Despite a multi-car incident with only 5 laps to go, NASCAR made the decision to finish the 1997 Pepsi 400 under green with only one lap left to go, instead of ending the race under caution as the drivers had expected it to. This would prove controversial, as the sudden sense of urgency among the leaders may have contributed to the biggest incident of the day. Dick Trickle (#90) cut down on a fast approaching Mark Martin (#6) going into Turn 3, wrecking both and taking Ward Burton (#22) with them. As they slid down towards the apron, Burton and Martin suffered major impacts from Derrike Cope (#36) and Bobby Hamilton (#43) respectively. Burton was taken to Halifax Hospital with a concussion.
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