As Carl Edwards and Joey Logano raced side-by-side at the second attempt of a green-white-checker finish in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Dover Logano suddenly slid up in to the wall and as he came back down the track in front of the whole field the inevitable big one happened, with Clint Bowyer’s car going onto its side before coming back down on its wheels and slamming in to the inner wall.
The race was red flagged immediately with several wrecked racing cars spread across the track and far from rejoicing in his win Edwards first thoughts were about the crash and its cause. “Damn it — I didn’t mean to hit him,” Edwards radioed after the accident. “Is everybody all right?”
Edwards chose not to do his usual celebratory backflip but instead pulled up alongside Logano and seemed to apologise. Replays showed that, in fact, Edwards hadn’t made contact with the no. 20 car at all – it was the closeness of the two cars which took away Logano’s aero effect and caused the slide – something NASCAR drivers have to deal with when running in close proximity at speeds of 175 mph and over.
Others to be taken out in the ensuing carnage included Brad Keselowski, Steve Wallace and Aric Almirola. Kyle Busch was damaged in the mÃªlÃ©e but was lucky enough to keep going and finish in second ahead of Reed Sorenson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. David Reutimann was fifth followed by Elliott Sadler who now goes top of the points table, ten points clear of Sorenson.
Justin Allgaier, who led the championship coming into the race, had his right front tyre blow out in turn three and his heavy contact with the outside wall caused his first failure to finish in twenty-two races. During the ensuing caution period rain started falling and the race was red-flagged for twenty-eight minutes.
One of the most bizarre incidents during the race came after Alex Kennedy bounced off the outer and inner walls like a pinball on the backstretch. His car came to rest down by the inner wall at ninety degrees to the track, facing the outer wall. For what appeared to be no obvious reason Kennedy drove straight up the track and the luckless Kevin Swindell – having a one-off race in a top flight team’s car, deputising for Trevor Bayne at Roush Fenway Racing – found himself heading towards an ever diminishing gap between the no. 23 car and the outside wall. The inevitable crash totally destroyed both cars.
Kennedy and his spotter were summoned to NASCAR’s hauler to discuss the incident and it would seem that Kennedy had intended turning left and driving round to the pits for repairs. When he first moved the car it started to turn but by the time he was committed to the move he realised his steering was broken and the car was only going to go straight on.
In a subdued celebration after the race Edwards could only say, “I’m just glad it worked out. I’m glad that I didn’t hit him [Logano]. I’m glad that everyone was OK. But that’s a product of what we do. When it comes down to it â€¦ this race track, we’re driving so hard here, and there’s so much grip, and you’re giving everything you can, and the cars are so close there at the end â€¦ Obviously, Joey was racing as hard as he possibly could. I was racing as hard as I could. Man, that’s why they call it the Monster Mile.”
With the Sprint Cup Series having their non-championship All-Star Race at Charlotte next Saturday the Nationwide Series has a rare Sunday race in Iowa. Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski and Trevor Bayne, who is returning from his recent mysterious illness, are all pulling double duty, racing in Charlotte on Saturday and then flying – in his own Cessna Citation jet in Edwards’ case – to Iowa where their cars will have been qualified by Brian Ickler, Sam Hornish Jr. and Chris Buescher respectively.