Chain-reaction wreck collects 23 cars By Brett Borden TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 24, 1999) Quite a few good race cars were collected in the big wreck Saturday afternoon. Just call them the chain gang. Twenty-three drivers were caught up in ...
Chain-reaction wreck collects 23 cars By Brett Borden
TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 24, 1999) Quite a few good race cars were collected in the big wreck Saturday afternoon. Just call them the chain gang. Twenty-three drivers were caught up in a chain reaction accident at Talladega Superspeedway two-thirds of the way through Saturday's Touchstone Energy 300. Among the unfortunate: Bud Pole winner Ken Schrader, Mike McLaughlin, Todd Bodine, Bobby Hillin, Tim Fedewa and Phil Parsons.
It started on lap 68, when Schrader was tapped from behind and sent into the wall. He spun across the track, which forced a large group of cars to slow down. A few slowed down faster than others, and the melee was on.
"We had made some major adjustments and were moving up after the restart," Schrader said. "We were running in the tri-oval wide open when a car got in the back of me. The rear wheels got off the ground and the steering was gone. The Oakwood Homes car is pretty torn up, but I'm OK."
Schrader slid down the track without hitting anybody, but the smoke and car parts flying around were visible to the approaching pack of cars, and that led to more smoke and car parts flying around.
Fedewa said he saw the whole thing happen in front of him.
"The 75 car (Kelly Denton) and the 15 car (Schrader) got together," Fedewa said. "We were all bunched up after the restart. I seen the wreck and so did a lot of other people. Once everybody started checking up, people started hitting me from behind and pushing me into the wreck. It's just a big superspeedway wreck, that's all I can say."
"I don't really know what happened, everybody crashed in front of us," said Hillin. "I tried to slow down as much as I could and just keep my car straight. I got hit about six or seven times. I hate it 'cause we had Sparkle Paper Towels on board as a one-race sponsor and we wanted to put on a good race for those guys."
Hillin's day officially ended due to handling, as was the case for fellow chain gang member Kevin Grubb. The five drivers whose cars had to be towed away on wreckers were Schrader, Parsons, Brad Loney, Mark Green, and Wayne Grubb.
"I thought we were going to be OK," Parsons said. "Somebody ran into the back of Todd and knocked him into me and that turned me around. I'm sure that blocked the race track for everybody else. It's a shame, everyone had really used their heads, but one wreck ruined it for a lot of us."
Bodine said it was all a case of rookie inexperience.
"Me and Phil were riding around back there a little ways, and we saw smoke up ahead," he said. "Somebody got into the back of me and I got into the back of Phil. We all knew there were a lot of rookies with fast cars and there was going to be somebody make a mistake and that was it. It's a shame it had to collect so many cars."
Source: NASCAR Online