Multi-Car Wrecks Ruled the Weekend at Daytona

by Tucker White On Sun, Feb. 26, 2017

Jimmie Johnson and a number of other cars wreck out in Turn 3 on lap 126 of the 59th running of the Daytona 500. Photo: Rachel Myers/SpeedwayMedia.com

On Sunday, 16 cars retired from the Daytona 500 due to an accident. On Saturday, 23 cars retired from the XFINITY Series race due to an accident. On Friday night, 11 trucks retired from the Camping World Truck Series race due to an accident. And those numbers don’t include the vehicles that also received damage as a result of these wrecks.

Austin Cindric heads for a head-on collision with the Turn 1 wall as the field wads up behind him in a multi-car wreck on the second lap of the NextEra Energy Resources 250 Camping World Truck Series season-opener at Daytona International Speedway. Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The car graveyard opened for business on only the second lap of the race when Noah Gragson was shunted into the wall by Chase Briscoe. Gragson’s lifeless truck came back down and clipped the No. 19 of Austin Cindric and sent him into the wall. The rest were collected or received damage because of checking up and the wreck played out as a result of an accordion effect.

“I was riding probably around seventh or eighth at the time on the outside and just got popped from behind,” Gragson said. “It felt like, going through one and two, the 29 got me. He hit me, got me sideways and then I tried not getting into the 27 (Ben Rhodes) in front of me, but it was not our night tonight I guess.”

In total, 14 trucks were involved in the lap 2 Big One: Gragson, Cindric, John Hunter Nemechek, Clay Greenfield, Stewart Friesen, Tommy Joe Martins, Tyler Young, Ross Chastain, JJ Yeley, Briscoe, Terry Jones, Cody Coughlin, Myatt Snyder and Bobby Gerhart.

Capping the night was the final lap wreck that collected 12 trucks.

Exiting Turn 2, Grant Enfinger was bump-drafting with teammate Ben Rhodes when he shunted him too much and loosened him. This turned him down into Matt Crafton, who did a 180 spin before his truck was lift up in the air, flipped in a corkscrew motion and landed on all four wheels.

“I was coming off (turn) two and I was like, ‘I’m going to win this race, I’m going to win this race.’ I got my Daytona jinx off of me and all of the sudden I looked in the mirror and I saw the 27 (Ben Rhodes) get turned and I’m like, ‘Just don’t let him get in the right rear of me,’ and the 27 of Ben Rhodes gave me the push to win that race and I got out so far going through the tri-oval and then I got hooked and then I felt light and it’s been a long time since I’ve been in the air then I was in the air and then I saw lights and we had the wrong side down boys,” Crafton said.

Amongst Crafton, Johnny Sauter, Ben Rhodes, Austin Wayne Self (who finished second), Regan Smith, Christopher Bell, Yeley, Snider, Coughlin, Timothy Peters, Spencer Gallagher and Enfinger all received some form of damage from the final lap wreck.

The next day in the XFINITY Series PowerShares QQQ 300, all but two cars made it through the race unscathed.

On lap 23, Scott Lagasse Jr. loosened Tyler Reddick and sent him into Spencer Gallagher, who comes back down and pinballs off other cars. In total, 20 cars (Kyle Larson, Garrett Smithley, Ryan Reed (who went on to win the race), Gallagher, Ray Black Jr., Cole Custer, Jeremy Clements, Michael Annett, Austin Dillon, Aric Almirola, Ryan Sieg, Yeley, Brad Keselowski, Jeff Green, William Byron, Benny Gordon, Lagasse, Anthony Kumpen, Clint King and Brendan Gaughan) were involved.

Cleanup necessitated the red flag for 18 minutes and 22 seconds.

On the restart with two laps remaining in the segment, Daniel Hemric gets loose in the speedy dry in Turn 3 and clips Justin Allgaier, sending him into the wall.

“I think the 7 (Allgaier) got turned by somebody and I saw Erik didn’t lift, so I didn’t lift and we were trying to go through the middle, and I think me and Daniel collided there. It was just unfortunate circumstances that put us there,” Wallace said.

Thirteen cars (Allgaier, Brandon Jones, Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez, Darrell Wallace Jr., Chris Cockrum, Hemric, Harrison Rhodes, Brandon Hightower, Matt Tifft, Lagasse and Blake Koch) were involved.

Cleanup for this wreck necessitated 27 minutes and 51 seconds of red flag time.

With 17 laps to go, the field was riding down the backstretch when Elliott Sadler was shunted into the wall by Austin Dillon and the resulting accordion effect resulted in a 16-car wreck (Reed, Dillon, Black, Sadler, Gaughan, Annett, Yeley, Koch, Byron, Suarez, Kumpen, Sieg, Chastain, Reddick, Smithley and Joey Gase).

After the checkered flag flew, there was a four-car wreck that included Smithley, Byron, Lagasse and Annett.

Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, Matt Kenseth and Ty Dillon come to a rest at the bottom of Turn 3 following a multi-car wreck just past halfway in the 59th running of the Daytona 500. Photo: Jerry Markland/Getty Images

The Daytona 500 was more collected for the first 105 laps. But that changed when Kyle Busch suffered a left or right-rear tire blowout, spun out in front of Erik Jones and Matt Kenseth, and collected them both as they went into the wall in Turn 3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. who was leading the race, was clipped by Busch and sent into the wall.

“I don’t know what happened there with the No. 18 (Kyle Busch) he just got turned around. I tried to get the wheel turned and get down the race track but I lifted off the gas to miss it, and got on the splitter a little bit and the car went straight. We jumped him, and got in the wall a little bit,” Earnhardt said.

Cleanup necessitated a 17-minute red flag.

On lap 127, Jamie McMurray is shoving Jimmie Johnson down the backstretch when Johnson gets loose and turns down into Trevor Bayne. This sent both of them pin-balling through the middle of the pack and collected 12 other cars (Clint Bowyer, Chris Buescher, Danica Patrick, Kevin Harvick, DJ Kennington, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, David Ragan, Matt DiBenedetto, Gaughan, Cole Whitt, Kurt Busch (who would go on to win the race), Martin Truex Jr., Gase and Joey Logano) in the process.

With 59 to go, McMurray dove to the inside of Chase Elliott to pass, but was blocked. He checked up and was hooked into the wall by Gaughan. Suarez, who swerved left to avoid McMurray, came down on Ryan Newman and triggered an 11-car wreck (McMurray, Keselowski, Newman, Hamlin, Ragan, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Suarez, Ty Dillon, Elliott, Michael McDowell and Gaughan).

** The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the publisher. All comments other than website related problems need to be directed to the author. (c)SpeedwayMedia.com. **

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