- Associated Press - Sunday, June 3, 2012

DOVER, DEL. (AP) - The parade of wreckers entering the garage hauled the dented and busted remains of cars belonging to Tony Stewart, Landon Cassill, David Gilliland, Juan Pablo Montoya and other drivers that ended their shot at victory before the race really got going.

So much for the dry spell of big wrecks in Sprint Cup.

The series had its biggest pileup of the season with 13 cars the casualties of an accident on the ninth lap triggered when Stewart made contact with Cassill’s left rear and sent him into the wall. Regan Smith rammed into Stewart and nine other cars plowed into them Sunday at Dover International Speedway.

Smith and Stewart both took the blame for the accident on the backstretch.

Smith said he didn’t have time to slow down and avoid Stewart. Stewart said it wasn’t Smith’s fault.

“The No. 83 (Cassill) was trying to get back down to the bottom and we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Stewart said. “It wasn’t Regan’s fault. He was right behind us and he didn’t have anywhere to go either. Just not a real good deal at the beginning of the race like this.”

Casey Mears, Travis Kvapil, Michael McDowell, Dave Blaney, Scott Speed, Stephen Leicht, Reed Sorenson, and Joe Nemechek all were involved. There was a mangled mess of cars in the garage and crew members pounded away at sheet metal trying to salvage a return. Montoya drove down pit road with the hood of the No. 42 positioned straight up. Most cars did return to the concrete track.

Stewart finished 25th, Smith was 27th, and Montoya 28th. Gilliland, Speed, McDowell, Mears and Nemechek never returned.

Cassill said he never felt Stewart touch him.

“When the 14 is behind me, and he’s going to make a pass, I’m going to let him go,” Cassill said. “You want those guys to pass you. I hate it for Tony. I hate it for all the guys.”

The race was red flagged.

Major wrecks and yellow flags have become a rarity in NASCAR this season. There was another when Carl Edwards was involved in a single-car wreck on lap 165. Edwards’ front right tire went flat and he smacked into the wall.

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TOUGH LUCK, GORDON: Jeff Gordon had another fast car at Dover. Maybe the best one, too.

But again, Gordon ran into some misfortune that cost him the victory Sunday.

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