Ryan Blaney Says Nashville Wreck Was The Hardest Hit He’s Ever Taken In His NASCAR Career: “I’ll Pay For The F*cking” SAFER Barrier

Ryan Blaney NASCAR
Aaron Ryan/Whiskey Riff

He’s gonna be feeling that one this week.

It was a rough day at Nashville Superspeedway yesterday for Ryan Blaney, who took a hard hit on lap 149 of the NASCAR Cup Series race.

As the field came to the green flag for a restart following a caution for Tyler Reddick losing a tire on pit road, Brad Keselowski appeared to be unable to take off and stacked the field up behind him.

The chain reaction sent Blaney and Kyle Busch spinning through the infield grass. And while Busch was able to save his car, Blaney couldn’t get it pointed in the right direction before taking a hard hit into the wall inside of turn one.

To make matters worse for Blaney, he hit the wall in a place that doesn’t contain a SAFER barrier, the steel and foam energy reduction wall featured at all NASCAR tracks that absorbs the impact and helps to protect the drivers from taking hard hits like this.

It was a scary few moments after Blaney went headfirst in the concrete wall, with the driver telling his team on the radio that he needed help:

The driver of the #12 car for Team Penske eventually climbed out of the car to applause from the crowd, and was checked and released from the infield care center. But when meeting with the media after the crash, Blaney had some harsh words for NASCAR about the lack of SAFER barriers in the corner where he hit.

“I don’t know why there’s no SAFER barrier there. It’s pretty ridiculous honestly. Hardest hit I’ve ever had in my life.”

In fact Blaney even offered to pay to have the soft walls installed in that corner:

“I’m sure they’ll put one on it after this. It sucks that things like that have to happen and someone hit a wall head on like that, and then you’re like, ‘Oh, we’ll put a SAFER barrier on it now.’ 

It’s like, why are you not doing the whole track?

I’ll pay for the f*cking thing to get put on there. It’s 30 feet.”

NASCAR addressed the lack of a SAFER barrier on the part of the track by saying that they would evaluate the need for changes before returning to Nashville:

“NASCAR safety engineers work closely with safety experts on the implementation of barriers around the track. As we do following every race weekend, we will evaluate all available data and make any necessary improvements.”

(Not really sure what evaluations there is to do. Look at Blaney’s hit. There should be a SAFER barrier there).

The sport uses experts at the University of Nebraska, where the SAFER barrier was developed, to determine where the soft walls are needed. (Hint: Everywhere).

I guess we’ll have to wait and see, but I would highly suspect that when NASCAR returns to Nashville in 2024 we’ll see a SAFER barrier inside turn one. And after looking at Blaney’s hard hit, it’s pretty easy to see that one’s needed.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock