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Just a few laps shy of halfway, Ross Chastain attempted to time the restart while behind Joey Logano. Logano didn’t go when the Trackhouse driving expected him to. The result was a train-reaction crash behind them both.
Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell, Aric Almirola, and Ryan Preece got the worst of it. All four went behind the wall and were out of the race.
Other drivers collected included Ryan Blaney, Ty Dillon, Justin Haley, Todd Gilliland, and Cody Ware.
“I took off on the restart and went from second to third gear and all of a sudden everybody in front of us just stopped,” explained Almirola. “I think the leader was just playing games, trying to prevent the runs coming from behind and they stopped in the middle of the restart zone was right about where they should have been accelerating. It was just a huge accordion effect. We were back in 16th, so everybody just started stacking up and you can’t stop on a dime. It’s disappointing to get wrecked out of the race like that on a silly Mickey Mouse restart, but I should have known better.”
He wasn’t the only Stewart-Haas Racing driver involved. Preece gave his thoughts after being released from the infield care center: “It’s kind of stupid, to be honest with you on a professional level and we all wreck on a restart. I don’t know what happened, but just a victim of circumstances. It sucks. I was racing around Aric and we were just trying to be smart and get to the end of the race. Something like that, you’re not expecting everyone to wreck coming to the restart line.
“It’s unfortunate. That adjustment could have gotten us a lot better and we could have kept on making little gains. That was our goal, not to beat ourselves and just be there in the last 50 or 60. That’s why we stayed out that run, to see what our car would do in clean air and if we needed to work on it, which we did, and I felt like we just kept on making it better and better. It’s really a bad ending for this HaasTooling Ford Mustang, and even Aric, so we just have to go to Vegas and be on offense and start digging out of this hole we’re in right now.”
Reddick’s race was also over. He echoed the thoughts of the SHR drivers. “It got stacked up pretty bad. I saw he car behind me got a really big run, so I kind of elected to make the decision to juke to the bottom and get around it. Unfortunately, Ryan had the same idea, so we just got collected and went through the grass. The right front of our Toyota was broke. Unfortunate end to my Cup racing career at this two-mile track, but thankfully, got one more shot later.”
Another Toyota, driven by Bell, got the worst of the wreck.
“I saw it stacked up pretty bad. I saw the car behind me kind of laid off to get a really big run, so I kind of elected to make the decision to go to the bottom and get around it. Unfortunately, I think Ryan (Blaney) had the same idea. We just got collected and went through the grass and the right front of The Beast Unleashed Toyota Camry TRD was broke. Unfortunate end to my Cup racing career at this two-mile track, but thankfully I’ve got one more shot later on with GearWrench and Sam Hunt Racing in the Xfinity car.”