‘Big One’ strikes in closing laps at Talladega

by Tucker White On Mon, Oct. 16, 2017

Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson and a number of others spin out in Turn 3 at Talladega Superspeedway during a 16-car wreck with 17 laps remaining in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Alabama 500. Photo: Josh Hedges/Getty Images

TALLADEGA, Ala. — Several Playoff drivers were among more than a dozen collected in the “Big One” in the waning laps of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Entering Turn 3, Martin Truex Jr. — trying to make a pass on the top lane — hit the right-rear corner of David Ragan’s car, triggering the ensuing melee.

“Well I tried to get into a hole that was closing up at the wrong time and by the time that I got in the brakes trying to get out of there I got in the 38 (Ragan) a little bit on the right rear and he got squirrely out there and all hell broke loose,” Truex said. “Just was trying to get to the end and get some track position and try to get towards the front and have a good day and ended up causing a wreck, so I hate it for everybody. We definitively had nothing to lose today, but at the same time you don’t want to be the person that causes others problems. Even though I feel like I’ve never been that guy here before it looks like today I was, so I hate it for all of those guys and all of their teams. I wish I didn’t make that mistake. Just 18 to go at Talladega, trying to get going and trying to fill a hole. Bad judgement and should have been more patient.”

Ragan’s car turned down track and hooked Kurt Busch up into the outside wall. He continued on into Jimmie Johnson, hitting him in the right-rear tire area. Johnson’s car did a clockwise spin, the momentum of which carried him up the track and into the path of Kyle Busch. Busch t-boned Johnson, which sent both of them up into the outside wall.

“We got hooked in the right rear, and I was pretty close to the front of the pack,” Kurt Busch said. “I am just happy everything turned out the way it did to just not get clobbered by all the cars coming by. My guess is the outside lane was all jumbled up getting aggressive and pushing and somebody spun out and clipped us in the right rear. I thought we were looking good with the Monster Ford. We were coming from behind and the inside lane was open and we were making hay, but now here we are coming out of the infield care center. That is just Talladega. That is how it works out. We need to figure out how to make the cars better so everybody can bump draft a little harder.”

The force of the wall hit ripped Kyle Busch’s left-front wheel out of his wheel assembly.

“I had no clue what happened. I just saw the 38 (Ragan) get sideways above me and then he came across my back and I missed him and he must have got the 48 (Johnson) and the 48 shot up right across in front of us,” Busch said. “I never seen him. I wish I would’ve saw him a little bit down there. I could’ve shot to the apron and tried to miss him, but unfortunately we just got messed up in that deal. I hate it for our situation and what we’ve got going on, that’s not what we needed today, but that’s what we got so we’ll just move on to next week.”

A few seconds earlier, when the rest of the field was whoahing down in response to Kurt Busch’s wreck, Landon Cassill came across the nose of Austin Dillon’s car and turned up into Truex. Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth, who were riding in the middle of the field at the time, were caught behind Truex and sustained damage.

This 16-car wreck brought out the ninth caution of the race, as well as the first of three successive red flags for 12 minutes and 31 seconds.

While Truex leaves without sustaining a major blow to his points situation heading into the cutoff race for the Round of 12 at Kansas Speedway, it would require an absolute disaster run to undo his 53-point gap to the first drop spot, others aren’t so fortunate. Kyle Busch leaves occupying the ninth-place spot, seven points behind Johnson for the last transfer spot. Kenseth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who was also taken out in the wreck, reside in the 10th and 11th-place position’s in points.

Harvick, in fourth, sits slightly more comfortable with a 22-point margin over Busch.

Side note: While his car was the main pinball that triggered the wreck, Ragan’s team fixed it enough, and enough cars were taken out in the two subsequent wrecks, that he drove his No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford to a 10th-place finish.

“I feel like we survived this one,” Ragan said. “We had a little bit of luck on our side. Our team did a nice job repairing some of the damage we got in one of the big wrecks. It had been a quiet, low-key race. And then the last 30 laps, everybody raced really hard. I’m proud of our Juice Battery team for fixing me back up so we could come out of it with a top-10”

** The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the publisher. All comments other than website related problems need to be directed to the author. (c)SpeedwayMedia.com. **

Leave a comment

Free Shipping on Orders Over $25 at Store.NASCAR.com

Copyright © SpeedwayMedia.com. All rights reserved. - Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties.