The bad news through the first half, roughly, of the 2015 international racing season is that there have been several major and severe looking accidents.
The good news is that in all of the above accidents, the drivers involved emerged almost completely unscathed and would race another day. Of the accidents, Busch was sidelined nearly half the year but returned to the track in May.
Here’s a rundown of the biggest thrills and spills thus far, from the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series, FIA Formula 1 and the Verizon IndyCar Series:
NASCAR Sprint Cup: Jamie McMurray’s spin triggers a large crash at Daytona
F1: Sauber’s Felipe Nasr has front-end impact in Canada
IndyCar: Ryan Briscoe survives horrific end-over-end accident in Fontana
NASCAR Xfinity Series: Erik Jones spun in second “big one” of Xfinity opener, while Kyle Busch slid into the unprotected inside retaining wall at Daytona
F1: Max Verstappen collects Romain Grosjean in the biggest wreck of the F1 season thus far, at Monaco
Xfinity: Daniel Suarez and Regan Smith are caught up in the first “big one” at the Xfinity opener
IndyCar: Ed Carpenter goes in backwards and catches air on Sunday morning of Indy 500 qualifying
F1: Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso have a scary coming together in Austria
Sprint Cup: Trevor Bayne hits the backstraight wall at Talladega in another “big one”
IndyCar: Helio Castroneves’ aerial flight in Indy 500 practice kicks off a concerning week of accidents
Sprint Cup: Austin Dillon’s crash in Daytona was the scariest one of the year by far
The magic of dirt racing wins for Kyle Larson continued Thursday night at Knoxville Raceway, where he scored his third consecutive World of Outlaws victory at the famed half-mile track to open “The One and Only.”
After starting 10th, Larson sliced through the field and passed pole-sitter Logan Schuchart to lead the final eight laps in the No. 57 of car owner Paul Silva.
“Just an awesome race,” Larson said after earning $10,000 for his second consecutive NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series victory (after winning at Pevely, Missouri, last Saturday), his sixth Outlaws victory this season and 14th of his career.
“I was able to track Logan down and hit the bottom really well in (turns) 1 and 2 and got a run on him. It felt like I needed to take advantage of that before we got to heavier traffic and slid him and felt some contact. So, glad to see him not in the wall or anything like that. Just, hard work there. Heartbeat is up again.”
The One and Only continues Friday night with another $10,000 feature race that will set the starting lineup for Saturday’s Brownells Capitani Classic, which pays $50,000 to win.
The event is the Outlaws’ richest purse of 2020 and subs in for the annual Knoxville Nationals, which was canceled for COVID-19 concerns. Larson, a two-time Knoxville Nationals runner-up, has said winning The One and Only would be on the same as Knoxville’s signature event because of its tough three-day format.
Through the first of three nights, Schuchart and Larson are tied for second in The One and Only points standings, which factor in qualifying, heats, dash and feature races. Aaron Reutzel, an All Star Circuit of Champions stalwart who finished third Thursday, leads with 430 points.
A crash in Thursday’s 25-lap feature eliminated past Outlaws champions Brad Sweet and Donny Schatz after Cory Eliason spun in front of Sweet in Turn 1 to start the wreck, which also collected Sweet’s teammate, James McFadden. Sweet and Schatz finished outside the top 20, which moved Schuchart into the points lead for the 2020 season.
Schuchart still seemed slightly miffed after finishing second to Larson.
“As the race went on, I felt like I wasn’t hitting my marks as good,” he said. “I would have liked to of had a little bit better of a race with Kyle there. I wish his slide job was a little better there, but he’s got a reputation to live up to. That’s where you let other people make the rules and maybe we’ll get him next time.”