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Jay Busbee

Elliott Sadler, the patron saint of Wreck Week, flies at Talladega

Jay Busbee
From The Marbles

When we announced Wreck Week and called for suggestions, one wreck flooded our inbox. Which one? Why, this one, of course:

That's Elliott Sadler taking to the air at Talladega in 2003. It was the EA Sports 500, and that's appropriate because that crash looked straight out of a video game.

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The details: Sadler had won the pole and was running in the top 10 -- yes, really -- when he contacted Kurt Busch and, as you just saw, tumbled butt-over-teakettle. But he was uninjured, being observed and released from a Birmingham hospital in fairly short order.

As NASCAR.com noted at the time, Sadler was aided by the then-new Lucky Dog rule, which prohibits cars from racing back to the starting line under yellow. Because cars weren't flying around the track at racing speed, emergency crews could get to Sadler quicker. Reports of the time also pointed out that the tether system that holds the tires, hood and rear deck lid to the car worked to perfection. Without it, that hood and deck lid would have been over the fence or deep into the infield. They would have made for fine souvenirs, if you caught them and lived to tell the tale.

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