LINCOLN, Ala. – A calm day turned fast after a hard crash for Austin Dillon and Ty Gibbs after contact from Carson Hocevar and NASCAR Cup Series Playoff contender Brad Keselowski.
After winning Stage 2, Keselowski’s late race charge falls short by 25 laps.
“It was just one of those Talladega pushing and shoving deals,” shared Keselowski after crashing out of the YellaWood 500. I just gave a really light push to the 42 car and it turned around on him, so unfortunate for us. We were able to win the second stage and were in a pretty good position there. It sucks for everybody. I hate it for us, but it is what it is.
I just feel bad for Carson. I gave him a little push and it just took off on him. It wadded up a bunch of cars and it’s unfortunate, but we were having a good day with our Solomon Plumbing Ford. We were leading laps and won the second stage. I got shuffled there a few laps earlier and were trying to claw back and it all just gathered up.”
Dillon shared frustration with Hocevar and his lack of experience with superspeedway racing at the Cup level.
“The 42 could much less driving a straight line without being pushed,” declared Dillon after the accident. “I got out of the middle line because of the 42. I don’t know if he had a new spotter or what; he was all over the place and then Brad said he pushed him too hard and wrecked him. We had a hard hit, sucks. Our Bass Pro Shops Chevy was good.
“I had the benefit to see the 42 all over the place when he was just by himself. I didn’t think the 42 was very good (for) anybody to be around. It’s what you get when you push when there’s no need to push at that point.”
For Hocevar, he admits he is still learning from the opportunities racing part time in the No. 42 Legacy Motor Club Chevrolet but disagreed with Dillon’s claims.
“I don’t know about that,” Hocevar explained from his perspective of the crash. “Just a tough spot (to be in). I did it in the truck race and spun someone out in the trioval. At that point and when you’re in the top lane, you have to make that decision.
“I just had my wheel straight, then all of a sudden, I was looking left. Not 100% sure what I could have done differently to not put myself in that situation. I wasn’t that good of a leader, so I’m kicking myself that I got up and was the leader there.
“I felt like I could make some good lanes and good decisions and be a good pusher. It’s just good to have a Cup race under my belt, even if it is a little short.”
Gibbs was the other driver to make significant impact with the outside wall. He shared with media that he was okay after his head-on crash into the SAFER barrier.
“I saw the outside wall, and then the inside wall,” Gibbs stated. “I just got hit out of nowhere in the right rear. Just really unfortunate, a really big bummer; we had a really good Monster Energy Toyota Camry.”
All four drivers were evaluated and released from the infield care center. NASCAR officials declared a red flag for 9:57 for repairs to the outside wall.