The first major incident of Saturday’s Irwin Tools Night Race took place on Lap 125 of 500 when Aric Almirola, Brian Vickers and Kyle Larson raced three-wide off Turn 4.
As the trio of cars came off pit road, Vickers’ No. 55 Toyota appeared to go up the track, squeezing Larson’s No. 42 Chevrolet into the outside wall. Vickers then shot back down the track into the No. 43 of Almirola, sending both cars hard into the inside wall.
As the three cars wrecked, Clint Bowyer got into the back of Kyle Busch’s car, sending him sliding into the wreck as well.
Three of the fastest cars this weekend, Almirola and Larson were at the back of the pack in back-up cars after wrecking in Friday’s knockout qualifying session. Busch, who led eight laps early in Saturday night’s race was hit with a pit road speeding penalty and was sent to the rear of the field.
Almirola was the only car unable to continue, finishing the day 41st Busch would make multiple pit stops, but his chance at victory was gone.
"Just disappointed," said Almirola. "Man, what an amazing race car these guys brought me. Two of them. And to go out like that is certainly disappointing but it’s racing at Bristol. You get caught up in other people’s wrecks."
"It’s still Bristol. We were catching a slower lapped car — I think it was the 7 (Michael Annett) — and we were all starting to find our way to the bottom because the 7 was clogging up the top lane, and 55 started to cheat his way down there since I was already inside of him, and the 42 got to his outside, I guess, and the 55 got together with him. It’s frustrating. Certainly not the way we wanted to end our day. We certainly didn’t want to wreck another race car. We’ve had a terrible six weeks since we won at Daytona. It seems like we’ve been kind of cursed or something. I don’t know. But we’ll get back on track."