On a restart with 69 laps to go in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, Kevin Harvick would get a poor restart on the outside lane, causing the field to jam up. In the process, Denny Hamlin would get loose off of turn two, turning down the track and into Ryan Newman.
Hamlin commented following the wreck that he checked up to not run into teammate Carl Edwards entering turn one, causing the chain of events to begin.
“If I didn’t move to the right, I was going to spin him right,” Hamlin said. “When I moved to the right, it put me right on the door of the 4 and it sucked me around. I apologize to all those cars involved. We had a good Toyota for most of the day. We just lost the handle during the last run and got back there.”
The contact between Hamlin and Newman would push Newman down into Jamie McMurray, resulting in McMurray going up across the track.
“So the (Hamlin) just got loose,” McMurray commented. “It’s pretty hard to pass and you run wide open so long that you take what you can when you get it. the restarts are the best opportunity to pass so you’re racing as hard as you can. Unfortunately, we got caught in the wreck.”
McMurray would then make contact with Jeff Gordon, causing Gordon to slide back down across the track and into a wall that was not protected by a SAFER barrier. For Gordon, who is running his last full Sprint Cup Series season, it marks the second straight weekend with a torn up racecar after getting wrecked by Austin Dillon last weekend at Daytona.
“I saw the 11 (Hamlin) get sideways and I had him cleared,” Gordon said. “I guess the 1 (McMurray) got clipped and he crossed the track and hit me. After that, I was just along for the ride.”
A lot of emphasis has been put on SAFER barriers following Kyle Busch’s crash at Daytona last weekend that resulted in him breaking a leg. While Atlanta has continued to add SAFER barriers, that back wall is not all covered yet.
“It wouldn’t been too bad except I found that one spot that there is no SAFER barrier,” he shared. “I can’t believe that. Hopefully it will get fixed soon.”