Daytona 500: Ready, Set, CRASH!

This year’s Daytona 500 went off with a bang, literally. Everything that could go wrong with this Daytona 500 did go wrong. The first NASCAR race in prime time television could be remembered for everything but the winner. For the first time in NASCAR ‘s 54-year history a race was postponed because of steady rain at the track all day on Sunday before the race was scheduled to begin. After the rain had passed the track turned into a fiery inferno. The races were supposed to begin at noon and were further delayed until 7 pm. With this unfortunate chain of events officials should’ve expected the worst. This was also the first year ever Daytona 500 would be shown in prime time on the Fox network. At least it served for some good entertainment!

This was supposed to be one of the biggest years for Daytona 500, NASCAR’s version of the Super Bowl. After a rain delay pushed the race to start on Monday a freak accident  by  Juan Pablo Montoya delayed the race even further. A problem with his car sent him spinning under caution into a safety truck. The truck, which holds 200 gallons of jet kerosene, burst into flames. Montoya’s car slid into the glass as her climbed out and fire trucks rushed to the scene. With 40 laps remaining and an inferno on the track, the race was flagged and delayed 2 hours, 5 minutes and 29 seconds while track workers used tide laundry detergent to clean up the track. After the track had been deemed squeaky clean, NASCAR officials gave the okay for the race to continue.

Just when fans thought the race was back on, another crash erupted. Five time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, former IndyCar driver Danica Patrick and defending race champion Trevor Bayne were involved in a fiery wreck in only the second lap of the Daytona 500. The crash was extremely unexpected especially for this group of drivers so early in the race. The crash erupted when Elliott Sadler had nudged Johnson from behind as they drafted around the track. This was enough to turn his No. 48 Chevrolet racing car into the wall, causing him to slide backwards onto the track when he was hit hard in the door by driver David Ragan. The untimely accident created a pile up of six other cars including Patrick and Bayne on the racetrack. It took Patrick’s pit crew an hour to get her “back on track”, 62 laps behind the leader. This was Patrick’s Daytona 500 debut, after making the move from IndyCar to NASCAR full-time. Following the crash, Johnson was done for the night and extremely bummed with the events of the race. Johnson’s five-time NASCAR champion career had now been tarnished with his worst season and worth finish in the Great American Race. He finished 42nd in his worst showing in 53 starts spanning four series at the famed track. The driver was extremely disappointed with his performance to say the least.

Besides Johnson, other drivers joined the garage pity party after the race.  Jeff Gordon blew an engine on lap 82 and finished in 40th place. Kasey Khane joined in on a crash catastrophe on lap 190 in a seven–car smash. What a race! On a more positive note, Dale Earnhardt Jr. failed to crash the garage party and went on to finish second to the races winner Matt Kenseth.  On top of all the madness, drivers, crews, and fans waited more than 30 hours for the race to get under way due to rainy weather. Once the cars started their engines, the race certainly packed a punch as the drivers gave tribute to Adele and Set Fire To The Rain.

In social media news, during the crash delays, driver Brad Keselowski took it upon himself tweet from his vehicle. “Time to get back to racing, thank you for following” was one of the tweets by Keselowski from his vehicle. After the race resumed he was caught up in a late race crash which he also tweeted about only minutes after the incident. Why not take to twitter after you crash? At least fans knew he was alright! Keselowski keeps his mobile device with him in his vehicle and was able to post photos and answer questions from fans on his Twitter account. While it may not have been a big day for Keselowski in Daytona, it was in the Twitter world. Keselowski tripled his number of followers from 65, 000 to 200, 000 as the race got ready to resume. At least something positive came out of the bizarre delays of this years Daytona 500.

 

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