Ashley Fleming/AP

Watch NASCAR's Talladega "Big One" crashes from 1973 through 2014.

By The SI Staff
October 16, 2014

Courtesy of Talladega Superspeedway media relations

1. Winston 500 (May 6, 1973): On the ninth lap, Ramo Stott blew an engine and the lead pack came around and spun out on his oil on the backstretch, wrecking 21 cars and taking out 19 for the remainder of the race. Some big names like Carl Yarborough and Bobby Allison were victims. David Pearson went on to win as most of his competition was taken out.

Talladega's Big Ones crash lore looms over new Chase race
Oil and gas lines have been loosened just enough to become disconnected when the cars reach racing speed. Sand has been poured into gas tanks. The inner sidewalls of tires have been sliced so that they'll blow out when pressure is applied to them. The start of the race is delayed about three hours. The culprit has never been caught.

3. Winston 500 (May 6, 1979): As Buddy Baker charges toward the lead entering the homestretch early in the race, his car swerves sideways without warning. Drivers behind him, suddenly forced to take evasive action, lose control. Their cars collide and 17 are swept into the wreck, but the only driver injured is Cale Yarborough, whose car cart-wheels over Phil Parsons and ends up on the apron in the first turn. Yarborough is hurried out of his car just as D.K. Ulrich, running on four flat tires, bangs into Dave Marcis. The impact pushes Marcis’ car into Yarborough, pinning him between two cars. There were no serious injuries although eight cars are wiped out.

4. Winston 500 (April 25, 1983): An 11-car tangle in the first turn of lap 71 sends two drivers to the hospital. Darrell Waltrip and Phil Parsons slap fenders and both go into the wall. Parson’s Pontiac goes airborne, flips about a dozen times and lands on the roof of Ricky Rudd’s car. Among the contenders taken out are Tim Richmond, Cale Yarborough, David Pearson, A.J. Foyt and Jody Ridley.

5. Winston 500 (May 3, 1987): This 10-car crash becomes the impetus for restrictor plates. Bobby Allison blows his right rear tire, spins on the front stretch and flies up into the catch fence, tearing up a large section. After taking out 150 feet of fencing and nine heavy support posts, Allison's car spins back onto the track. The race is red flagged for two hours 38 minutes and 14 seconds. Allison is not hurt. This is also the event at which Bill Elliott establishes a world stock car record of 212.809 miles per hour while qualifying.

6. Winston 500 (May 6, 1991): On the lap 71 a 20-car crash is triggered by Ernie Irvan. Kyle Petty is airlifted to the hospital to piece his badly broken leg back together. Due to rain, the 188-lap contest is run on a Monday, and many contenders are knocked out of action by the wild wreck. 

7. Winston 500 (May 2, 1993): Former Cup champion Rusty Wallace takes the wildest ride of his career in a one-car accident. Dale Earnhardt Sr. snags Wallace’s left rear bumper near the finish line, turning him around and flipping his car on its nose before it rolls more than a dozen times down the front stretch as Earnhardt and Ernie Irvan race to the checkered flag. Wallace suffers a broken wrist, a concussion, facial cuts and a chipped tooth. Earnhardt drives down to the scene of the crash after the race and helps assist rescue workers. Earlier in the race, a Big One features a nine-car pileup.


8. DieHard 500 (July 25, 1993): A multi-car pile-up on lap 70 sends Stanley Smith to the hospital. Jimmy Horton’s Chevrolet is struck by Smith, sending it rolling up the bank to the top of the track and right over the Turn 1 wall. This is the first time that a car has left the confines of Talladega Superspeedway. Horton us dazed and confused but otherwise unhurt. Others involved are Kenny Wallace, Rick Mast, Loy Allen, Jr. and Ritchie Petty. This is the first of two scary crashes. In the other, Neil Bonnett loses control in tight quarters with Dick Trickle and Ted Musgrave, slips sideways and goes airborne in the tri-oval. His car lifts over Musgraves’ hood and plows into the chain-link fence on the home stretch. The crash sends out a red flag for the first time since Bobby Allison tore down fencing in 1987.

9. DieHard 500 (July 23, 1995): With 50 laps to go Ken Schrader gets clipped by teammate Jeff Gordon off of Turn 2 and flips wildly through the grass. In the ensuing mayhem, Bobby Labonte, Chuck Bown, Ricky Craven, John Andretti, Todd Bodine and several others pile up on the track. In all, 13 cars are involved.


10. Winston Select 500 (April 28, 1996): Ricky Craven takes a scary ride during this wreck in Turn 1. His car is launched into the catch fencing as the pack passes him below. A mind boggling wreck.



11. DieHard 500 (July 28, 1996): This chain-reaction crash starts when Mark Martin drifts up the track and hits Jeff Gordon, sending Martin’s car spinning down the track until it hits Ricky Craven. Dale Earnhardt Sr. gets involved and hits the wall hard, breaking his collar bone. It marks one of two large wrecks during the race—12 cars in one accident; 13 in the other. 

12. DieHard 500 (April 26, 1998): Ward Burton nudges Dale Earnhardt Sr. into Bill Elliot and then all hell breaks loose. What was an orderly race a few moments earlier is suddenly nothing more than a flock of wildly spinning cars in an impenetrable cloud of smoke. Amazingly, the only injury is Earnhardt's singed mustache. Twenty cars are involved.

13. DieHard 500 (April 25, 1999): Michael Waltrip tries to pass and gets Mike Skinner turned sideways, causing multi-car pile-up involving Jeff Gordon, Rusty Wallace, Jeff Burton, Chad Little, Geofff Bodine, Ernie Irvan, and more. Eight cars are involved in the accident on the backstretch.

14. DieHard 500 (April 16, 2000): Dale Earnhardt Jr. charges by Bobby Labonte on the last lap, leaving Labonte and a 16-car wreck behind while racing to victory. 

15. Aaron's 499 (April 21, 2002): A total of 30 cars are involved in an accident on the backstretch during lap 14, with 19 knocked out of the race at that point. The remainder of the race, after a long red-flag period, bears little resemblance to typical restrictor plate action as only two cars are within a short distance of each other at the checkered flag and only three finish on the lead lap.


16. Aaron's 499 (April 6, 2003): The Big One does not take long to occur, collecting 27 cars on the fourth lap—the largest crash in a Cup race during the modern era. As the field enters Turn 1, Ryan Newman blows a tire, smashes hard into the wall and almost turns on his side. Mayhem ensues as the cars behind him check up while trying to avoid Newman, who spins across the middle of the track and takes out an additional 26. Damage ranges from none to severe. Hermie Sadler, Casey Mears, Johnny Benson and others are out immediately. Rusty Wallace and Jerry Nadeau return but retire after a limited number of laps following repairs. Matt Kenseth and race winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. also sustain damage. Only 16 cars finish unscathed. 

17. EA Sports 500 (Sept. 28, 2003): Elliott Sadler's horrific blowover flip happens after contact with Kurt Busch. Seven cars are involved in a later accident.

18. Aaron's 499 (April 25, 2004): The Big One comes on lap 84 when Tony Stewart taps the rear of Kurt Busch's car near the bottom of the banked track, sending Busch sliding sideways up the banking right in front of a huge pack of cars. Before the crashing and spinning end, 10 cars are scattered around the fourth turn. The cars driven by Busch, Derrike Cope and Kenny Wallace have to be hauled off on flatbed trucks. There are no injuries. 

19. EA Sports 500 (Oct. 3, 2004): Elliott Sadler slides backward through the grass and flips once before skidding across the finish line on his wheels during the last lap. Four cars are involved. 

20. Aaron's 499 (May 1, 2005): Jimmie Johnson gets into Mike Wallace and it goes on from there as the whole width of the race track is clogged by a 26-car pileup.

21. UAW-Ford 500 (Oct. 2, 2005): Two cars flip over in separate accidents. Michael Waltrip is hit by Mark Martin and flips after being involved in a wreck that begins when Jimmie Johnson spins Elliott Sadler. Not long after, Ryan Newman spins Casey Mears, starting a chain reaction that results in Scott Riggs flipping several times before he's hit by Jeff Burton. The race is incident-filled, and Dale Jarrett gets his last win in the event. Scenes from this one are later used in the movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and actors from the movie were introduced in driver introductions. 


22. Aaron's 499 (May 1, 2006): Five-wide up on the high side, Brian Vickers passes Carl Edwards, nipping Kasey Khane who runs into the No. 12 car. Kenny Schrader is involved along with Kyle Busch, Martin Truex, Jr., Ryan Newman, Mark Martin, Sterling Marlin, and others for a grand total of 13 cars. 

23. UAW-Ford 500 (Oct. 8, 2006): At the halfway mark of the final lap, Brian Vickers, trying for his first Cup win, goes below Jimmie Johnson who tries to block but is far too late to defend. Just into Turn 3, Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. spin and crash as Vickers charges to the checkers in a close finish with Kasey Kahne under caution. There are two other incidents as well, one involving 13 cars in Turn 1 during laps 139-145; the other with five cars in Turn 2 during laps 175-178.

24. Aaron's 499 (April 29, 2007): Tony Raines gets into Jimmie Johnson who gets into Ricky Rudd who hits the wall. Joe Nemechek and Kyle Busch spin around and go hard into the wall as well. Busch's car flies backwards into Jeff Burton. Then Casey Mears slows up to get onto pit road and is accidentally run into by Johnson. 

25. UAW-Ford 500 (Oct. 7, 2007): Bobby Labonte loses control up high, swerving all the way down to the bottom and hitting Kyle Busch, causing a chain reaction. The wreck was one of two Big Ones in this race: 11 cars in Turn 4 during laps 146-150; four in Turn 1 during laps 177 to 180.

26Aaron's 499 (April 27, 2008): Kyle Busch becomes the winner of the race when The Big One occurs in the backstretch off Turn 2 and the yellow flag flies during the final lap. Busch, passing Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the inside, gets loose, bumps into Dale and causes him to spin out. The winning car ends up with a large "donut" on its side after hard contact with Jamie McMurray's No. 26. Both finish in the top-five, though. 

27. AMP Energy 500 (Oct. 5, 2008): The Big One happens on lap 68 when Brian Vickers cuts a tire and taps Martin Truex Jr. into the middle of the field. The second occurs with 16 laps to go. Carl Edwards bumps Greg Biffle into Matt Kenseth and appears to have gotten through, but Biffle and Kenseth come back up the track and tap Edwards who crashes into Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Harvick. A total of 18 cars are involved. When the race is extended due to the green-white-checker finish rule, it appears that Regan Smith has won. However, Smith has made an illegal pass below the yellow out-of-bounds line, an off-limits area at restrictor plate tracks Talladega and Daytona, so NASCAR awards the win to Tony Stewart, his first in 43 races and first in 20 attempts at Talladega.

28. Aaron's 499 (April  26, 2009): During the last lap, Carl Edwards tries his best to prevent upstart Brad Keselowski from a coveted win in only his fifth Sprint Cup race. Edwards fails miserably and ends up running on foot the rest of the race to the finish. There are two other major wrecks: one a 14-car incident, the other a 10-car pileup.

29. AMP Energy 500 (Nov. 1, 2009): With five laps to go, Ryan Newman’s car flips over three or four times, lands on Kevin Harvick's hood and finally stops upside down. Tony Stewart is pushed into the wall. Almost all of the cars are touching in the backstretch. On the day there is a five-car incident on the backstretch during laps 185-189, and a 13-car pileup in the tri-oval during lap 191. 

30. Aaron's 499 (April 25, 2010): The first Big One happens when Kyle Busch turns Johnny Sauter and causes a huge wreck; the second when Joey Lagano gets in the back of Ryan Newman's car. Ten cars are involved in the accident on the tri-oval during laps 84-88; 10 in another during laps 183-188; and nine end up in an incident on Turn 4 during laps 190-194. 


31. AMP Energy Juice 500 (Oct. 31, 2010): A.J. Allmendinger gets a little wiggle and a little nudge and is suddenly no longer in contact with the ground. The crash ends the race immediately. Six cars are involved in an accident on Turn 2 during laps 142-145; five are caught up in an incident on the front stretch during lap 188. 

32. Aaron's 499 (April 17, 2011): The second caution flag waves for a wreck on Turn 3 during the largest crash of the race, but a Big One does not occur. It starts when Kurt Busch turns Brad Keselowski into the wall, causing a chain reaction that collects Kasey Kahne, Marcos Ambrose, David Ragan and Trevor Bayne. Kahne's car, on fire, coasts down the apron and replays show that Ragan's engine blew up heading into the wreck. During this caution, most of the field pits, and Kurt Busch, pushed by his brother Kyle, leads at the restart on lap 96


33. Good Sam Club 500 (Oct. 23, 2011): Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and others are caught up in the melee when A.J. Allmendinger gets loose in the pack. 


34. Aaron's 499 (May 6, 2012): This race has two crashes in the last 60 laps: the one on lap 142 involves five cars in Turn 3 and is caused by some cars running out of gas; the other in Turn 1 during a late restart on lap 186 results after Kurt Busch spins in the tri-oval. 


35. Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 (Oct. 7, 2012): The Big One hits the field on the final lap, collecting 25 cars in Turn 4, with Tony Stewart flying in the air after being tagged by Michael Waltrip.

36. Aaron's 499 (May 5, 2013): The leaders are running in a large pack heading into Turn 1 when Kyle Busch, charging up through the middle groove, hits the rear of Kasey Kahne's No. 5 car. The contact turns Kahne into the outside wall and sets off a chain reaction that involves 16 cars. Busch is later involved in a large 12-car wreck going into Turn 3 during the final laps of the race.

37. Aaron's 499 (May 4, 2014): On lap 137, Brad Keselowski, who is six laps down, gets loose in Turn 4 and causes a wreck that collects 13 other cars including those of Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Trevor Bayne, Tony Stewart and Brian Scott. Some have issues with Keselowski racing at the front while being so many laps behind the leadersWith 14 laps to go, Jimmie Johnson gets loose and starts another multi-car wreck in the same place where the lap 137 crash occurred. This wreck collects Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Michael McDowell, Ryan Newman, David Ragan, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Reed Sorenson. 



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