Two massive accidents highlighted Stage 1 of the NASCAR Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Brad Keselowski’s Ford Mustang ended up on its side in the tire barriers after he crashed with Erik Jones on Lap 50. Keselowski was sliding backward after losing his momentum when Jones made a move to his inside in Turn 2.
The close quarters resulted in Jones getting loose and sliding up into Keselowski, first sending both cars into the outside wall. After Keselowski bounced off the outside wall his car spun to the inside and into tires against an angled inside wall (pictured).
“We had new tires and were racing some cars that didn’t have new tires and went to make the pass there, got real tight to the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) and lost the nose in the air,” said Keselowski, who won Indianapolis last year. “And then I was trying to leave room, and I probably came down on Erik just a little bit more than I thought I did and he got loose.
“I hit the wall there, and then there’s this spot on the wall with just an atrocious angle. I don’t know what that spot is for, but it does not need to be there. But we found it. That’s how racing goes, you find the things…
“I think there probably should not be weird angles like that to wreck on. You know, this track really was really part of the safety revolution about 15, 20 years ago, and I think it’s time for another.”
The accident led to a red flag as officials had to clean up and fix the tire barrier.
A caution on Lap 43 had set up a four-lap dash to the stage finish. Joey Logano and Ryan Newman stayed out on older tires while Johnson was on two tires. Keselowski was one of those who took four tires.
Both Jones and Keselowski were cleared from the infield care center.
While Keselowski admitted he might have crowded Jones in the corner, Jones said he got loose and made a mistake.
“I didn’t think Brad would be so tight on me and I just lost it,” he said. “It’s my fault. I feel bad for the 2 and I feel bad for our team as well. It’s a shame, we had a good Stanley Camry and I just hate seeing it come down like that. I just wasn’t anticipating enough and I drove in too hard for it.”
The previous caution that set up the restart that led to the Keselowski and Jones wreck was for Landon Cassill. He slammed the wall hard in Turn 1 and destroyed his Chevrolet because of what he believes was a blown tire. Cassill climbed out of the car under his own power and was also evaluated and released from the care center.
“I’m fine, I just hate it for my guys and my team that was a fresh car for us and it had some good speed. I was pretty happy with it,” said Cassill. “Felt like the right-front tire went down into (Turn) 1.”