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Four-wide racing contributes to multi-car crash at Nashville

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By Lee Montgomery

GLADEVILLE, Tenn. – A caution in the middle of green-flag pit stops and four-wide racing led to a multi-car crash and a red flag during the Nashville 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Nashville Superspeedway.

As the green flag waved on lap 114, several drivers that had gotten the wave-around were trying to work their way back to the front. That resulted in several drivers going four-wide, and that simply doesn’t work at Nashville.

Rusty Wallace Racing’s Brendan Gaughan and Steve Wallace were side-by-side in the lower lanes, but Wallace and Jason Keller made contact, and those two slammed the outside wall. Michael McDowell, Mikey Kile and Colin Braun were also involved.

"I’d like to see what happened before I comment on what I think happened, if you know what I mean," Keller said.

Keller was trying not to point any fingers.

"I was trying to get out of the way," Keller said. "I heard I was three-wide and then I heard the 66 put us four-wide. I thought I was going to be clear, and then I guess … I don’t know. I’d like to see what happened because I couldn’t see a lot from my point of view. I was just trying to get clear there.

"We had brake problems that kind of put us in the back. We’ll just keep digging. That’s all we can do."

Keller’s TriStar Motorsports team is 37th in the owner standings and will need to make the Phoenix race via qualifying.

McDowell’s MacDonald Motorsports’ team suffered the most, dropping four spots to 32nd in the owners standings.

"It’s tough for us just because we don’t have a lot of cars," McDowell said. "We’re a smaller team, and we were lacking funding already. It’s tough, especially when we were having a good day. We were running in the top 15 most of the day."

The car he wrecked in Nashville was supposed to be the primary car for Phoenix, but those plans have clearly changed.

McDowell wasn’t sure who exactly was to blame but said racing four-wide doesn’t work.

"When you’ve got a fourth car on the bottom, you’re never going to make it," McDowell said. "I don’t know how it all worked or how it all looked. I figured the safest bet was all the way to the outside, but that didn’t work out too well."

It didn’t work out too well for Wallace, either, who limped away from the crash.

"It’s just the nature of it," Wallace said. "There’s a lot of different opinions, but these guys have to have a lot more sense than to make it four- and five-wide going down the backstretch at Nashville. This isn’t a big track and it’s stupidity. You get paid to finish good and you have to take a lot of chances. That’s just part of it, but we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Gaughan said he was simply riding the low lane behind Joey Logano and Kyle Busch.

"I was behind the 20 and the 18," Gaughan said. "I don’t know who it was, I just know we were all way (on the bottom). Then I saw Stephen pop out and door down on the 18, and I was on the 18’s bumper, so I went there, too. Got through the corner, and they said, ‘Caution.’ I said, ‘Cool.’ Because in my mind, Stephen would be clear because he was second in line. No way he got hit.

"But I don’t know what happened. They said somebody checked up in front of him, and when they checked up, it was everybody hitting each other. I think it was two or three rows of four-wide."