The ”Big One” is a phrase that describes a crash that includes at least five cars in ARCA, IndyCar racing as well as NASCAR. It is commonly referred to at Talladega Superspeedway and Daytona International Speedway; however, it used in other tracks such as Watkins Glen International and Dover International Speedway.
The history of the ”Big one”
Before the 2000s, such a massive crush was described as terrific or major crashes. Media and competitors started taking notice of the severe car crash which wrecked a multiplicity of Cars at Talladega and Daytona by mid-1990s.
It was in 1997 that Dale Earnhardt uses the phrase “the Big Wreck” to describe the final lap at Pepsi 400. After this news started using the phrase “Big Wreck” for such crashes and it started having widespread use in 1999. Drivers were now openly admitting that they were concerned about its possibility.
The ”Big one” was also used on 11th October 1998 when the Winston 500 was hosted on ESPN. Bob Jenkins, a renowned commentator mentioned, “this is the big one we hoped we would not have.” The term, ”Big one” was published for the first time in 2000, in an ESPN.com article while mentioning the DieHard 500 crash. After this, fans started using this term informally on the message boards.
Later in 2001, Darrell Waltrip, a renowned Fox TV commentator of Daytona 500, mentioned “The Big One” on-air while describing the car wreckage that involved 18 Cars in lap 173. It was 2001, when fans, broadcast media, and competitors started using this term widely. In no time, it became a NASCAR vernacular. It is also a retronym for describing past events.
This massive crash was always the target of critics and many have complained that promoters and media were very happy the crash. In the year 2009, Talladega Superspeedway was sold using the notorious crashes. More so, one-third-pound of frankfurter was marketed at the ”Big one” track.
This term is also a part of a video game. A video game named NASCAR 14 includes an achievement named the Big One that can be won by getting crashed at Talladega Superspeedway
Some examples of The Big Daytona 500 Crash in History are as mentioned below:
Daytona 500 of 2001:
On lap 173, Robby Gordon, who was in fifth place, got behind Ward Burton. During this Tony Stewart and Ward Burton crashed. Stewart’s car banged the wall and landed on Gordon’s car. While tumbling on the track, his car was wrecked as a result of the collision with other cars. This caused a recurrent crashing routine and a whopping 18 cars were wrecked. The driver included were Labonte, Gordon, Steve Park, Mark Martin, Jason Leffler, John Andretti, Andy Houston, Kenny Wallace, Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace, Terry Labonte, Jerry Nadeau, Dale Jarrett, Elliott Sadler, Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon, and Buckshot Jones.
However, this crash was overshadowed by the deadly wreckage which took occurred on the final lap.
Daytona 500 of 2002:
It all started when Kevin Harvick who was in second-place tried to block Jeff Gordon who was advancing on lap 149, causing a contact between the two and Harvick spun down. He collided with the wall, blocking 17 other cars. Some of the drives included in the crash are Ricky Rudd, John Andretti, Casey Atwood, Bobby Labonte, Joe Nemechek, Jimmie Johnson, Todd Bodine, Jerry Nadeau, Matt Kenseth, Ken Schrader, Kenny Wallace, Johnny Benson Jnr., Jeremy Mayfield, Mike Wallace, Dale Earnhardt Jnr, Bobby Hamilton, and Dave Blaney. The winner of the race, Ward Burton avoided the crash slightly.
Daytona 500 2017:
- On lap 143, Chase Elliott was in front of the field and Jamie McMurray turned around, which caused 11 cars to crash involving drivers Jeffrey Earnhardt, Daniel Suárez, Ty Dillon, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Newman, and Landon Cassill.
- On lap 129, Jimmie Johnson while trying to block Trevor Bayne, spun around and caused a 17-car crash including drivers like Clint Bowyer, Danica Patrick, Denny Hamlin, and Chris Buescher.
Daytona 500 of 2018:
This race witnessed 3 massive crashes.
- On lap 60, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., while entering the end stage one, was dashed by Ryan Blaney. Stenhouse had almost regained control when Erik Jones spun and crashed 9 cars. Drivers included were William Byron, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Larson, Ty Dillon, Martin Truex Jr., and Daniel Suárez.
- On lap 103, Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski made contact that caused Elliott to run into the wall, crashing 7 cars. Drivers included were Danica Patrick, Kasey Kahne, Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, and David Ragan.
- On lap 199, block Ryan Blaney was blocked by Kurt Busch, which caused his car to spin, crashing 10 additional cars. Drivers were Martin Truex Jr., Brendan Gaughan, Jeffrey Earnhardt, A.J. Allmendinger, Matt DiBenedetto, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Alex Bowman, Ryan Newman, Darrell Wallace Jr., and Joey Logano.
2019 Daytona 500
On lap 190, Matt DiBenedetto and Paul Menard contacted and tangled up, which resulted in a 21-car crash. Drivers included were Martin Truex, Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, and Chase Elliott.