FOX NASCAR Insider
When Jordan Anderson’s truck instantly caught fireplace and slid throughout a race final month at Talladega Superspeedway, he was in a position to see the wall as he unbuckled his seatbelts.
Sure, I knew that I may get damage. However the warmth within the cabin was so intense that he did not care that he may hit the wall with out being strapped to his automobile.
“Everybody thought he could not see the place he was going,” Anderson stated. “However I may see the wall. My aim was to shoot in the direction of the wall as a result of a minimum of that may assist gradual me down and get me out of there.”
“In order that was my aim: attempt to time him to hit the wall and are available out of it on the similar time.”
Anderson executed the exit completely, as he was in a position to leap out of his seat and onto the door window when his truck hit the wall. Both he was very fortunate or he has an innate potential to carry out a trick in a life-threatening state of affairs.
“Somebody stated that James Bond makes use of a double and I do my very own stunts,” Anderson stated. “Not precisely the way you wish to do the spotlight reel.”
The 31-year-old driver and staff proprietor returned to the monitor 4 weeks after his accident to observe his Xfinity Sequence staff compete at Martinsville Speedway. He wore a turtleneck whereas recovering from burns on his neck and arms.
Few may consider that he had not suffered fractures or different severe accidents. He had been airlifted to hospital after the accident, however he was launched that night time after being handled for second-degree burns to his neck, arms, arms and knees.
Anderson, in an interview final month in Martinsville, defined what occurred within the truck, its escape and the safety staff.
The burns were the result of an intense fire that reached the cabin. Some thought it was engine failure that started the fire, but Anderson said no.
“Something got into the oil line, the main feed line that’s in front of the engine and put a hole in it and basically spilled the contents of the entire oil tank on the heads. That’s why the fire was so big and so fast”. Anderson said.
The fire apparently broke out through some of the ductwork normally used to cool the cabin, Anderson said. NASCAR took over the truck after the accident and could consider changes to avoid such a problem in similar situations.
“It came through the hose through me and out through the window mesh,” Anderson said. “That’s why it was so bad and it got so hot. It was just a weird deal.”
The truck, like all NASCAR national series vehicles, has two fire extinguishers. There is one in the fuel cell area. That fire extinguisher must be heat activated, and it looks like it was activated in Anderson’s accident.
NASCAR also requires a fire extinguisher in the cockpit. That is activated manually (usually with a switch a driver can reach from the cab) with the driver’s option to activate it by heat.
Drivers may be reluctant to have it heat activated due to the possibility of it going off while the vehicle is still in racing condition and also filling the cabin with extinguishing chemicals while the driver is still behind the wheel.
Anderson said he didn’t think to try to activate the cabin fire extinguisher because he was in a hurry to get out.
“There’s a lot going on, that wasn’t even on my mind, I was just unbuckling, working my way out of the truck,” he said.
“Every driver handles things differently, but that was the last thing on my mind, was looking for that thing.”
Anderson wore all required safety gear, including a fire suit and a helmet that had an attached neck skirt. The fire did not go through his suit. He said that he could make some adjustments to the neck skirt, but everything worked as designed.
“My suit and everything did what it was supposed to do,” Anderson said. “It was just that the fire was so hot and for so long that it radiated through the suit.”
A driver is not required to wear anything under a fire suit, but Anderson had a cool shirt — a shirt that pumps out cold water to help the driver not overheat — underneath.
“He had a jersey on, he had a cool jersey on, so he served as that,” Anderson said.
“I’m very happy that I put on the jersey because my arm was very, very bad.”
Obviously, Anderson’s escape was risky. He was unbuckling as the truck slid. Obviously, drivers would want to stay buckled up, but he felt he had no choice.
“It got hot right there,” Anderson said. “People probably thought he was crazy to jump out of there.
“But that was the best case scenario at the time. I didn’t want to stay there any longer. It was a crazy deal for sure.”
Anderson has been in a burn center at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist for severe burns to his lower neck and arm. She did not need any surgery in the month after the accident as her burns healed faster than normal.
“I definitely count my blessings and I’m thankful that God kept me safe through all of those things,” Anderson said. “It was definitely a huge reality check to go through all of that.
“I’m incredibly grateful and thankful that things weren’t worse than they could have been.”
Some drivers who have been in life-threatening crashes prefer not to see them and relive the agony.
But Anderson hasn’t approached his recovery that way. He has wanted to analyze how it happened, what can be done differently in the future and how he managed to escape.
“I youtubed every angle I could find just to see what happened and how close it was,” Anderson said. “It was pretty crazy to watch.
“I don’t try not to think about it. I just take it as I count my blessings a lot more, and it’s a lot of fuel to come back stronger and keep pushing.”
Yes, it will compete again, starting in 2023.
“God is not through with me,” Anderson said. “I’m still here for a reason. That’s for sure.”
Thinking out loud
There was some discussion on social media last week about whether a final “round” of a championship race is the best format. Or if there should be multiple races so that one bad day, a mechanical failure, does not cost a driver a title.
A three-race championship format would be more fair. It would allow for a variety of tracks to determine a champion among the championship’s four finalists. NASCAR could potentially devise a format where a victory in the final race could virtually win the title unless a driver had a disastrous first two races.
I would like that kind of format. I think it would be better to crown a true champion.
But this elimination system is not designed to crown a true champion in many ways. A true champion, for many, is based on a season-long point system.
If the system is designed for a mix of competition and drama, the one-race championship format has delivered on both. NASCAR should rotate the championship track so that it doesn’t favor (or disadvantage) one driver year after year, but as far as whether the format needs a change, the playoffs have been enthusiastically delivered and have worked well enough for the cliché don’t be broke, don’t fix it, apply.
Stat of the day
Many fans know that 19 drivers have won a Cup race this year. But how about this: 16 Drivers won a Cup pole in 2022: Joey Logano (four), Christopher Bell (four), Kyle Larson (four), Chase Elliott (three), Denny Hamlin (three), Ryan Blaney (three), Tyler Reddick (three), William Byron (one), Chase Briscoe (one), Austin Cindric (one), Martin Truex Jr. (one), Bubba Wallace (one), Aric Almirola (one), Chris Buescher (one), Brad Keselowski (one), and Cole Custer (one).
they said it
“So that we have two championships in the same year, that’s why we’re here. That’s the goal we have every year.” —Roger Penske on his IndyCar and NASCAR Cup teams winning drivers’ championships in the same season for the first time
Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including the last 30 Daytona 500, with stints on ESPN, Sporting News, the NASCAR Scene Magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrassand enroll within the FOX Sports activities NASCAR E-newsletter with Bob Pockrass.
Get extra from the NASCAR Cup Sequence Comply with your favorites to get details about video games, information and extra