They were the type of crashes no one wants to see. With under 100 laps to go in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway Saturday night, Jamie McMurray, in fourth at the time, crashed hard into the turn 4 wall on lap 150. His Chevy caught fire and rolled down pit road on fire before coming to a stop. McMurray was pulled from the smoking car by his crew and was able to walk away.
McMurray said he wasn’t sure what happened.
“I just entered Turn 3 and I heard a small pop,” he said. “Then just lost all the steering and got into the fence and then knocked the oil lines and everything off which caused the fire. I’m not sure we didn’t really have any tire issues all weekend. Keith (Rodden, crew chief) had been kind of reporting to me what the tires looked like after each stop and hadn’t seen any really wear issues at all. I don’t know if it was just a bad tire or if I ran over something. Just lost all the air and ended up crashing.”
The worst crash of the night occurred just over 30 laps later. The horrendous accident sent flaming cars airborne and left many holding their breath in the aftermath.
On lap 186 AJ Allmendinger got loose under Paul Menard exiting turn 4. As he slid into the front stretch Allmendinger clipped Justin Allgaier. Allmendinger continued across the infield grass while Allgaier’s Chevy continued back up onto the track near the finish line. He clipped the Ford driven by David Gilliland. Both cars exploded with the Gilliland machine becoming airborne before coming to rest just past the start-finish line.
After several tense moments, both drivers emerged from their mangled cars unharmed.
“I’m not exactly sure what transpired in front, but the No. 47 (Allmendinger) I think was coming down the race track,” Allgaier said. “I saw him coming and I tried to squeeze as much as I could to the inside and almost got into the grass. As soon as he got me I turned back across and I guess David Gilliland is the one that I collected him. I took a heck of a hit. I feel good now. I got the wind knocked out of me a little bit.”
Gilliland too said he wasn’t sure what had transpired.
“I don’t know what happened,” Gilliland said. “It looked like the 47 (Allmendinger) and 51(Allgaier) got together and the 51 came back up the track and I hit him and from there a lot of stuff happened. We are alright though. Just a little sore obviously. That is one of the hardest hits I have had in awhile. Hopefully it will be the hardest one for awhile to come too. I am fine though.”
Jeff Gordon won the race over second place Kevin Harvick.