Talladega-Like Crash Strikes At Pocono

Aric Almirola

Aric Almirola's car limps to the pits after it was collected in a 13-car crash that started with Denny Hamlin getting loose on a late restart. (Photo: Getty Images)


LONG POND, Pa. - Denny Hamlin’s car slid sideways. Smoke blanketed the track, cars ran into each other and when the wrecking stopped, Tony Stewart’s car was parked atop Paul Menard’s and 11 others were damaged during Sunday’s race at Pocono Raceway.

“I told Tony the last time we did that was about two years ago at Talladega,’’ Menard said about Stewart’s car resting on top of his. “So we have got to stop doing that.’’

Among those sent to the garage after the Talladega-like crash in Turn 1 were Martin Truex Jr., Brian Vickers, Matt Kenseth, Stewart and Menard.

Hamlin said he got “killed on restarts’’ throughout the race that foreshadowed what would happen.

“No matter how good of a run I would get, I would try to hold my position and I would just get run over on the front straightaway,’’ said Hamlin, who finished ninth. “It would put me three-wide, four-wide.’’

When that happened to him on the Lap 117 restart, chaos ensued.

“I was in the middle lane, I got stuck three-wide,’’ Hamlin said. “Guys getting runs and guys that can accelerate much faster than what we can, so that put me three-wide. (Clint Bowyer) was right on my door and that sucked me around. I was just hanging on at that point. I think it was just mayhem from everyone checking up from behind.’’

Matt Kenseth, who finished 38th, said he had nowhere to go.

“I went to the outside ... and I got squeezed into the fence,’’ he said. “Big wrecks are always frustrating when you’re in it. When you’re not in it. it’s not as frustrating, but we’ve been in all the big wrecks this year. Sometimes it seems like you miss every one by just the smallest margin. Other times it seems like you’re always in the wrong place at the wrong time.’’

That’s where Stewart ended resting atop Menard’s car.

Stewart radioed his crew: “I can’t drive it because my car is on top of another.’’

Menard radioed his crew: “The only issue is there is a ... car on my hood.’’ That was Stewart’s car.

Stewart finished 36th, Menard placed 33rd.

Also collected in the incident were Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Michael Annett, Aric Almirola, AJ Allmendinger, Justin Allgaier and Carl Edwards.

“(Hamlin) just got loose in front of us and started spinning,’’ said Vickers, who finished 37th. “I tried to go low to miss him and then got loose or somebody got in the back of me. One thing led to another.’’

Almirola, who was 35th, also had no chance to escape trouble.

“I was trying to get low and I was following (Brad) Keselowski and everybody started to check up,’’ Almirola said. “I was on the brakes as hard as I could and I got creamed from behind and pushed into the wreck.’’

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