A Daytona wreck claimed 26 cars on Sunday afternoon, forcing a red flag at the Coke Zero 400 and knocking out some big-name competitors.
The wreck took place with 98 of a scheduled 160 laps completed at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday. It was sparked when cars driven by Greg Biffle and Kasey Kahne bumped going into Turn 3, hooking the No. 22 Ford driven by Joey Logano. The Daytona wreck grew from there, snarling other drivers until a total of 26 cars were involved.
Many of the front-runners were knocked out the race.
Those involved in the Daytona crash wreck included: Kahne, Clint Bowyer, Alex Bowman, Busch, Biffle,Cole Whitt, pole-starter David Gilliland, Justin Allgaier, Ryan Newman, Paul Menard, Josh Wise, Michael Annett, Ryan Truex, Bobby Labonte, Matt Kenseth, Landon Cassill, Jamie McMurray, Marcos Ambrose, Logano, David Ragan, Denny Hamlin, Danica Patrick, Brad Keselowski, Terry Labonte, Reed Sorenson and Michael McDowell.
Biffle, who led for nine laps before the crash, said it was just an unfortunate accident.
“Just so unhappy,” he said. “Just close-quarters racing.”
The Coke Zero 400 had already been delayed from Saturday night to Sunday morning due to rain, and then was red-flagged again on Sunday due to a 16-car crash on Lap 20 that took out eight drivers, including Jimmie Johnson.
The first crash was caused when Jeff Gordon swerved to avoid Ricky Stenhouse.
“Every week it’s something with (Stenhouse). I love him like a little brother, but it makes me nervous to be around him on the racetrack,” Gordon said.
“I guess it was Stenhouse being an idiot. It didn’t make much sense when we’re coming to the caution. We’re like a quarter of a lap from getting to the caution and he does something stupid.”
In the end, Aric Almirola hung on to win the race, with Brian Vickers finishing second.
Almirola had a bit of an unusual victory as he was leading when the race was again stopped for rain. When Daytona officials decided to call it over, Almirola took his first NASCAR Sprint Cup win.
“I’m not going to lie, I’m just hoping the Good Lord will send a big ol’ rain shower on us,” he said.
While it may have knocked out a number of competitors, the Daytona wreck and the rain appeared to play to Almirola’s advantage.
[Image by M.Phalenand timesdispatch.com]