Marco Andretti’s rear-end housing coming clean off his truck at the NASCAR Truck Series race at the Circuit of the Americas last weekend was alarming but the mechanics behind it were fascinating. Recently, former Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Steve Letarte and Cup Series-winning crew chief Todd Gordon broke down what exactly went wrong when Andretti had that incident. Letarte described the incident as violent, and after their explanation of how everything happened, it is understandable why.

Cup Series-winning crew chief explains the mechanical aspect of the incident

The rear-end housing is held in place by a few elements. The truck arms run almost the whole length of the floor and the nuts connect the arms to the rear housing with the help of a U-bolt. According to Gordon, when the driver steps on the brakes, the rear-end housing flexes these truck arms, and if there is a change in the grip from the tires, it causes a bouncing mechanism that keeps on putting pressure onto it.


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“The Truck arms are 51 inches long and that’s a kind of cantilevered I-beam. It flexes. As the brakes get on the rear, it’s rolling that housing and it’s flexing those truck arms up. And then as you lose contact patch…when the tire starts to grip or lose its grip, it unloads that and becomes this bouncing mechanism and it just keeps loading, unloading that I-beam,” Gordon said.

The inside seemed quite scary and with good reason. When Letarte said that the whole incident seemed violent. Todd Gordon explained why. Turns out that Marco Andretti landed on the hard asphalt with hard steel under his feet and no wheels to break the fall.

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For Marco Andretti, it was quite a painful experience


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As Gordon explained the painful fate Andretti suffered, Steve Letarte said that there was nothing in the car that seemed out of place. This means that this is a problem that NASCAR needs to deal with and fast. The Cup cars are at a very low risk of suffering such an accident but the same cannot be said for the Xfinity Series cars and Trucks. If not dealt with, someone else may suffer the same fate and have a painful experience.

“I can’t imagine how these things…it had to be so violent inside that truck,” Letarte said of the incident. Todd Gordon agreed and said, “You saw how hard the truck came up because it had to kind of drive over the tires. I can’t imagine how hard the hit was when it came back down just on steel.”


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There has been a lot of confusion over why this exactly happened and it seems like we finally have a clear-cut answer. It will be interesting to see how NASCAR handles this issue and what measures they take to prevent it ahead of the next race in Richmond.

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