BRISTOL, Tenn. - For the second Sprint Cup Series race in a row at Bristol Motor Speedway, the two leaders of the race were involved in a major accident in the closing stages of the race.
This time it was Jeff Gordon, who melted a bead in his right front tire as the leader and slapped the turn four wall. He collected Matt Kenseth who had nowhere to go but right into the back of Gordon's Chevrolet. The accident ended both of their afternoons.
The accident occurred on lap 390 and completely changed the complexion of the race. Gordon initially assumed the lead on lap 323 by taking two tires and had held onto the top spot until the accident. Gordon was able to drive his Chevrolet back to the garage while Kenseth was transported to the infield care facility.
Kenseth was treated and eventually released.
Gordon believes his team made the right call by choosing only left side tires as crew chief Alan Gustafson believed that and clean air would assist the cars in rotating the apex of the corners.
"The car was really good on the restarts and in the clean air," Gordon said. "We were setting sail. The right front tires never blow out when you are up against the wall. I drove to the bottom to pass (Terry Labonte) and as soon as I got into the banking, I felt the right front go.
Kenseth was closing in on Gordon and was setting himself up to make a pass for the lead. It was his closing rate that appeared to make him unable to steer clear of the crashed Gordon car.
"I really hate that I collected Matt Kenseth in that," Gordon said. "He was coming and it was just a matter of time before he got us. It was a great, great effort today up until then for our team and I'm proud of that. We needed points and this isn't going to net us many.