Photo credit: @keselowski
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- Brad Keselowski escaped uninjured -- "still upright," in his words -- after a scary crash Tuesday during an organizational test for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams at Watkins Glen International.
Keselowski had just turned a session-topping 124.572 mph on his 18th lap of the day, best of the 14 drivers participating on the freshly repaved 2.45-mile road course. But just after registering that speed, the rear brakes on his Team Penske No. 2 Ford failed, sending Keselowski's car nose-first into the tire-pack barrier in Turn 1 at the end of the long frontstretch.
"Just the pedal went to the floor," Keselowski said. "It means that you've lost brakes on one of the corners. At a track like this, you're already on the edge. You don't have any room or margin for something to fail. That's the way it is."
The wreck occurred midway through Tuesday's afternoon session on the first day of a two-day organizational test before the series' Aug. 7 Cheez-It 355 at the Glen. Keselowski was evaluated and released from the infield care center, no worse for wear, but crew chief Paul Wolfe still lamented the circumstances.
"Frustrating. You hate to put Brad in that situation," Wolfe said. "Lost rear brakes there. The fronts locked up; once you lose rear brakes like that, there's nothing you can do. Just pumping the pedal and it's not going to come back. It's unacceptable. Just got to see how we can prevent it from happening again."
Keselowski tweeted video of the heavy crash and a photo of his bent steering wheel on social media to illustrate the wreck's severity.
I'm ok! pic.twitter.com/Cu9yPYQnFG— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) July 26, 2016
Team Penske unloaded a reserve No. 2 Ford -- a car that's been a backup at several events this season -- which it planned to put on the track Wednesday.
"We'll get it ready and we'll see how Brad feels," Wolfe said. "He obviously wants to get back out there, but it's not the end of the world. Fortunately we had a good test going. We were really fast, so I'm not concerned if we don't get out again. We'll get this prepared and sleep on this tonight and evaluate in the morning."
Said Keselowski: "That was a test car. This is a race car. You hate to run your race cars, but we came all the way out here and not very often you get to test here, so you don't want to waste it. We'll make it work."
The situation was reminiscent of a 2011 incident in which Keselowski lost his brakes during a test at Road Atlanta and broke his left ankle in the ensuing impact. He was not injured in the Watkins Glen wreck.