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Pocono Raceway Moments: 10 Biggest NASCAR Cup Series Crashes

Pocono Raceway has played host to a laundry list of massive moments over the course of its tenure on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit. Here is a breakdown of some of the biggest crashes to ever take place at the Tricky Triangle.


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We've seen a lot of noteworthy moments in the NASCAR Cup Series over the last 50 years at Pocono Raceway, and as we approach the upcoming The Great American Getaway 400 presented by VisitPA.com on July 14, it felt like a great time to look back at some of the incredible moments that have transpired throughout the history of the 2.5-mile Tricky Triangle.

The track has played host to some massive crashes. It has sparked some heated feuds. And it has seen some excellent finishes transpire. In this installment, we will look at some of the biggest crashes to ever take place at the inconic track in Long Pond, PA.

RELATED: Save Today on Tickets for Pocono NASCAR Weekend

Without further ado, here are the 10 wildest NASCAR Cup Series crashes in Pocono Raceway History.

10. Steve Park's Flip (2002)

This was a crash, which raised a lot of concern for Steve Park as the driver had been involved in several hard impacts in the NASCAR Cup Series from 1998 to 2002.

Park started 14th in the July 28, 2002 Pennsylvania 500, but sadly the driver of the No. 1 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet wouldn't complete one lap in the event. As the field exited Turn 1 on the opening lap, and screamed down the Long Pond Straightaway, Park was engaged in a battle on track with Rusty Wallace, and his DEI teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr.

As Park made a move to the outside of Wallace, Wallace and Park collided, which sent Wallace into the outside wall, and Park's No. 1 machine careened to the inside of the track, where he collected Earnhardt, and the pair of teammates skidded out of control through the infield grass.

Park and Earnhardt would slam into the metal guardrail in the infield, and Park's No. 1 machine would tumble wildly. Thankfully, Park was able to walk away unscathed.

9. BAM! Ken Schrader Goes Up and Over, and Catches Fire (2003)

To see Ken Schrader climb from the No. 49 BAM Racing Dodge Intrepid in 2003 was a great sight to see, Schrader lost control in the high lane heading into Turn 1, and backed his car hard into the outside wall.

As the car contacted the wall, it caused tremendous damage to his race car, and it punctured the fuel tank. As the sheet metal began sparking as it was dragged behind the car, the spilled fuel ignited. Schrader dropped the window net before the car even came to a stop, and he swiftly climbed from the car.

8. Kasey Kahne Goes Into The Trees! (2010)

On a green-white-checkered finish to the Gillette Fusion Proglide 500 at Pocono Raceway, Kasey Kahne found himself in a scary situation. He had been spun off of Turn 1, which sent him into the infield grass. The trip into the grass spun Kahne's No. 9 machine back across the track, which sent him into oncoming traffic.

As Kahne was clocked in the rear by Jeff Gordon, who had nowhere to go, the No. 9 machine lifted off the ground, and spun in the air. The rear of Kahne's car went over the outside wall, and actually trimmed the trees along the wall.

Fortunately, Kahne's car didn't go all the way over the wall, and foruntately, everyone was able to walk away from this scary crash.

7. Jeff Green Goes Head-On Into the Infield Barrier (2003)

Ouch! That is all that can be said. With three laps remaining in the 2003 NASCAR Cup Series Pocono 500, Jeff Green, who was running seventh, got turned by Terry Labonte on the Long Pond Straightaway.

Green went head-first into the inside metal guard rail in the infield, and suffered a massive impact. Fortunately, Green would walk away, albeit with a broken tailbone.

6. Jeff Gordon's Brake Failure in Turn 1 (2006)

If there is one place you don't want to have a brake failure, it's heading into Turn 1 at Pocono Raceway. Cars typically carry 200-miles-per-hour-plus speeds down the long frontstraightaway at Pocono as they barrel down into Turn 1.

In 2006, Jeff Gordon suffered a brake issue heading into Turn 1 on Lap 191. He had two options: go full speed into the outside wall, or clip the inside grass in an effort to reduce the speed. Gordon chose to go with the grass option, and as he did that, it sent his No. 24 Chevrolet into a spin.

The end result was a driver's side door impact hard into the outside wall at Pocono. Fortunately, for Gordon, the track had SAFER barriers in 2006.

5. Dale Earnhardt: One Tough Customer is Born (1982)

Dale Earnhardt's toughness behind the wheel of a race car was never questioned. The Intimidator was originally coined "One Tough Customer" back in his days as the Wrangler Jeans driver, and in 1982 at Pocono Raceway, Earnhardt earned that moniker.

On Lap 136 of the July, 1982 Mountain Dew 500 at Pocono, Earnhardt suffered an issue heading into Turn 1, and was unable to slow his No. 15 Bud Moore machine. Earnhardt plowed into the rear of Tim Richmond's No. 2 entry, which sent both drivers crashing.

Earnhardt got the worst of it as his No. 15 Ford launched when it hit the outside wall, and after a wild tumble, Earnhardt's car landed on its lid, and skid to a stop. As Earnhardt attempted to exit his car, he noticed Richmond running his way. In 1987, Earnhardt would admit in an interview with The Washington Post that he thought his competitor was coming to, "Whip my butt," and that he was worried as he knew he was in no condition to defend himself.

Fortunately, Richmond wasn't coming to fight, he was coming to aid his fellow competitor. Earnhardt suffered a broken leg in the crash, but refused to let NASCAR know about the injury, and he then let his sponsor know that he wouldn't sit out any races due to the injury.

He didn't.

4. Elliott Sadler's MASSIVE Impact (2010)

It's a crash that was so hard, it straight ripped the engine out from Elliott Sadler's No. 19 machine, and left the driver grimmacing in pain as he attempted to climb from the car. But what happened? We still don't truly know for sure, but as Kurt Busch crashed ahead of him, somehow Sadler was sent spinning into the grass.

As he hit the grass, Sadler was unable to get his car slowed down, and he went head-first into a 90-degree L-shaped section of metal guard railing.

3. Davey Allison's Nasty Tumble (1992)

After a nudge from Darrell Waltrip, Davey Allison's No. 28 Texaco Ford Thunderbird spun backwards and went flying through the air, and would tumble over and over and over again as he car skidded across the top of the infield metal guard rail.

Allison would be airlifted to the hospital, where he would be diagnosed with a broken arm, wrist, collarbone, and a concussion. After holding a press conference, where he showed off his bloodshot eyes following the horrific crash, Allison would start the next race for points, but would be relieved by Bobby Hillin Jr.

The driver would go on to battle Alan Kulwicki and Bill Elliott for the NASCAR Cup Series title in the final race of the season that year, but a crash eliminated his title hopes.

2. Richard Petty Suffers a Broken Neck (1980)

On Lap 56 of the 1980 Pocono 500, 'The King' Richard Petty suffered a right front tire failure in Turn 2, which sent his No. 43 Petty Enterprises machine hard into the outside wall. Petty's car would launch violently into the air before coming back down on it's wheels.

As Petty's car remained motionless on the exit of Turn 2, he would be narrowly missed by a spinning Chuck Bown, but then would get t-boned in the driver's door by Darrell Waltrip.

After a trip to the hospital, it was revealed that Petty had broke his neck in the accident, and the hospital also saw evidence that Petty had previously broken his neck despite the driver not being aware of that fact.

1. Bobby Allison Near-Death Experience (1988)

It was a crash that changed Bobby Allison's life, and signaled the end of the NASCAR Hall of Famer's NASCAR Cup Series driving career. Fortunately, it didn't signal the end of his life, but things were touch and go, for sure.

On the first lap of the 1988 Miller 500 at Pocono, Allison had a tire go down on his No. 12 machine, which sent him into the outside wall in Turn 2, and caused his car to spin and come to a stop on the track. Allison was then t-boned by Jocko Maggiacomo in the driver's side door. Allison estimated in an interview that Maggiacomo was traveling around 150 mph at the time of impact.

Allison, 50 at the time, would be transported to the Lehigh Valley Hospital Center in Allentown, PA where reports say he suffered from a concussion, a fractured left leg, blunt adominal trauma, and internal bleeding.

Allison remained unconcious in the hospital for days, once he regained conciousness, Allison spent months in the hospital recovering and years of rehabilitation. Allison suffered memory loss in the crash, and still doesn't remember beating his son Davey Allison for the win in the 1988 Daytona 500.

Thinking about heading to Pocono Raceway?

With the Pocono Raceway NASCAR weekend swiftly approaching, the iconic 2.5-mile tricky triangle has partnered with Racing America, and some of the top race teams in the NASCAR Cup Series ranks to bring race fans a chance to utilize their fandom of their favorite NASCAR Cup Series team to score an exclusive offer on tickets for the upcoming The Great American Getaway 400 Presented by VisitPA.com.

Click here and then select your favorite team to take advantage of a special ticket offer ($10 off a Paddock Pass+ with the purchase of a grandstand 100 level or 200 level ticket) for The Great American Getaway 400 Presented By VisitPA at Pocono Raceway.

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