Jeff Gordon's 2008 UAW-Dodge 400 crash (lost on-board footage of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race crash; 2008)

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Jeffgordonvegascrash1.jpg

Jeff Gordon about to crash into the wall.

Status: Lost

On 2nd March 2008, during lap 264 of the 2008 UAW-Dodge 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Gordon crashed heavily into the inside backstretch retaining wall after being clipped by the Ford of Matt Kenseth. While he escaped uninjured, Gordon would later state that it was "probably the hardest I’ve ever hit". The crash was shown on television from a variety of issues, but no on-board footage was publicly released because Gordon's race crew deemed it too disturbing to air.

Background[edit | edit source]

Heading into the 2008 UAW-Dodge 400, Jeff Gordon, who was driving a Chevrolet for the season, was in 15th place in the standings with 221 points.[1] He qualified fourth out of 47 competitors with a speed of 181.238 mph.[2][3] On lap 264 of the race, Gordon was behind Matt Kenseth, who was attempting to overtake the Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt Jr..[4] Suddenly, Earnhardt spun his tyres, allowing both Kenseth and Gordon the opportunity to overtake him, electing to go to the outside and inside lanes respectively.[4] But as Kenseth passed Earnhardt, he clipped Gordon's Chevrolet after that latter drifted into him, causing himself to spin, and Gordon to be directed into the inside retaining wall at high speed.[5][6][7][4] Whereas Kenseth was able to continue, Gordon slammed into a wall that lacked a steel and foam energy reduction (SAFER) barrier.[7][6][5][4] The resulting crash proved violent, with his car's radiator breaking free from the chassis.[7][6] Gordon would later express that he was responsible for the collision with Kenseth, and that he hit the wall at the worst angle possible, which he claims contributed towards the car tearing up.[8][6]

Despite the high-impact crash, Gordon was shaken but escaped serious injury.[5] He did however suffer a sore stomach and a banged-up elbow, as well as back pain that was only rectified with a procedure over a year following the crash.[9][10] Following this, Gordon stated that the accident was “probably the hardest I’ve ever hit.”[6] He criticised the lack of SAFER barrier present, stating "I’m really disappointed right now in this speedway for not having a soft wall back there, and even being able to get to that part of the wall. That kind of hit shouldn’t happen. It’s just uncalled for. There’s no reason why any track should have that (kind of opening)."[7][6][5] After receiving this criticism, Las Vegas Motor Speedway officials announced that a SAFER barrier would be installed along the wall for future events.[5][6] Nevertheless, Gordon remained concerned over the officials refusing to redesign the opening so that no other cars could ever reach the wall.[5] He also praised the HANS device, stating it saved his life.[11][12] The HANS device is currently on display at the National Museum of American History.[11]

Availability[edit | edit source]

The crash itself was captured live, and would be replayed from multiple external angles.[13] However, no footage was ever publicly released from the perspective of three on-board cameras, including one at the front, rear, and one facing towards Gordon.[13] The only on-board clips that were broadcast were Gordon unbuckling following the accident.[13] The reason behind the footage being withheld was at the request of Gordon's team, Hendrick Motorsports,[12] who found that Gordon's body shifted in a disturbing manner during the accident.[13][14] Gordon did request to see the on-board footage a few days after the race, but aside from this, it remains publicly inaccessible.[13]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Video[edit | edit source]

Footage of the crash.


See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Racing-Reference noting Gordon's place in the points standings heading into the race. Retrieved 24 Apr '22
  2. Racing-Reference detailing qualifying results for the race. Retrieved 24 Apr '22
  3. Racing-Reference detailing the qualifying and race results of the event. Retrieved 24 Apr '22
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Archived NASCAR detailing how the incident occurred. Retrieved 24 Apr '22
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 The New York Times detailing the crash and Las Vegas officials' efforts to prevent a future accident. Retrieved 24 Apr '22
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Fox Sports summarising the accident and providing a quote from Gordon about how he hit the barrier at the worst angle possible. Retrieved 24 Apr '22
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting on Gordon's comments following the accident. Retrieved 24 Apr '22
  8. Autosport reporting on the accident and Gordon accepting responsibility for causing the Kenseth collision. Retrieved 24 Apr '22
  9. Arkansas Online reporting on Gordon's long-term pain following the crash. Retrieved 24 Apr '22
  10. Bleacher Report noting Gordon's back issues following the crash. Retrieved 24 Apr '22
  11. 11.0 11.1 National Museum of American History detailing the HANS device that saved Gordon's life. Retrieved 24 Apr '22
  12. 12.0 12.1 ESPN discussing the crash and how the HANS device saved Gordon's life. Retrieved 24 Apr '22
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 Influential Moments in Racing detailing the on-board footage that was never publicly released. Retrieved 24 Apr '22
  14. r/NASCAR discussing the on-board video that was never publicly released. Retrieved 24 Apr '22