TALLADEGA, ALA. – Two cars went airborne, 35 were involved in an accident of some kind, and Danica Patrick had the wind knocked out of her in a vicious crash into the wall.
Just another demolition derby at Talladega Superspeedway.
Brad Keselowski won the crash-fest Sunday that was dominated by multiple wrecks that caused millions of dollars in damage to race teams. It was Keselowski's fourth career win at Talladega and second victory of the season, and it ended Joe Gibbs Racing's streak of four consecutive victories.
"Crazy day. Somehow we managed to stay ahead of or out of all the chaos," Keselowski said. "That's how Talladega goes. Sometimes we run here and everybody kind of lines up against the wall, and sometimes we come here and it's crazy side by side, wreck 'em up, flip 'em.
"I think that's kind of the allure to coming here because you don't know what you're going to get."
That's not entirely true about Talladega, which more times than not turns into a mess of wrecked race cars.
Keselowski said that's just part of restrictor-plate racing at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.
"Racing has always been that balance of daredevils and chess players, this has always been more of a daredevil-type track," he said.
Chris Buescher's car flipped three times in an early crash, and Matt Kenseth's was turned upside down in the waning laps. In Kenseth's accident, Patrick hit hard into an energy-absorbing wall that seemed to buckle upon impact. She appeared shaken after the hit and hustled out of her burning car.
"I have a pretty decent bruise on my arm and my foot, and my head feels like I hit a wall at 200," she said. "My chest hurts when I breathe."
There were 21- and 12-car accidents in the final 28 laps. And, as Keselowski crossed the finish line, another wreck punctuated the sloppy day.
Only 21 of the 40 cars finished on the lead lap, and 12 cars were ruled out of the race.
Second-place finisher Kyle Busch said he looked in his rearview mirror at one point and only saw four cars without some sort of damage
"I hate it. I'd much rather be at home," said Busch, the reigning Sprint Cup Series champion. "I've got a win. I don't need to be here."