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Brendan Gaughan involved in another freak injury to crewman on pit road

TALLADEGA, Ala. -- For the second consecutive week, Brendan Gaughan was involved in a scary pit-road incident that sent a crewman from another team to the hospital.

The Richard Childress Racing driver, whose team was without a crew member that suffered burns during a fire in his pit stall last week, crashed into the pit-road wall during the Xfinity Series race Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway.

As his car ricocheted off the wall, his car hit the pit-road sign and pole being held by Biagi-DenBeste Racing crewman Troy Brady. Brady, who was standing behind the pit wall holding the pole, fell down from the impact.

Brady, who was awake and alert, was taken to the Trinity Medical Center in Birmingham for further evaluation and was released Saturday night. The team did not release any further details.

It marked the second consecutive week for a crewman to be hospitalized on pit road. In reaction to its pit-road fire last week, RCR has taken steps to prevent crewmen from having their necks and faces burned by requiring them to wear fireproof head socks and eye protection. Some of its crewmen were wearing full-face shields. Within two weeks, the organization plans to have all crewmen outfitted in them.

Tire changer Anthony O'Brien, who was hospitalized for two days following the race last week at Richmond, is out indefinitely because of burns suffered when the probe at the tip of the fuel can malfunctioned, spilling fuel that caught fire, likely from a spark while O'Brien was changing lug nuts.

"There's no reason to have an exposed face," RCR vice president of competition Mike Dillon said. "The biggest issue these guys complain about is their peripheral vision. They worry about getting run over.

"If you get a regular race helmet, it's so thick on the sides, they can't see to the left and right as good. ... The thing is as long as it is covered and we can put a [fireproof] skirt around it, we've got a hoodie and we can stop that initial flash burn."

The team also is working on a new bolting mechanism for the front of the fuel can and the mechanism that locks into the refueling area of the car, Dillon said. They also will determine if the parts and pieces used should have a shorter life before being replaced.

NASCAR has not instituted any rule changes yet in light of the incident.

"NASCAR has done a great job proactively on pit road, and even then you still find things. ... [What we're doing] is a smart move," Gaughan said. "It's not knee-jerk. It's just a nice, smart move."