Following the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway in April, the NASCAR Research & Development Center based out of Concord, North Carolina, did an analysis on the late-race rollover incident involving Kyle Larson and his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.
NASCAR officials looked through various camera angles using freeze frame photos and determined that the No. 24 of driver William Byron made contact with the No. 42 behind the right front tire.
As a result of the contact, damage from the collision caused the lift when Larson’s car slid sideways toward the inside retaining wall. NASCAR’s wind tunnel data shows that an undamaged car would lift off only at speeds greater than 250 mph. The damage sustained on Larson’s car, the analysis showed, would have decreased the liftoff speed by 70 mph.
"Cars getting airborne for us is a big deal. We’ve done a lot of work in wind tunnels and (simulators) to mitigate the ability of the car to get airborne," Senior Vice President of Racing Innovation John Probst said Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "At this point, our conclusion is the reason that car got off the ground is from that contact with the 24 that led to the spin to the right."
After many hours and simulator tests, NASCAR officials are not requiring any changes to the cars.
"From our side, we plan no changes to the car based on this," Probst said. "To get it to where there is a 0% chance of a car getting off the ground, the cars would be going very slow. We’re not recommending any changes to the car or the track. I will say, we have personnel that regularly visit the tracks to look at those sorts of things."