Watkins Glen, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - A horrifying accident involving Ryan Newman and Michael McDowell forced NASCAR officials to stop Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International for a lengthy period of time.
Neither Newman nor McDowell was injured during the wreck. But it did force officials to display the red flag for about an hour and a half to allow track personnel to repair a damaged guardrail and clean up debris.
On lap 56 of this 90-lap scheduled race -- the Cheez-It 355 at the Glen -- Newman made contact with Greg Biffle while battling for position between turns 5 and 6 on this 2.45-mile road course. Newman lost control and slammed hard into the outside guardrail. His No. 31 Chevrolet ricocheted off of the guardrail and spun around multiple times on the track before collecting McDowell's No. 95 Ford.
"It was the wrong place at the wrong time," Newman said. "From my standpoint, Biffle jumped the curb, and his splitters ended up on the curb, got out, cut across the grass. I probably could have given him a little more, but I tried to time it so I could shoot past. He slowed down when he got back on the racetrack. It's really disappointing."
McDowell's car spun around and went airborne before the back of it slammed hard into the inside guardrail, which was heavily damaged.
The rear of Newman and McDowell's cars were severely damaged as well. Biffle had no damage to his No. 16 Ford.
"That was a bad wreck," McDowell said. "I'm not sure what really happened. I saw the 16 [Biffle] get a little wide, and the 31 [Newman] come back across the track. I didn't really have time to adjust or move. I just tried not to hit Ryan in the door there. That was pretty much it. I was along for the ride."
Danica Patrick, who is Newman's teammate at Stewart-Haas Racing, was also caught up in the wreck. Patrick sustained small damage to the front-left side of her No. 10 Chevrolet.
Newman was critical of the track's "antiquated" safety features. This road course does not have SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barriers installed.
"The SAFER barrier doesn't exist here," he said. "There's no concrete walls. It's a very antiquated racetrack, and the safety is not at all up to NASCAR's standards. It's a shame that we have to have accidents like that to prove it. Hopefully, something will change the next time we come back here."