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NASCAR briefly halts race after 15-car accident at Talladega

TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — NASCAR was forced to briefly stop Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway to clean up after a 15-car accident.

The accident occurred 47 laps into the race when Paul Menard attempted to pass Trevor Bayne on the outside of a three-wide pack of cars. Kurt Busch was following closely on Bayne’s bumper, and the aerodynamics from Menard on the outside and Busch behind him caused Bayne’s car to snap around.

“It felt like (Menard) was really tight on our door and sucked us around,” Bayne said.

“The air is so sensitive here. When you get too close to somebody, it can just pull you right around and it’s as much as hitting somebody physically when you get down on their door that tight.”

The race was stopped for 11 minutes because of the accident, which also collected Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Larson and Danica Patrick. Of the drivers involved, only Bayne and Larson suffered enough damage to their cars to end their day.

“I thought I was going to miss it there and then (Landon Cassill) slid across the track,” Larson said. “I tried turning back down the race track to avoid him and just got into him and started spinning and hitting the wall and stuff.”

During the red-flag period, one of Justin Allgaier’s crew members was ejected by NASCAR for handling a gas can behind the pit road wall without a helmet or protective face cover.

NASCAR is apparently taking a hard look at fire safety since a fueling issue in last week’s Xfinity Series race at Richmond International Raceway injured three crewmen. A fire erupted on pit road as the gas man for Brendan Gaughan tried to fill Gaughan’s tank, and two crew members were hospitalized overnight.

NASCAR on Sunday morning was inspecting the protective gear for several teams.

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