15 NASCAR Crashes That Shocked the World

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How in the World did a NASCAR Just do That?

Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

What NASCAR fan does not like to see a good crash every now and then? None.

As long as no one is injured, NASCAR fans love to see wrecks, cars flipping and spinning, smoke rising up in the air as parts and pieces fly across the track. Sometimes though, the wrecks can be scary and in a few times, fatal.

This year, NASCAR has seen several drivers get injured due to wrecks inside of a race car. Of course, the most notable of these is Denny Hamlin, who missed several races due to a back injury sustained at the Auto Club Speedway while contending for a win. Since returning to NASCAR, Hamlin's performances have been sub-par at the least and has been heavily criticized for not opting for surgery. Tony Stewart was also hurt in a wreck, but that was a non-NASCAR, but a racing incident. There have been other NASCAR drivers with minor injuries this year such as Martin Truex Jr., but that hasn't effected his driving.

Back in the past, it was natural for NASCAR drivers to go up in the air and fly over guard rails like it was nothing. Now, fans get stunned from seeing a car flip due to the way NASCAR has adapted to the newer, lighter and better safety equipment like the SAFER barriers.

Of course, some wrecks aren't that bad. As of late, NASCAR hasn't seen too many of those. But back in the day, there's been some crazy crashes that have affected the way NASCAR is produced.

Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.

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15. Michael Waltrip-Bristol 1990

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Michael Waltrip shouldn't be alive right now. At Bristol in 1990, Waltrip's car shredded to bits and pieces. It's a no wonder why he lives life to the fullest.

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14. Elliott Sadler-Talladega 2003

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Sadler flipped like no tomorrow after getting a tap from Kurt Busch. His M&M's car went for a wild ride and that yellow M&M was surely screaming as the No. 38 Ford went flying into turn three.

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13. Michael McDowell-Texas 2008

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Michael McDowell's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career didn't get up to that great of a start. At the time, he was driving for Michael Waltrip Racing, trying to be successful with an upstart team. Unfortunately, he got a little too low in the center of the corner and was sent flying into the wall, eventually flipping over several times in one of the most vicious wrecks in qualifying.

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12. Steve Park-Darlington 2001

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Who spins out during a caution lap? Unfortunately, Steve Park did. In the same year that Dale Earnhardt Sr. passed away, Park, driving for Earnhardt's team, spun out during a caution and hit Larry Foyt, which sent both cars into the inside wall. The wreck caused several broken ribs for Park and put him with a brain injury, something that he fought very hard to come back from.

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11. Carl Edwards-Talladega 2009

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Carl Edwards flipping off of Ryan Newman's hood, giving Brad Keselowski his first career win was a momentous occasion for NASCAR. No one would have thought Edwards' car would hit the fence, but he did and it was scary as can be to watch.

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10. Rusty Wallace-Talladega 1993

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Rusty Wallace is one lucky man. In 1993 at Talladega, Wallace was turned on the last lap near the start/finish line by Dale Earnhardt Sr., which sent his car flipping over several times. The car was all but demolished as all of the sheet metal was torn apart. The engine, side door panel and roof were all destroyed as the parts and pieces were beyond visible in one of the worst single car wrecks in NASCAR history.

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9. J.D. McDuffie-Watkins Glen 1991 (Fatal)

The Glen
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

J.D. McDuffie has the worst record in NASCAR to have. He's tied with Joe Nemechek for most last place finishes, and most races without recording a win. Unfortunately, McDuffie's life was cut short in a horrific wreck off of turn one in Watkins Glen.

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8. Richard Petty-Daytona 1988

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Richard Petty's crash at Daytona some how or another didn't injure him. He may have been in the infield care center for several hours, but The King refused to give up a for a few more years, showing NASCAR fans accidents may look bad, but they can't be too awful.

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7. Kyle Larson-Daytona 2013

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Kyle Larson may be an incredible talent, but not even the best NASCAR drivers can avoid a wreck at Daytona in the middle of a giant pack. Larson's car flipped and barricaded off of Brian Scott's car, sending Larson's car into the fence. The wreck injured several fans and was yet another event that caused NASCAR to make safety improvements. Larson's engine and a tire went over the fence which is unheard of in the modern era of motor sports, especially in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

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6. Bobby Allison-Talladega 1987 & Pocono 1992

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Bobby Allison may not remember what happened in these two events, but the NASCAR world will never forget what happened. At Talladega in 1987, Allison's car blew a tire and was sent flipping into the fences on the front stretch. His car then sporadically spun out past the start/finish line and caused a whole gaggle of cars to spin out due to all of the debris. Then in 1992 at Pocono, Allison nearly died in what would be his final race of his career. He had a tire going down on the first lap of the race and spun out in the second turn. Allison was sent to a local hospital and suffered severe head injuries which he still hasn't fully recovered from.

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5. Ron Hornaday Jr. Gets into it with Kyle Busch-Texas 2011

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Ron Hornaday Jr. was in the midst of a championship battle when Kyle Busch and he got into a bit of a scuffle. Hornaday got loose and slid up into Busch's truck, sending them both into the wall. During the caution, Busch's temper got to his head and slammed into the back of Hornaday's truck. Hornaday hit the wall hard in turn four as did Busch who was suspended from the Sprint Cup Series race that weekend and nearly lost his sponsor too.

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4. Kevin Lepage-Talladega 2008

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Kevin Lepage made the dumbest mistake of his career in 2008. While a giant pack of 20+ cars was coming his way as he left pit road, Lepage randomly shot up the racetrack. Carl Edwards slammed into Lepage and the rest is history.

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3. Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough-Daytona 1979

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It's the wreck that got NASCAR on the map. All of the scenarios were as perfect as it could get. The entire East Coast was snowed in, and there was nothing on TV. CBS was holding the first flag-to-flag coverage of the Daytona 500 and ratings soared as Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison battled door-to-door for the win. The rest is just history.

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2. Tony Stewart and the Rest of the Field-Talladega 2012

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This wreck looked like something that happened in a video game. Tony Stewart went to block Michael Waltrip while battling for the lead on the last lap, evidently causing a domino effect for the entire field (with the exception of a few cars). Stewart's car was sent back up the track, slamming into Paul Menard, flipping on top of several other cars. All of the fans which witnessed this event couldn't believe that this happened. Who would think something that happens in video games would actually happen in real life?

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1. Juan Pablo Montoya and the Jet Dryer-Daytona 2012

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Juan Pablo Montoya hit a jet dryer under caution in the Daytona 500. Who ever heard of such a thing? It was the biggest mockery for a former Indianapolis 500 champion and he's probably not going to get made fun of as much once he leaves NASCAR at the end of the season. That wreck could have harmed the live(s) of the guys that were cruising around, cleaning the track in NASCAR's biggest race. Good job Juan Pablo.