Eric McClure hardly recalls anything after slamming the wall head-on in the Nationwide race at Talladega Superspeedway. But he has a vivid — and blood-curdling — recollection of what happened just before the heavy impact that put him in a hospital for two days.

“I hit the brakes when I saw the smoke, and they just weren’t there,” McClure said. “It was a little bit of a heart-sinking feeling. It created the impression that I was speeding up or going faster than everyone when I hit, which obviously I was.”