WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (AP) — Ryan Newman and Michael McDowell have crashed hard in the Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International, causing a stoppage just past the midpoint of the 90-lap race.
The violent wreck Sunday occurred coming out of a sweeping right turn leading to the backstretch on the 2.45-mile road course. Greg Biffle clipped the rear end of Newman’s No. 31, setting off an accident involving at least five cars.
Newman’s Chevrolet spun hard into the Armco barrier lining the track, ripping a big hole in the barrier’s metal. The car then spun around twice and went back across the racing surface, collecting McDowell in his No. 95, which incurred heavy damage in the rear.
“Wrong place at the wrong time,” Newman said. “I tried to time it so I could shoot past.”
“There was nothing I could do,” Biffle said.
Newman, McDowell and Alex Bowman were treated in the infield care center and released. The race was red-flagged on lap 57.
I’m good,” said McDowell, who was involved in a spectacular crash at Texas in qualifying in 2008. “Glad to walk away from it. I feel blessed. I’m not really sure what happened. Ididn’t have time to adjust and move. I was along for the ride. This time I closed my eyes. It definitely was a wild one. It’s amazing to walk away from an accident like that and not have any broken bones.”
Newman criticized track officials for the antiquated barrier.
“I’m really sad to see it,” he said. “They could spend a few million dollars (on Safer barriers) and make the drivers happy. The safety is not up to NASCAR standards.”
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