Multi-car crash takes Chase hopefuls out of race contention

05 Aug 2014 Seth Livingstone - NASCAR Wire Service
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Multi-car crash takes Chase hopefuls out of race contention Getty Images

Sunday's 13-car crash in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 400 at Pocono Raceway was all too reminiscent of the "big one" drivers are accustomed to experiencing at superspeedways like Talladega.

Tony Stewart's car even ended up on the hood of Paul Menard's Chevrolet in the incident which took nine laps under caution to clear.

"I told Tony the last time we did that was about two years ago at Talladega," Menard said. "We have to stop doing that."

Stewart managed a chuckle, even though he’d been on the cusp of contention, in and out of the top five all afternoon

“This time at least we weren’t looking (through the) windshield in at each other,” Stewart said. “It was not where we wanted to end up by any means."

The chaos was no laughing matter for drivers like Matt Kenseth, still seeking his first win this season, Brian Vickers, who had been running among the leaders all day, and Brad Keselowski, fresh off Saturday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series victory.

Once Denny Hamlin got loose, Vickers was forced to dive to the outside and Keselowski was left with nothing to do but slam into Menard.

Even Kevin Harvick, who recovered to pressure race winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. all the way to the finish, suffered damage when his car ran over what he called "a two-foot by two-foot drain" sunken into the apron asphalt.

“The 15 (Clint Bowyer) was right on my door and it sucked me around,” said Hamlin, who escaped contact and managed to finish ninth. “I was just hanging on at that point and I think it was mayhem for everyone checking up from behind.”

Aric Almiorla suffered serious damage and finished 35th, just ahead of Stewart, Vickers and Kenseth.

“I just tried to aim for the middle and hope for the best,” Almirola said. “I was behind Keselowski and there were cars inside of us, so I couldn’t turn left. I was just along for the ride. There’s nothing you can do when it gets like that.”

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