A 15-car wreck off Turn 4 less than five laps into Saturday night’s race left a sour taste for some.
“It just felt like an ARCA wreck,” said Darrell Wallace Jr.
Kyle Busch, a seven-time winner at Bristol in the Cup Series, got out of shape underneath Ryan Blaney and bounced off the No. 12, sending Busch spinning down the frontstretch. Having qualified inside the top five, Busch managed to spin in front of most of the field and wind up without a scratch before others near the back of the pack suddenly began piling on.
Jesse Little and Michael McDowell made direct contact with Busch’s No. 18 Toyota. Kasey Kahne and JJ Yeley ended up spinning into the area while Gray Gaulding drove into the scene, hitting AJ Allmendinger.
Matt DiBenedetto, Wallace, Timmy Hill, Daniel Suarez, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Ty Dillon also suffered damage.
“I just got run over from behind after I got checked up,” said Wallace. “I was talked to AJ [Allmendinger] in [the infield care center] and said ‘Sorry man, I run over you at the beginning.’ He was like ‘no, you’re fine.’
“He said he was sitting there for a solid second and a half and got run over again. Just poor spotting up top and some rookie drivers out back, I guess.”
Allmendinger also said he was run into from behind.
“At this point, it is what it is,” he said. “I’m just sorry for Kroger Clicklist and everybody that is partners with this race team. I appreciate the hard work out of everybody and all of our partners. … hopefully, [teammate] Chris [Buescher] can get a strong run, but I’m ready for an off week.”
McDowell started 31st and said he had come to a stop in time to avoid the accident. And then he was “blasted from behind.”
“It seemed like a long time before the other cars got slowed down, but it’s so disappointing to be out so early, and not of your own doing,” McDowell said. “It’s just heartbreaking. Five hundred laps is a long race, and I think I did a total of 10 laps between the two races this year in 2018, so I’m just really frustrated, but this is racing, and that’s what happens sometimes.
“I’m not really sure what led to the 18 [Busch] being spun, but all I know is there is a lot of cars not paying attention and a lot of spotters not paying attention for that to happen like it happened.”
The accident ended the nights of McDowell, Wallace, Allmendinger, Little, and Gaulding. Busch, Truex and the others all continued with damaged vehicles.