Wallace, Busch OK after 12-truck wreck
October 19, 2013, Holly Cain, NASCAR.com
Lofton, Paludo also among drivers involved in wreck
TALLADEGA, Ala. – Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. was still “a little freaked out” by his own admission Saturday evening nearly an hour after a being collected in a wild, fiery 12-car accident on the last lap of the fred’s 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.
"Hardest hit of my career, scared the hell of out me," Wallace said managing a smile after emerging from the infield care center.
"Makes you want to drive 10 miles per hour under the speed limit in your regular car. I’m all good though. My pride’s hurt, but my Tennessee Vols won so I’m all good.
"Coming to this track you have to expect the worse and it doesn’t matter if it’s just 30 feet from the line, something’s gonna happen.
"It’s just scary coming through there and getting hit and seeing a car upside down getting hit. All of a sudden I’m in the wall getting hit, then on pit lane, it happened so fast, just glad it’s all over with."
Wallace was unhurt even as his No. 54 Camping World/Good Sam Toyota Tundra was among the dozen cars totaled in the day’s final and most dramatic edition of Talladega’s "Big One."
Of the 12 drivers involved in the accident, only Chevy driver Justin Lofton was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation. Lofton suffered a fractured left thumb and was discharged on Saturday night, according to his official Twitter account.
The incident happened as the field was approaching the finish line. Three two-car drafts spread out across the track heading out of the final turn when just behind them Miguel Paludo’s Chevy got into the back of polesitter Jeb Burton’s Chevy triggering the accident.
Burton’s truck veered right and hit Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch’s Toyota – which was one of the twosomes in the front of the field. As Busch’s truck ricocheted off the wall and came down across the track it collided with Paludo’s truck, flipping it on its roof for what looked like a frightening upside down ride around the tri-oval.
Busch’s car continued and made a hard impact in the pit wall. After climbing out of the wreckage, Busch sat down on track and leaned against the wall to catch his breath. Paludo was treated at the infield care center but declined to speak to reporters.
"I don’t know what happened there," Busch said after walking out of the care center. "Somehow the guys inside of me got turned around and hit me and I got turned left. Once you see a truck on fire you just keep your foot in it and try to drive through it.
"My truck was killed and I didn’t have any steering but I was still driving and then hit the end of pit road which wasn’t very smart. But when you’re racing for points you keep going till you see nothing.’’
“We were going to finish out the way it was -- three tandems to the line, whoever made it there first was going to win."
Busch, who led twice for five laps, was pushing the less-experienced Dakoda Armstrong toward the finish and had resigned himself to a top-10 and 10th is amazingly what he ended up despite the accident.
Johnny Sauter won the race and five of the 12 drivers involved in the last lap wreck finished among the top-10.
"He (Armstrong) didn’t have enough experience to be able to side-draft those guys and it was frustrating being up there but not being able to do anything to go for the win."
Busch assured reporters he was fine, more aggravated at not having a real shot to win at the end.
"I took a couple good licks and instead of sitting in a hot steamy vehicle you might as well get out and get some fresh air that’s what I always try to do.
"It was going to end up okay, we just weren’t making up the ground we wanted to up top."