On lap 446 pole sitter Denny Hamlin was racing to get inside the top ten when he made contact with Brian Vickers. That contact punctured the right front tire on Hamlin’s Toyota and seconds later he flew into the outside wall entering turn one. Hamlin hit the back of Ryan Newman’s Chevy and set off a melee that collected a total of seven cars and caused a nearly five minute red flag.
“I'm just in the car and a steering wheel holder at that point,” Hamlin said. “It caused a huge accident. It sucks, but I didn't cause it. I was one of the guys who got cut off.”
One of those involved was Kevin Harvick. Not understanding what exactly had happened at that point, an angry Harvick drove his damaged Chevy to the pits and into the pit stall belonging to Hamlin. Hamlin arrived shortly after and pushed the Chevy clear. Harvick leapt from his car and moved past NASCAR officials trying to block him from reaching Hamlin who still sat in his car. Harvick leaned in, and after a bit of an explanation from Hamlin, the two exchanged handshakes and Harvick walked away.
“I just saw the No. 11 (Hamlin) shoot across the race track,” Harvick said. “It looked like he was trying to swerve at somebody. He said the No. 56 (Martin Truex Jr.) got into him and so I just wanted to know what happened.”
“He just told me his version of it,” Harvick added. “It’s all good it’s Bristol racing and it’s just something I wanted to know.”
Perhaps the biggest losers in the crash were Truex and Brad Keselowski. Truex lost two spots in the standings to 14th; Keselowski dropped three spots to 11th.
“We had a great car all night long,” Truex said. “We ran towards the front all night, but just didn't have enough gas to make it to the end there and had to pit. Once you get in the back here towards the end, they start wrecking and you're an innocent victim.”
The news is even worse for defending Sprint Cup champion Keselowski. Truex is still eligible for a wild card spot thanks to his win at Sonoma earlier in the season. With no wins thus far, Keselowski stands a chance of not making this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup.
“I’m not in a better position,” Keselowski told Examiner. “I’m not going to be out of the worried zone unless I make it or it’s over. That’s my job as a race car driver.”
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