- Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman were involuntary star players in a multicar crash late in Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway.
- Busch's car ended up riding on top of Newman's after cars were scattered in a chain-reaction wreck.
- The wreck was the second melee of the race, which was interrupted for 3-1/2 hours by rain.
TALLADEGA, Alabama — David Ragan scored a thrilling upset victory in the Aaron's 499 Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, but the biggest thrill of the day was provided by Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and a few friends in a spectacular crash a few laps before the checkered flag waved.
Busch's Chevrolet was knocked sideways in a closely bunched pack of cars racing down the back straightaway of the 2.66-mile track at just under 200 mph. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. tried to squeeze past J.J. Yeley on the outside. Their cars made contact and Yeley veered left, snagging Busch's car at the right rear corner.
The black No. 78 car flipped over on the driver's side, then tumbled and wound up on top of the car driven by Ryan Newman as drivers tried — many of them unsuccessfully — to avoid getting swept up in the melee.
It was the second major crash of the race. Busch's younger brother, Kyle, bumped Kasey Kahne and sent him spinning, triggering a pileup that swept up more than a dozen cars on the 44th lap.
Despite the carnage and destroyed cars, no injuries were reported.
Busch, the 2004 Cup Series champion, has been involved in plenty of controversy in his racing career. He has had considerable success, only to part company on strained terms with two of the sport's top team owners, Jack Roush and Roger Penske. He showed remarkable control after a check-up at the Talladega infirmary after the wreck.
"My mom doesn't come to four races" each year, Busch said after emerging unhurt but angry after his spectacular crash, referring to the two Cup events each season at Daytona and Talladega.
"I wonder why," he added sarcastically.
The crash was similar to one in the 2001 Daytona 500, when Tony Stewart's car was turned sideways, lifted into the air and ended up on top of the car of Stewart's teammate, Bobby Labonte, and a wreck last year at Talladega when Stewart wound up on his roof in the middle of a pack of crashing cars.
Sunday's wreck happened in late afternoon shadows, after a 3-1/2-hour rain delay interrupted the race.
Newman, who has been involved in a number of spectacular wrecks at NASCAR's biggest tracks, was a little more pointed in his criticism.
"They can build safer racecars, they can build safer walls, but they can't get their heads out of their a— far enough to keep them on the racetrack, and that's pretty disappointing," Newman said. "I wanted to make sure I get that point across. Y'all can figure out who 'they' is. That's no way to end a race. Our car was much better than that. That's just poor judgment in restarting the race, poor judgment. I mean, you got what you wanted, but poor judgment and running in the dark and running in the rain."
Edmunds says: "The Big One" has become routine in races at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega, its sister track. The most spectacular crashes in recent years have not resulted in serious injuries, but the anxiety level of most drivers is elevated because of the likelihood of calamity.