In the late laps of Thursday night's Camping World Truck Series race at Kentucky, Kennedy moved up in front of another truck. He said he heard he was clear on his radio. He was not. His truck got turned head-on into the wall.
As he hit the wall, Kennedy was t-boned by John Wes Townley. The impact lifted his truck off the ground and spun it around. The rear of the truck caught the catchfence above the wall, tearing a hole in the fence.
Kennedy, the nephew of NASCAR chairman Brian France, was able to walk from his mangled truck and was visibly shaken up in a television interview after the accident.
"Thank the good Lord for keeping me safe and everything NASCAR does to keep these trucks safe because had this been years ago I don't know if I would have gotten out of my truck under my own power like that," Kennedy said. "It's pretty incredible."
"I was just coming down the front straightaway and I heard 'clear' and I guess [David Gilliland] had a run on the outside. As soon as I heard 'clear' I wanted to get a good arc into the corner so I ran up towards the wall and got hit in the right rear and I guess the rest is history."
While fans gathered at the scene of the accident following the crash, no fans were visible on replay in the vicinity when the crash happened. The track's president said no debris went into the stands.
The race was called with five laps to go and Matt Crafton, leading at the time of the accident, was declared the winner. A repair to the fence was estimated at over 90 minutes by NASCAR, too long to fix for five laps of racing.
While the incidents involving Kennedy and Dillon look similar, it's important to note they come at two different types of tracks and are precipitated by different circumstances. Daytona typically involves big packs of cars and is 2.5 miles long. Kentucky has lower banking and is 1.5 miles in length, though speeds aren't much slower, especially for the Truck Series.
While Dillon's car flew over two lanes of traffic before hitting the fence, Kennedy's truck appears to have gotten airborne because of the scale of the head-on impact into the wall.
The wall was not covered in SAFER barrier, a wall that has foam insulation for energy absorption. It was a bare concrete wall like the wall Kyle Busch hit at Daytona where he suffered a broken foot and a broken leg in February. The impact from the wall appeared to have lifted Kennedy's rear tires off the ground before he was hit by Townley, making it very easy to lift the truck into the air and into the catchfence.
But despite the lack of obvious connections between the two crashes, it's still a disturbing coincidence for NASCAR.
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