MADISON, Ill.– Multiple drivers in Sunday’s Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway experienced day-ending brake rotor failure.
The problem was due to the track. The long straightaways meant the drivers braked hard going into the corner, then cooled the brakes on those long straightaways. That caused the brake rotors to eventually explode, like hot glass that suddenly cools.
Carson Hocevar (lap 90), Tyler Reddick (lap 174), Noah Gragson and Bubba Wallace (lap 235) all fell victim to the blown rotors.
For Gragson, the hit was especially hard. He completely turned and slammed the driver’s side into the wall in turn one.
“It was a hard a** hit for sure,” Gragson said on FS1. “Hit the brakes into one and the car shut down and blew the left front brake rotor I think out of it. At that point your like ‘S**t what do I do’?”
It was a hot Sunday at Gateway but, given the lightning delay, the majority of the race was run quite cooler than expected and ended under the lights. That clearly didn’t stop the rotors from blowing.
The series now heads to Sonoma, California for the Toyota Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. We will see if there are similar rotor problems due to how much stress the track will put on the brakes.