TALLADEGA, Ala. — Over a dozens cars were collected in the “Big One” in the closing laps of the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
With 20 laps to go, Chase Elliott was getting a bump from AJ Allmendinger working to draft past race leader Kyle Busch. Exiting Turn 2, Allmendinger drifted down towards the left-rear corner of Elliott’s car, getting Elliott loose. His No. 24 Chevrolet pointed down towards the inside wall for a second, then turned back up the track.
Allmendinger hooked Elliott and sent him spinning into the path of Joey Logano, who’s No. 22 Ford submarined underneath Elliott’s car and the air lifted his car off the ground. His car was airborne for roughly three seconds before coming to a rest with the left-front tire riding the steel barrier of the outside retaining wall and on the hood of Michael McDowell’s car down the backstretch.
This triggered a 16-car wreck and brought out the sixth caution of the race. Cleanup necessitated a 26-minute, 51-second red flag.
Elliott, the primary pinball in the wreck, said afterwards that Allmendinger “had a big run and he kind of got to my bumper and just happened to be in a bad spot coming up off the corner and was skewed a little bit to my left rear. And when that happens, it just unloads these cars too much.”
After Allmendinger hooked Elliott, his car got loose and turned up towards the wall. It was aided by contact from Kevin Harvick, who caught Allmendinger as he was swerving down to avoid him and hooked him in the process.
Allmendinger did a roughly half-spin before sliding backwards and slamming rear-on into the drivers side of Erik Jones.
Further contact from Logano, and the added force of cars piling into the 22 car, lifted Allmendinger’s car onto it’s left-side for roughly three seconds before settling upside-down.
After exiting the infield care center, Allmendinger said he was glad he “didn’t get hit upside down.”
“It’s just Talladega. It’s all it is,” he said. “The plan worked out. We waited in the back and got up front and I had (Dale Earnhardt) Junior pushing me, I had the best guy pushing me. I’m not sure. The No. 18 (Kyle Busch) and the No. 24 of Chase they were kind of moving around and at the time I think Harvick got behind me and we were shoving and Chase opened the door and then kind of closed it and I tried to check up just a little bit and tapped him and when I checked up it was a big wreck after that.”
Other collected included Danica Patrick, who came down across the nose of Matt DiBenedetto and slammed into the jutted out opening of the inside retaining wall, Harvick, who spun up the track and sideswiped the outside wall, Martin Truex Jr. and Trevor Bayne, who both t-boned the passenger side of Logano’s car, and Austin Dillon, who slammed into the rear-end of Matt Kenseth’s car driving through the smoke of the wreck.