While Daytona Speedweeks is a distant memory for most drivers and fans, the image of Geoffrey Bodine's near-fatal crash in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Daytona 250 will forever remind the racing community that building a safe vehicle is the most important aspect of racing.
Amidst the 14 countable rollovers, Bodine's #15 Line-X Craftsman Truck disintegrated around him until nothing was left except part of the rollcage and the seat. The engine separated from the chassis, the sheetmetal flew off the car, and the fuel cell released its flammable contents. Even worse, fans were injured as the damaged catchfence failed to keep all the debris on the track.
Bodine was knocked unconscious; suffered multiple bruises, lacerations, and burns; a fractured right wrist; and a fractured mid-back vertebra (which healed quickly and completely), among other minor injuries. From the looks of the accident, many people expected his injuries to be much worse. His ability to survive this horrific wreck can be attributed to his equipment. Along with the belts, helmet, seat, and other safety items, Bodine credits God as being his most valuable safety item, but that's another story altogether.
How Well Did the Safety Equipment Work?"There wasn't much left, but if you look at the remains of the truck, the main thing is that the seat stayed intact. It stayed in place and did its job the way it was intended," explains Bodine.
"The Bell helmet I wore took some tremendous blows," he recalls. "It was scratched up pretty bad, but I had no head injuries despite being knocked out after the first hard hit with the wall."
Seatbelts were another major factor in surviving this wreck. "I run my seatbelts as tight as possible all the time," he says. Belts will actually stretch considerably during an accident, as deceleration forces exceed 40 g's. His belts remained in place the entire time.
"I'm very happy with the way the whole safety system worked. I couldn't improve it," Bodine says. "It should have been a whole lot worse." Surviving this wreck was truly a miracle for Geofffrey Bodine.