Several race car drivers gunning for a Daytona 500 win suffered a domino collision effect during last Sunday’s race, bringing the wreck to a total of 14 cars.
The series of collisions started when Michael Waltrip pushed David Reutimann as they were speeding along Lap 29. Reutimann spun out of control and triggered the 14-car wreck, taking out almost one-third of the field. The catastrophic collisions took out Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Brian Vickers, Greg Biffle, Marcos Ambrose and Brian Keselowski, among others.
Hendrick Motorsports Team suffered greatly, with three of their four cars damaged in the collision. Their drivers, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, and Mark Martin were among those included in the chaotic wreck. The only Hendrick driver who was able to escape the mess was Dale Earnhardt Jr., son of the legendary “Imitator”, Dale Earnhardt Sr.
The No. 24 Chevrolet driven by Gordon sustained major damages and the driver was forced to stand on the sidelines while the repair crew struggled to put his car back in shape as quickly as they could.
Gordon couldn’t hide his disappointment. “It doesn’t really matter at this point. Our chances of winning the Daytona 500 are over. That’s the disappointing part.”
The No. 24 Chevrolet was able to return to the race 30 laps down, while his teammate Johnson returned 18 laps down.
Fans and other drivers blamed Waltrip for starting the mess. Reutimann, however, absolved the race car driver and said, “It wasn’t Mike’s fault.”
Waltrip regretted being aggressive too early. “I’m involved in both and I don’t know what I could have done different… I just hate it.”