Seven-car crash mars morning practice By Shawn A. Akers NASCAR Online NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 14, 1998) - Seven cars were involved in an accident Saturday morning during a practice session prior to Bud Pole Qualifying for the ...
Seven-car crash mars morning practice By Shawn A. Akers NASCAR Online NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 14, 1998) - Seven cars were involved in an accident Saturday morning during a practice session prior to Bud Pole Qualifying for the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division BellSouth Mobility/Opryland 320 at Nashville Speedway USA, forcing six of those teams to go to a backup car for qualifying. NASCAR Busch Series standouts Tim Fedewa and Mike McLaughlin were among the drivers caught up in the wreck.
Dave Blaney, Shane Hall, Mike McLaughlin, Stevie Reeves, Tim Fedewa, Andy Santerre and Brad Loney were all caught up in a multi-car melee on the backstretch of the .625-mile oval, which occurred around 9 a.m. EST. Fortunately, none of the drivers involved in the accident were hurt. The pileup started when Blaney, driver of the Bill Davis-owned No. 93 Amoco Pontiac, spun coming off of Turn 2. He was soon collected by Hall, and that started a chain reaction with the other five cars involved.
As a result, the No. 33 Kleenex Chevrolet of Fedewa wound up upside down on the backstretch, wedged in between the cars of Blaney and McLaughlin. Fedewa was pinned inside the car for a few moments, but crawled from the car unscathed.
"There was kind of a blind spot coming out of (Turn) 2," Fedewa said. "I was on the gas, and the next thing I knew there were cars spinning. I checked up, and by the time I reacted, it was too late, I was in it.
"I just remembered getting upside down, and then trying to figure out a way to get out. I was just hoping I wasn't on fire or something. I've never been upside down before. I've hit pretty hard, but that was one of the wildest wrecks I've ever been in.
"We were all pinned up against each other, and I couldn't get out of my left side. A door was pinned up against me. I started to panic a little bit, started to get a little bit claustrophobic. The next thing was, everybody else okay, and everybody started crawling out of their cars. It's a pretty eerie feeling to see that many cars crash and that many people. It was awful quiet for it seemed like 10 minutes. It's a weird deal. I've been in big wrecks before, but for a short track like this, it was pretty spectacular."
Fedewa indeed went to a backup car, and qualified 15th out of 50 drivers.
McLaughlin, driver of the No. 34 Gould's Pump Chevrolet, brought a brand new race car to Nashville, only to see it almost completely destroyed in the accident before getting a chance to race it.
"Some cars tangled up off the corner, we came out of (Turn) 2 not knowing until it was right in front of us," McLaughlin said. "The people behind me didn't know it either. It wasn't a good deal because it was a brand new race car. I was more aggravated that we lost a brand new race car, to be honest with you. But as long as everybody's alright, that's the main thing."
McLaughlin was sixth fastest in the first practice session on Friday night, and McLaughlin felt he had a shot at the Bud Pole. He wound up qualifying in the 21st position.
Hall's Chevrolet suffered severe damage its front end, so the No. 85 BAMA Jams team was forced to go to a backup car. Blaney and Santerre also went to backup machines, while Loney qualified his primary car that was heavily taped up on the right side.
Blaney, who has qualified his car well in the early going in 1998, recovered and qualified 11th, placing him on the inside of Row 6 to begin Sunday's race.
Reeves, driver of the No. 43 Curb Records Chevrolet, saw his car almost completely destroyed as well. Since the team recently switched from Fords to Chevrolets, the backup car the team brought was a Ford, and that's what he'll run on Sunday. Reeves did not attempt to qualify the car, but received a provisional and will start from 43rd, the very last position Saturday. Source: NASCAR Online