back into the racing surface and that’s a tight area potentially at Sonoma.
“I think you’ll see us react quickly with the safety and make sure that if a SAFER barrier needs to be in there, we’ll make that happens for sure.’’
Kahne crashed at the end of the frontstretch after an incident with Kevin O’Connell.
Kahne was uninjured in the accident but the car suffered significant damage.
After the race, Kahne described what happened.
“It was a hard hit. No. 15 (O’Connell), no clue who he is, I saw him a lot today lapping him, but he went low down the front stretch and then just, I was going to his outside and he just turned right and just hit me, put me straight in the wall getting the white flag there. No clue what he was thinking.”