Kyle Busch wasn’t injured, but he was hurting.
“I’m all right,” he told his crew via radio after a major early crash in the Aaron’s 499. “And I caused it.”
Here’s what happened: Forty-four laps in, Busch was looking to pass Kasey Kahne in a crowd. He tried pulling to the outside, but caught Kahne’s back bumper. Kahne went sideways and, as is prone to happen at Talladega Superspeedway, caught a bunch of other cars in his wake.
At Talladega they call this “the big one.” Big it was: 16 cars, nearly a third of the field, were damaged in the chain-reaction wreck. Restrictor-plate racing tends to bunch up cars, and they were all vulnerable to what Busch started.
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“I tore up a lot of good cars,” Busch said, after being medically cleared at the infield medical center. “I was trying to get to his outside and I caught his bumper I feel bad for our guys. We’re done early.”
Kahne said he didn’t need any discussion with or apology from Busch.
“I think we both know what happened,” Kahne said. “I was trying to stay behind Jimmy (Johnson) and we had a ton of momentum. You can’t really hit from behind in these cars.”
Greg Biffle was among the collateral damage.
“I just saw them wrecking above me,” Biffle described. “I thought about going to the left. I had plenty of room and probably should have, but I didn’t.
“I just stayed straight and moved down all I could and it wasn’t enough. They got me in the right-rear and turned me the wrong way, up into the wall.”
Someone asked Biffle if this was too early for such a nasty wreck.
“It can happen any tine. You just never know,” Biffle said. “We were trying to be cautious, but that didn’t work.”
It took some particularly sharp driving by Danica Patrick to avoid the damage so many others experienced.
Patrick was right behind the crash and got a quick warning from her spotter. She scooted down the track, narrowly avoiding cars to her left.
“That was sketchy,” she said via her radio during the resulting caution. “Getting down on that apron wasn’t easy.”