TALLADEGA, Ala. — It didn't take long for the first on-track incident at Talladega at Sunday's Aaron's 499. The only surprise is how little damage ensued from what could have been a catastrophic wreck.
Danica Patrick was leading the race at lap 14 when Brad Keselowski decided to make a run for the front. Keselowski had pushed Patrick to the lead, but when he tried to make a pass for the lead, he made contact with Patrick's front bumper and spun deep into the grass.
Who's at fault here? Keselowski (or his spotter) for cutting down too early? Patrick for drifting up into Keselowski? Your answer probably depends on which driver you prefer.
Keselowski, who won this event in 2012, managed to keep the car shiny side up, pointing in the right direction, and still rolling. His momentum carried him back up the track, and Trevor Bayne narrowly missed him. Jamie McMurray was the only other driver to suffer damage as a result of the spin.
Keselowski suffered damage to his radiator, and repair to that cost him six laps. He would go on to cause another, larger wreck. Before this day was over, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth and many other big names would be knocked out of contention by a variety of wrecks.
Denny Hamlin won the race under caution, his first win at a superspeedway. Patrick finished 22nd, and Keselowski finished 38th.