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Elliott Sadler Survives Terrible Pocono NASCAR Wreck

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Elliott Sadler emerged sore but otherwise unscathed after a horrible crash at Pocono Raceway during Sunday's NASCAR race.

Sadler's car crashed headfirst into an inside wall that had dirt behind it and was unprotected by the SAFER Barriers (the so-called "soft walls") that are standard for most every area of every track.

The impact was so tremendous, Sadler's entire engine actually came out of his car. Sadler winced in pain as he climbed from the wreckage of his vehicle, then immediately lay down on the pavement as safety workers arrived.

"I'm OK," he said after being released from the infield care center. "I'm a little sore. The breath definitely got knocked out of me. It was probably the hardest hit I've ever had in a race car, but I've got to thank all my guys back at home that put these things together. ...  I'm still in one piece, so it did its job."

Sadler said he wasn't sure what happened in the wreck, which was started when Jimmie Johnson got into the back of Kurt Busch ahead of him.

Replays were inconclusive, except for the final impact.

"Somebody just ran into the back of us and turned us inside through the wet grass into the guardrail, so I was along for the ride," Sadler said. "It was a very hard hit. I'm a little sore through my chest and my stomach, but that's from where the seatbelts did their job and grabbed me and kept me in the car, so I'm thankful for that."

Several drivers have criticized Pocono for not doing more to implement safety enhancements at a track that has seen multiple scary crashes over the years.

Driver Greg Biffle said recently that "the track hasn't responded" to those concerns.

"It is clear we have come close to hurting people there in the past," he said. "...It is a matter of time (before someone gets hurt or worse). That is all there is to it.

"That grass, at 200 mph, you can't control your car if you end up there. There have been several spectacular crashes there and they are pretty scary wrecks. ... That is a bad spot on the racetrack right there. They would be better off putting an inside wall there like they have at Indy. They you can't go off into the grass."

The Associated Press reported that safety improvements are already in the plans for next season, but they nearly didn't come soon enough for Sadler.