Labonte taken to hospital after nine-car wreck at Watkins Glen

Updated: August 10, 2008, 7:51 PM ET
By Terry Blount | ESPN.com

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- One of the worst road-course crashes in years brought out a red flag with eight laps to go Sunday in the Centurion Boats at The Glen Sprint Cup race Sunday at Watkins Glen International.

[+] EnlargeBobby Labonte
Rusty Jarrett/Getty ImagesBobby Labonte's car sits on pit road after a nine-car crash at Watkins Glen.

Bobby Labonte limped away from the terrifying nine-car accident and was transported to a local hospital. Petty Enterprises officials said Labonte was evaluated and released from the hospital and has no injuries.

The red flag lasted 43 minutes.

The crash started when Michael McDowell and David Gilliland bumped door panels as they came around Turn 11, the final turn on the course.

The collision caused both cars to slide across the track and slam hard into a tire barrier. Gilliland's car bounced back sideways on the track before it was T-boned by Labonte's car, sending pieces of sheet metal flying into the air as both cars were destroyed.

Labonte's No. 43 Dodge spun to the inside barrier before coming to a stop. Labonte climbed out quickly but visibly was in pain.

After the massive collision with Labonte, Gilliland's car continued to get hit by other cars as the drivers sped around the turn unable to see what had happened ahead of them. What remained of Gilliland's No. 38 Ford was spinning on the track like a top. Gilliland was not hurt.

Sam Hornish Jr.'s car slid sideways as he tried to avoid Gilliland, but Hornish made a severe contact with the water barrels in front of the pit-wall entrance. Hornish also was not injured and returned to the race.

Other drivers involved in the accident were Joe Nemechek, Dave Blaney, Max Papis, Reed Sorenson and Michael Waltrip.

"I'm OK, but I have a broken heart," Papis said. "That was crazy. There as no place to go. Everybody kept pushing and shoving out there before that happened. It is what it is, but it was definitely bad."

Terry Blount covers motorsports for ESPN.com. He can be reached at terry@blountspeak.com.

Terry Blount

ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter

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