Pre-Mature Conflagration: Danica and Jimmie Crash in Lap 2 at Daytona
DAYTONA-- The Daytona 500 is a grueling 500 mile, 200 lap marathon of driving, but for a handful of NASCAR's biggest stars the race ended on lap two.
Elliot Sadler nudged Five-time Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson from behind, causing a pileup that put several cars in the garage.
"I'm just really, really bummed to start the season this way," Johnson told ESPN. "For all the hard work that has gone into getting ... ready for tonight; we didn't get to complete two-and-a-half miles of green-flag racing. So, I'm pretty bummed."
Danica Patrck, David Ragan, Kurt Busch, and defending Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne all fell victim to the wreckage. Only Patrick and Bayne were able to return to the track, and the long repairs effectively eliminated them from competition.
"It is disappointing," said Ragan to ESPN. "It is ridiculous to sit around this long for the Daytona 500 and on the very first lap for someone to be driving as reckless as whoever caused that. It is just a shame for it to be that early in the biggest race, the first race of the year. We just got caught up in it. ... I can't wait to see who was the bonehead that did that."
The early wreck and elimination of some of the sports biggest stars will likely add to recent criticism about safety in NASCAR. Does the sport need to take action to eliminate crashes, or are the part of the fun?