Did we watch a NASCAR Sprint Cup race or a demolition derby today at Talladega? With eight laps to go, Matt Kenseth went flying tail-up into a roll, triggering a restart with four laps to go. On the last lap, cars collided into a huge mass once again as Brad Keselowski drove away from the pack to win.
With eight laps left, Michael McDowell bumped Danica Patrick from behind. Patrick’s car then turned sharply into Matt Kenseth’s car, sending him flying in the air. Several other cars came together around them in a chain reaction that’s become all too familiar today.
Fortunately, both drivers were able to climb out of their cars on their own. Patrick had to stand and catch her breath next to the infield wall for a second, but ultimately both Kenseth and Patrick were released from the infield care center.
Patrick’s car was so crushed on front of the driver’s side front that it’s almost unbelievable that she walked away.
Patrick told the Associated Press:
I would say that’s probably the most scared, trying to hop out of a car with the fire on the inside. I haven’t had fire on the inside before. I have a pretty decent bruise on my arm and my foot, and my head feels like I hit a wall at 200. My chest hurts when I breathe.
The race was restarted with four laps to go and drivers managed to be aggressive but clean until the very last lap, when the field devolved into chaos again. Eight cars this time were involved in this crash.
For the second day in a row, the race was over in the last 1,000 feet of the race. This is one of the most carnage-heavy races I’ve ever seen. A total of 33 cars out of the 40-car field were damaged by contact.
I know the cars are pretty safe, but too many big hits often aren’t over time, and this one just got ridiculous.
A.J. Allmendinger in particular made contact with the inside wall after the past hit and looked especially rough when he climbed out of his car and just sat to rest and catch his breath underneath the driver’s side opening after that final crash.
Some drivers spoke out about the number of incidents and how much they dislike restrictor plate racing after the race. Austin Dillon told the AP that more people need to understand that big crashes aren’t all fun and spectacle:
We all have to do it. I don’t know how many really love it. I know our mom’s, wives and girlfriends don’t like it. We don’t like to be part of crashes. If people are cheering for crashes, man, it’s not a good thing.
The few cars out in front drove away from the melee to end the race. As with yesterday’s controversial Xfinity Series finish, the race was called as soon as the yellow flag came out for the last lap crash. Brad Keselowski was clearly out in front, and ultimately won by a margin of 0.024 seconds over Denny Hamlin.
Full results can be found here.