Fiery ARCA crash at Talladega

ARCA driver Derrick Lancaster has been hospitalized after a fiery crash during Saturday’s race at Talladega. Lancaster’s car burst into flames after hitting hit the wall on the backstretch. The car was on fire for a significant amount of time before he was able to get it stopped and get out. 

Lancaster’s wife Elizabeth said on Facebook that Derrick had been placed on a ventilator to help his lungs recover. She said Sunday morning on Facebook that scans had shown no damage to the lungs or trachea and that he would be on the ventilator for 48-72 hours.

Elizabeth Lancaster said Saturday after the wreck that Derrick had sustained significant burns to his arms, neck and face. She said that Lancaster had not suffered any broken bones

The Talladega wreck is the second time Lancaster, 48, has been injured in a scary crash in the last year. He suffered a hairline basilar skull fracture in an August late model car crash in Tennessee. 

Dale Earnhardt died at the end of the 2001 Daytona 500 after suffering a basilar skull fracture when his car hit the wall head-on. Earnhardt’s death helped lead to a lot of NASCAR safety advancements including the mandatory use of head and neck restraints for all drivers. Those restraints are mandatory in ARCA and at all three NASCAR national series levels and help prevent a driver’s neck from snapping forward when a car is in a crash. 

Saturday’s Talladega race was Lancaster’s seventh ARCA Series start. He finished sixth in February’s race at Daytona. ARCA is roughly the fourth level of NASCAR — step below NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series and three steps below NASCAR’s top-tier Cup Series.