The “Big One” is NASCAR a term typically only used at car-eating tracks like Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. But the Chase for the Championship thus far has been cruel to drivers going for the Sprint Cup Series title, and this huge wreck in Charlotte collected half of them.
Chase driver Austin Dillon spun at the front of the field after being bumped by another Chase contender during the restart on lap 239 of 334. The spin collected a total of 12 cars, according to NBC’s broadcast. Chase contenders caught up in the mess included Dillon, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr. and Kurt Busch, which makes six of the 12 remaining in the title hunt. Not all of those drivers sustained terrible damage, and most are still out on track.
The Chase hasn’t really been kind to its drivers so far, as both Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick already had trouble today—Logano drove into a wall early on in the race, and Harvick’s engine decided to give up on him. On lap 309 of 334, with a mere 26 laps to go, Chase contender Denny Hamlin’s engine blew from the second position.
Charlotte Motor Speedway’s event is the first race of the second round of the Chase, after which four more drivers will be eliminated. After three more races, the field will be down to four. They’ll battle for the title in the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November.
But at this rate, winning the Chase will just be about who managed to avoid the wrath of the racing gods.