What had been a near-flawless race at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama erupted into a wild demolition derby with 19 of 188 laps remaining.
A.J. Allmendinger got a run and bumped into the left-rear bumper of Chase Elliott – not the preferred area of car for such “bump-drafting” – and ignited an 18-car wreck that left Allmendinger’s No. 47 Chevrolet upside on the track and eliminated multiple contenders for the win.
The race was immediately red-flagged and brought to a halt as safety workers rushed to Almendinger’s car. The race was restarted nearly 27 minutes later.
Once his car was upright, Allmendinger was able to exit his car and walked under his own power to the waiting ambulance. He was evaluated and released from the infield care center.
None of the drivers involved were injured.
“Once I got to Chase I got loose, I tried to get off him but at the moment it was too late,” Allmendinger said after leaving the care centre.
"It was just one of those things battling for the lead. The plan kind of went (that) we waited at the back and started moving forward. The way the pit cycles worked, we were up front and had a great restart. I had the right guys pushing me. I can’t thank everybody enough that’s part of this. I hated that happened, but it’s Talladega. I’m not a big fan of it, but if you’re up front and you’ve got a chance to go for it, racing happens I guess, here.”
Asked to describe what happened, Elliott said, “He got to my bumper and happened to be in a bad spot. These things get really hard to drive when someone gets to your left rear.
“We’ll just move on to Kansas.”
Among the other drivers who were eliminated from contention for the win were Joey Logano, Trevor Bayne, Erik Jones and Danica Patrick.
Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick, who took turns leading the race, both suffered damage and their respective teams attempted to make repairs once the race resumed.