Denny Hamlin was racing hard and didn't directly witness what happened to Ryan Preece during Saturday night's Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona. He did watch a replay of what happened to the driver of the No. 41 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing and later discussed it on his podcast.
The terrifying crash for Preece was viewed by many across social media and around the world. The wild barrel roll crash was by far the worst seen in NASCAR in some time. Preece flipped through the grass at least 12 times before coming to a stop back on what remained of his wheels.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) August 27, 2023
Hamlin jumped all over the incident on his podcast, "Actions Detrimental." The sport has seen a number of hard crashes in the Next Gen car, and Preece's terrifying wreck is a harsh reminder of how dangerous the sport is.
Hamlin first saw a replay while he was riding around during the caution.
"That's one of those worst-case scenario type things."@dennyhamlin reacts to scary wrecks from Daytona and shares the drivers perspective of incidents like these.
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"So they start to play it and so I'm driving, I'm looking ... and seeing him turn and start to flip, and I'm like, 'Oh wow he got some good air. Oh no!' I mean, as soon as his car hit the grass, I don't think I've ever seen one have that many rotations in the air," Hamlin said. "I mean, not since a U.S. gymnast have I seen that many barrel rolls before making contact. Holy cow."
The best news was that Preece was released from a local hospital in Daytona and returned home to Charlotte, North Carolina, after a night in the hospital for observation.
Hamlin was thankful to see that Preece was home and glad to see that he had also posted something on social media.
"I mean, we got news that Ryan's out of the hospital on his way to Charlotte now, so it seems like he's fine. Got a tweet from him last night, so I think he's going to be OK, so we can comment on it. But holy sh**. That thing was violent. That was the most violent barrel roll I've ever seen. Usually, you've seen in the old days when the cars would barrel roll, it'd be a little bit slower, and the car would dissipate more. His car really kind of stayed together, except for the roof hatch and the window net — yikes."
It certainly was a scary sight to see how quickly Preece's car started flipping. And it wasn't a very good night to be named Ryan, it seems, as Ryan Blaney also had a hard crash during the race.
Hamlin offered one good piece of advice to NASCAR after seeing such an ugly one-car crash — that the grass on the backstretch at Daytona needs to go.
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