Jeff Gordon suffers severe damage after garage collision with Clint Bowyer.
Unlike V8 Supercars or Formula One, which has dedicated pitlane garages; NASCAR has a paddock-based garage system behind the pit wall. During practice drivers bring their cars back to the garage area for adjustments and discussion with their crew.
As well as working teams, other people have access to the area and it can be overcrowded as Bowyer and Gordon found out.
Bowyer had already been released from his garage and was travelling along the access road back to the pit road, when Gordon’s crew backed him out in the direct path of the Toyota driver.
“There are so many people in here,” said Bowyer.
“Hell, I glanced up … all that (equipment) was there; that guy backing him out, I think he glanced up for a second but when I got there he wasn’t even looking.
“There’s just so much going on (in the garage). It’s a wonder that stuff doesn’t happen more often.”
Bowyer’s car sustained only minor damage to the front end and was eventually able to return to the track. Gordon’s car required significant repairs to the right-rear quarter panel. The repairs were not completed by the end of the session.
A pit cart, used to ferry equipment from the team’s transporter to the garage stall, blocked the view of Gordon’s car as it rolled out of its garage.
“The whole weekend hasn’t gone very well so far,” said Gordon.
“The guy that backs me out looked over, I guess he was just starting to back me out … I crept out there and he cleared me, but the No. 15 (Bowyer), probably couldn’t really see me because of that pit cart.
“I don’t know if he kind of glanced away or what, but when he looked back, I was just right there and couldn’t go anywhere. It’s kind of a combination of, I guess, both of us could take fault in that.”
Bowyer will start 18th while Gordon will start 23rd for the 5-Hour Energy 301 at the 1.058-mile track.