The first big wreck of Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway occurred on Lap 257 of the scheduled 325-lap event.
Denny Hamlin appeared to get loose, triggering the multi-car mishap. Hamlin got into the car of Ryan Newman, bounced off, and then collected Jamie McMurray and Jeff Gordon in the process.
“I was right on the 19 (Carl Edwards) entering (turn one),” Hamlin said to Fox Sports. “He checked up. If I didn’t move to the right, I’d spin him out and run right in the back of him. That put me on the back of the 4 (Kevin Harvick) and sucked me around. Shame for all these cars.”
Gordon’s car was towed away and he is listed as out of the race, as are Hamlin and McMurray.
But of more significance is where Gordon’s car hit, striking the inside retaining wall just a few feet from where the SAFER barrier ended.
“I saw the 11 get sideways,” Gordon said. “I guess he clipped the No. 1 (McMurray). I was along for the ride. 31 (Newman) came around. Sent me down. Wouldn’t be so bad, except I found the one spot there’s no SAFER barrier. I can’t believe it. Hopefully soon, that’ll get fixed.”
“So the 11 (Hamlin) just got loose,” McMurray said. “You take what you can get, when you can get it. The restart’s the best place to pass, especially if you’re on the bottom. Unfortunately, we had an accident there.”