Longtime NASCAR writer Rick Minter lists five of the biggest Talladega wrecks.
1. 1993 Winston 500
Rusty Wallace finished sixth in the race, but crossed the finish line in the middle of an end-over-end crash that had his car flipping 10 times after contact from Dale Earnhardt. Wallace suffered a broken wrist and a concussion. Several drivers criticized NASCAR for stopping the race in the closing laps (because of rain) to set up a sprint to the finish.
2. 1993 DieHard 500
Just days after Davey Allison died from injuries in a helicopter crash at Talladega, a six-car crash in Turn 1 had Jimmy Horton’s Chevrolet flipping all the way out of the race track onto an access road and the No. 49 Chevrolet of Stanley Smith slamming head-on into the concrete wall. Horton escaped without major injury, but Smith nearly died.
3. 1996 Winston 500
The catch-fence installed after Horton’s wild ride got a major test when Ricky Craven was collected in a 13-car crash that started with a collision between Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon. Craven’s No. 41 Chevrolet was turned upside down and began rolling up the banking, then flew airborne into the fence. It bounced back onto the track on the driver’s side, and Craven suffered two fractured vertebrae.
4. The 2002 Aaron’s 312
The Nationwide Series race was 16 laps old when Johnny Sauter flipped violently on the backstretch, setting off a 27-car smash-up that turned the race into one of the duller events ever run at the track. Only three drivers — winner Jason Keller, runner-up Stacy Compton and third-finishing Tim Fedewa — finished on the lead lap.
5. The 2009 Aaron’s 499
Carl Edwards and rookie Brad Keselowski were racing for the victory on the final lap when the two made contact. Edwards’ car soared into the catch-fence, ripping down parts of the fence and sending parts flying into the grandstands. The wreck injured several fans and led to much taller and stronger fences at Talladega and other NASCAR tracks.