Pileup leads to early red flag

Fireworks started at Dover International Speedway nine laps into Sunday’s FedEx 400 after a dozen cars were collected in a pileup on the backstretch.

Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart received significant damage after contact with Landon Cassill and Regan Smith sparked a crash that led to nearly a 20-minute red-flag stoppage of the race.

“(Landon Cassill) was trying to get down to the bottom,” Stewart said. “We were just at the wrong place at the wrong time. It wasn’t Regan’s fault. He was right behind us. He didn’t have anywhere to go either. Just not a real good deal at the start of a race like this.

“(The car) is pretty damn tore up. So we’ll see. Just a crappy weekend. You get back here with some of them guys, you got to be more patient. As far back as we started, I didn’t really have the luxury to be as patient as I would have liked to have been.”

In addition to Stewart, Cassill and Smith, Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Speed, David Gilliland, Reed Sorenson, Michael McDowell, Dave Blaney, Casey Mears, Stephen Leicht and Travis Kvapil were involved in the incident.

Thirty-one cars continued after the caution.

“I actually didn’t even feel (Tony Stewart) touch me," Cassill said. "I don’t know if he did. Tony is one of the most patient drivers and especially in this part of the race. I was just passed by the 1 (of Jamie McMurray) and I was trying to dime in the corner a little bit more. He was just barely there. If he got me, if he even touched me or if he didn’t, when there’s a car there it gets you real loose and I was already loose.

"Tony is a super-patient driver — he’s one of the best. It’s just too bad that it tore up that many race cars. I really hate it for my guys and all the other teams out here. We have a long month of June ahead of us. We’ll just keep working hard and we had a great run last week at Charlotte with the Burger King Toyota. We’ll keep working towards Pocono and Michigan.”