Kurt Busch goes airborne at Talladega

Kurt Busch went for a wild ride at Talladega Superspeedway Sunday.

The trouble for last week’s winner started in lap 108 when Jimmie Johnson got a huge shove from Clint Bowyer toward the front of the field. The push got Johnson’s No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet loose, causing Johnson to lose control and slide into Kurt Busch’s No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet in the tri-oval. That contact sent Busch’s car head-on into the outside wall where it went airborne and over the top of Cole Custer’s No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford.

“It was a wild ride,” Busch, who won at Vegas last week, said. “That’s the nature of this sport. You’re on top one week with a win and everything’s fantastic. And then this week here at Talladega, we were hoping for a nice, smooth run and to gain some points. I was just doing my job as a Chevy helper running top-five and next thing you know, I’m going for one of the wildest rides I’ve ever been in.”

The ensuing carnage included a total of 12 drivers in addition to Busch including playoff drivers Bowyer, Brad Keselowski, Austin Dillon and Kyle Busch.

You’ve got to go,” Bowyer said. “You’ve got to push him.  The 22 and the 21 were trying and obviously they gave up on it for some reason.  As soon as I got to him I push him in the front and the whole rear of the car went down and I was like, ‘Oh my God,’ and before I know it he was tank swapping all over the place.  I don’t know if that was how they had their cars built or whatever, but as soon as you got close to him he was all over the place.  Obviously didn’t mean to wreck him, but you’re going hard and three-wide and people are behind you pushing.  I was hoping he would save it, but he didn’t and we all wrecked.”

Custer was able to smile after it was all over.

“I didn’t know he was flipping at first because you’re just kind of looking at what’s in front of you and he was above me,” Custer said.  “I saw his tire mark on my roof when I got out, so that was pretty crazy.  Thankfully, he’s okay.  Obviously, they have a lot of safe things in these cars, so I can’t thank NASCAR enough for it.”

Ryan Preece, Brennan Poole, Brendan Gaughan and Daniel Suarez were also involved.

Greg Engle