Five best crashes of the 2012 NASCAR season
Multi-car pileup during the Food City 500 at Bristol
During the annual Food City 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway, Regan Smith hit Kasey Kahne on the front stretch which sent Kahne spinning into turn one, coming back up onto the racetrack right into Carl Edwards' No. 99 car. But, that wasn't the last of it as three more cars checked up into Edwards and Kahne, causing a massive pile-up, hurting Kyle Busch, Marcos Ambrose and Kevin Harvick all at the same time.
Joey Coulter's flip at Daytona during the NextEra Energy Resources 250
Back at the start of the Camping World Truck Series season, everyone watching that event remembers about the first-time winner in John King. But, overshaddowing the driver's lone career win is a massive flip on the last lap just after crossing the Start/Finish line. Ron Hornaday Jr. was bump drafting James Buescher who got lose, ended up turning down into Joey Coulter's truck, sending him flipping into the catchfence and on Buescher's hood. Surprisingly, no other truck was involved in the incident.
The big one in the Nationwide Series season opener at Daytona
Like the Camping World Truck Series event to start off the season, the Nationwide Series race also had a wreck on the last lap. Unfortunately, the wreck involved more cars and tons of damage to serious contenders for the race win on that Saturday afternoon. The wreck was caused by Kurt Busch and his brother, Kyle Busch, losing the tandem draft in between the third and fourth turns. Kurt attempted to squeeze Joey Logano to gain a side draft, but ended up getting into the No. 20 car, causing most of the drivers running inside of the top-10 to wreck. James Buescher somehow missed the incident to win his first and only career Nationwide Series race.
25-car pile up at Talladega in the GoodSam Roadside Assistance 500
Yet another last lap crash which happened in the 2012 season happened to be the largest accident of the year for the entire sport. Michael Waltrip got into the rear bumper of Tony Stewart after Stewart went to block Waltrip in the final turn of the event. Waltrip was making a charge up through the front of the field with a push from Casey Mears and would have likely won the race if Stewart didn't block him. The accident sent Stewart flipping numerous times, gave Dale Earnhardt Jr. a concussion and impacted 25 cars in the chain-reaction incident.
Juan Pablo Montoya's terrifying wreck in the Daytona 500
The Daytona 500 is the sport's biggest race of the year. It's NASCAR's version of the Super Bowl and what diehard fan would miss the Super Bowl? During a caution flag, Juan Pablo Montoya's car lost control and went head on into one of the jet dryer's cleaning up the debris in between turns three and four. The impact caused a firey scene and a lengthy delay where drivers exited their cars on the middle of the back stretch. Heck, Brad Keselowski even "Tweeted" a picture of the spectacular event from his seat. It is still talked about to this day as one of the scariest incidents within the recent history of the sport. Thankfully, no one was hurt throughout this moment that no fan will ever forget.
After a vigorous schedule of 36-races, plus two non-points races, not including the qualifying duels to set the field for the Daytona 500, the NASCAR season has come to an end. The season had just 216 cautions, down from the 278 yellow flags thrown in 2011 which does explain the large amount of fuel strategy races which fell through over the course of the season.
Accidents weren’t as frequent in 2012 as they have been in the past. Part of this is due to the talent drivers have, the similarities between the competition as well as the amount of debris thrown onto the track by race fans.
Even though there wasn’t as many cautions compared to recent years, the 2012 NASCAR season proved to be exciting to say the least. It was apparent that fewer accidents occurred throughout the year, but the average race fan likely realized that the racing was better.
From a car hitting a jet dryer during the Daytona 500 to a 25-car wreck at Talladega, accidents were exciting to watch over the course of the year. But, as exciting as some of the on-track incidents were, they caused lengthy delays which did make fans announce their anger such as they did with the new style of racing at restrictor plate tracks.
With the intense racing action throughout the season, the Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series, and Camping World Truck Series combined to have some spectacular crashes over the course of the year which have been glued to the memories of fans and will remain that way for several years to come.
Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.
5) Cup Series Talladega October
4) Nationwide Series at Daytona
3) Cup Series Bristol March
2) Coulter at Daytona
1) Juan Pablo Montoya at Daytona